Voting in the three city corporations– Rajshahi, Barishal and Sylhet- is set to hold on Monday as the Election Commission (EC) has taken all-out preparations for a free, fair and credible election.
Voting will begin at 8am on the day and continue till 4pm without any break.
The ballot papers, ballot boxes and other electoral equipment have been sent to every polling station on Sunday.
“The EC will do everything so that the voters can cast their votes in a free, fair and peaceful environment in three cities tomorrow. The EC would not tolerate any sort of irregularity or laxity by the election officials,” Helal Uddin Ahmed, secretary of the EC secretariat, told media, according to BSS report.
He said the commission has taken initiatives to know the situation of voting centers instantly like in Gazipur city polls.
Ahmed said, “The EC will take steps instantly if any irregularity is found at voting centers or if the situation goes out of control. The presiding officers will pass information to the EC through SMS (short message service) and the EC will take decisions from the head office on the basis of SMS information.”
Ahmed said the observers of EC will monitor all types of activities of election officials, candidates and their workers. One observer of EC will be deployed for every three wards, he added.
They (observers) would inform the returning officers or Election Commission if they find any type of irregularity, he said.
Ahmed said the government has declared general holiday on the day in the three cities centering the polls.
He said, “The government declared the holiday for Monday at Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barishal cities to enable the employees of all government, semi-government and autonomous bodies and private organizations and all educational institutions of the election areas to exercise their voting rights.”
However, if any public examination is scheduled for the day, the examination centers and teachers and employees concerned will remain out of this holiday purview.
The EC secretary said a team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has already been deployed at every ward in the three city corporations since Saturday.
Besides, one platoon BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) has been deployed in every two wards in the polls areas and the BGB will discharge their duties one day more after election.
Besides, four platoons BGB will be kept in reserve for any type of unstable situation, he added.
Ahmad said a total of 10 executive magistrates conducted mobile courts in the three city corporations from June 14 to July 9.
Besides, 10 other executive magistrates are conducting mobile courts in the three city corporations from July 10 which will continue till August 1, he said.
He said the outsiders who are not voters of the three city corporations were asked to leave the election areas by Friday midnight and the election campaigns ended formally on Saturday midnight.
On the other hand, 20 executive magistrates have been deployed in every city corporations to check the violation of electoral code of conduct and to ensure security in the polls areas two days ahead of the election, he said, adding 10 judicial magistrates will also be deployed in Rajashahi and Barishal city corporations areas while nine judicial magistrates in Sylhet city polls areas.
Election Commission sources said a total of 3,18,138 voters are in Rajshahi City Corporation. Among them, 1,56,085 are male and 1,62,053 are female.
There are a total of 2,42,666 voters in Barishal City Corporation. Of them, 1,21,436 are male and 1,20,739 are female. Besides, in Sylhet City Corporation, there are 3,21,732 voters. Of them, 1,7144 are male and 1,50288 are female.
The sources said three-tier security measures have been taken in the three city corporations. Mobile and striking forces of police, RAB and BGB have already been deployed.
One mobile team comprising members of police, APBN and Ansar will be deployed at every general ward and one team of striking force will be deployed in every three wards. Besides, 24 law personnel will be deployed at every important voting center.
In Rajshahi City Corporation, five candidates are contesting for the mayoral post. They are Awami League-backed AHM Khairuzzaman Litan (Boat), BNP-backed Mosaddek Hossain (Sheaf of Paddy), Islami Andolan Bangladesh-backed Md Shafiqul Islam (Hand Fan), independent candidate Md Murad Morshed (Elephant) and Jatiya Party (Matin)-backed candidate Habibur Rahman Habib (Jackfruit).
In Barishal City Corporation, six candidates are contesting for the mayoral post. They are AL-backed candidate Sadek Abdullha (Boat), BNP-backed Md Majibur Rahman Sarwar (Sheaf of Paddy), Islami Andolan Bangladesh-backed Obaidur Rahman (Hand Fan), Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) candidate Abul Kalam Azad (Sickle), Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal candidate Manisha Chakrabarty (Ladder) and Jatiya Party candidate Md Iqbal Hossain (Plough).
In Sylhet City Corporation, seven candidates are contesting for the mayoral post. The candidates are- AL-backed Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran (Boat), BNP-backed Ariful Haque Chowdhury (Sheaf of Paddy), Islami Andolan Bangladesh-backed Dr Md Moazzem Hossain Khan (Hand Fan), Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal candidate Md Abu Jafar (Ladder) and independent candidates Ahasan Mahbub Jobayer (Table Watch), Md Ahasanul Haque Taher (Deer) and Md Badruzzaman Selim (Bus).
A total of 530 councilors are contesting in the three city polls.
EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) will be used at 10 centers in Barishal while two enters each in Rajshahi and Sylhet city polls.
Syed Amirul Islam is the returning officer at Rajshahi City Corporation while Mujibur Rahman and Md Alimuzzaman have been employed as returning officers in Barishal and Sylhet city respectably.