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First phase of UP polls Tuesday

WT24 Desk

Around 11.9 million voters will exercise their right of franchise tomorrow (Tuesday) to elect chairmen, members and posts of members reserved for women in 734 Union Parishad (UP) in the country, agencies report.  The special significance of tomorrow’s UP polls is that Chairman candidates are vying for their posts with party symbols, the first ever in Bangladesh.

Election Commissioner M Shah Newaz today said all preparations have been taken with adequate number of law enforces in the field to ensure free and fair election in all the Union Parishads.  “The law enforces will take action if necessary. We will not tolerate any criminal activity,” he added.

According to the Election Commission, around 1.8 lakh members of the law enforcement agencies including the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), RAB, Police, Coast Guard and Ansar have already been put on election duty to ensure total safety and security.  In addition, executive magistrates of 34 districts and judicial magistrates of 101 upazilas are to look after the overall security.

After a hectic electioneering over the past few weeks, the campaign for votes has already ended.  A total of 3,034 candidates are contesting for chairman posts, 24,847 candidates for general members and 575 candidates for the reserved posts tomorrow.  Earlier, 54 chairman candidates were elected unopposed while 179 general members and 54 members reserved for the women have won uncontested.

About 1.21 lakh officials as presiding officers, assistant presiding officers and polling officers will conduct casting of votes in 7,087 voting centers with 38,036 polling booths.  Public Administration Ministry has already issued notification announcing general holiday in the Union Parishads where elections will be held tomorrow (March 22).

Vehicular movement will remain shut from 12 midnight of March 21 for 32 hours. But this will not be applicable for election concerned officials, employees and others who have identity cards.  Union Parishad elections will be held in six phases, according to the Election Commission election schedule.

In the first phase, election will be held in 734 Union Parishads tomorrow (March 22), 11 UPs in Nagarpur upazila of Tangail district on March 23 and two Union Parishads at Teknaf of Cox’s Bazaar district on March 27. In the next phases, election will be held on March 31, April 23, May 7, May 28 and June 4.

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