The voting in the Khulna City Corporation (KCC) election ended peacefully this afternoon amid stringent security measures and festivity while the vote counting is being carried out in the polling stations.
Voting started at 8am and continued till 4 pm without any break. The counting of votes has started at all the polling centres simultaneously soon after voting ended.
In an immediate reaction, Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury said, "The election to Khulna City Corporation (KCC) has been completed in a fair manner except some stray incidents."
Replying to allegations of BNP leaders relating to casting fake votes and ousting their agents from some polling centres, he said, "There are no bases of their allegations. The allegations made by BNP are not specific and the election was held in a free and fair manner."
Expressing satisfaction over holding peaceful completion of the KCC polls, secretary of the Election Commissioner Secretariat Helaluddin Ahmed said, "We are satisfied with the peaceful holding of the KCC polls. The EC appointed 35 observers to oversee the election."
Alongside the independent observers, EC officials also observed the election.
"The EC suspended voting only at three polling centres out of 289 due to irregularities while voting was taken through EVM (electronic voting machine) in two polling centres," he also said.
He said voting was suspended at the three centers -- Labanchara Primary School, Rupsha Primary School and Iqbalnagar Girls High School -- due to some irregularities.
The ruling Awami League (AL) mayoral candidate Talukder Abdul Khaleque cast his vote at the Khulna city's Pioneer High school centre while BNP mayoral runner Nazrul Islam Monju cast his vote at Rahima Khatun Government Primary School centre.
Both the AL and BNP mayoral candidates expressed their hope in winning the polls while talking to newsmen after casting their votes.
According to Returning Officer (RO) of the KCC polls, a total of 191candidates, including five for mayoral post, 148 for councilor posts, 38 for reserved posts for women, vied in the polls while 4,93,093 voters exercised their voting rights in 1,178 polling stations across the city corporation area.
The mayor candidates contested in the polls with the partisan symbol for the first time.
The mayoral candidates are ruling Awami League nominated Talukder Abdul Khalek, BNP nominated Najrul Islam Manju, Jatiya Party nominated SM Shafiqur
Rahman, Islami Andolan Bangladesh nominated Principal Maulana Mujammil Haque and Communist Party of Bangladesh nominated Mizanur Rahman Babu.
To ensure security during the election, a total of 16 platoons of BGB have been deployed in the city since Sunday while 9,500 policemen and APBN, 4,000 Ansar and VDP members and 900 ancillary Ansar-VDP members performed their duties during the elections.
Besides, 32 patrol teams of RAB comprising eight members in each team and four striking force teams comprising 10 members in each team were entrusted with the election duties.
The EC also appointed 31 executive magistrates to maintain law and order in the electoral areas and stop violation of electoral rules and regulations by any candidates during the election time.
Deputy Secretary of the EC Farhad Hossain said Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was used in two polling centres (206 no. polling center of 24 no. ward and 239 no. polling centre of 27 no. ward) in the KCC elections.
Refuting BNP mayoral candidate Nazrul Islam Manju's allegation that at least 30 of his agents have been forcibly ousted from the centers, he said, "Agents of BNP mayoral candidate were not present at the centers."
Presiding Officers of over 50 voting centers told BSS that they received no allegation and over 50 percent votes were casted within 2:30 pm today.
A central control room has been opened at Women Sports Complex where the results coming from various centers will be aggregated before announcing the final results.-BSS