POST TIME: 29 March, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 29 March, 2017 01:38:18 AM
Campaigns for Comilla polls, Sunamganj-2 by-polls end

Campaigns for Comilla polls,  Sunamganj-2 by-polls end

The Election Commission (EC) has taken all measures to hold the Comilla City Corporation (CC) polls and Sunamganj-2 by-election on March 30 in a peaceful environment. The commission is paying special attention to the CCC polls as a huge number of law enforcement personnel would be deployed along with its own election observers. This is the first time that the commission has deployed one election observer in each ward to monitor the CCC elections. There are 27 wards in the CCC polls. Earlier, one election observer used to carry out duties in two or three wards together. These observers would perform their duties for three days before the day of holding polls.  Apart from the commission’s own observers, 10 other registered non-government election observers have applied for the observation of the CCC polls and the commission has decided in principle to allow these organisations to observe the polls, EC sources said.
However, no non-government election observer has evinced interest to observe the Sunamganj-2 by-poll. EC sources said the commission’s election observers would inform the EC about the situation of the elections and their duties for holding free and fair elections. These observers would immediately inform the commission over telephone or mobile phone and, if necessary, in writing about irregularities like ballot paper snatching, deterioration in the law and order situation, stuffing of ballot boxes, intimidation of voters entering the centres, exercise of illegal influence, etc. They would file reports within 24 hours of the completion of the elections, EC sources said.
EC secretary Muhammad Abdullah told The Independent that around 3,700 law enforcers, including the police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Ansar, have been deployed at the CCC polls to maintain law and order. “We have completed all preparations to hold the CCC polls and Sunamganj-2 by-poll. A large number of law enforcers has been deployed. There would be 36 executive magistrates and nine judicial magistrates in the CCC polls,” he said. Besides, nine BGB platoons would be kept as reserve forces and RAB, police, Ansar and village defence parties (VDP) would be deployed as strike forces. These forces would be there in the field for three days before the elections.
Muhammad Abdullah said the election campaign ended on Tuesday night, adding that any sort of campaigning after the closure of the time period is illegal under the law. The plying of motorcycles has been completely forbidden in the election-bound areas and there is also a ban on the plying of other kinds of vehicles during polls. He urged the candidates to refrain from any sort of election campaign after the time period stipulated for electioneering. Regarding the deployment of election observers in each ward, Muhammad Abdullah said, “We want to obtain a full picture of the elections so that the loopholes can be identified for future elections.”
“We have deployed young election officers as observers in the CCC polls. They would immediately inform us about any sort of lapses or irregularities in the polls,” he added.
Rezaul Islam, an election observer of the commission, told The Independent that they have reached Comilla City Corporation yesterday and would soon be deployed in their respective wards by the returning officer. “We have reached today. The returning officer would distribute our duties. We will follow the commission’s instructions,” he said.  A total of 2,07,566 voters would cast votes in 103 centres. Of the voters, 1,02,447 are male and 1,05,119 female.
Former CCC mayor and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) candidate Monirul Hoque Shakku and ruling Awami League (AL)-nominated candidate Anjum Sultana Sima are vying for the mayoral post.
Besides, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) leader Shirin Akter and Maj. (retd) Mamunur Rashid (Independent) are also in the mayoral race. Forty reserved (women) councillors are contesting nine seats and 114 general councillors are candidates for 27 posts.