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Friday, April 1, 2016, Chaitra 18, 1422 BS, Jamadius Sani 22, 1437 Hijri

UP election violence leaves at least 8 dead
Observer Online Desk
Published :Friday, 1 April, 2016,  Time : 9:34 AM  View Count : 75
Voting has been wrapped up in 639 union councils amid reports of rigging of ballots and violent clashes that have claimed eight more lives in the second phase.

Four people, including a child, were killed in gunfight between supporters of rival candidates in Keraniganj, Jessore and Chittagong during the Union Parishad election on Thursday.

A Dhaka University student died in police firing while he was ‘trying to snatch ballot papers’ in Madaripur.

A woman and a youth were killed in attacks by rivals in Natore and Manikganj, respectively.

In Jamalpur, police said a youth died of ‘cardiac arrest’ during a running battle, while at least 20 people, including a journalist, were injured in gunfight in Bhola.

Police said two youths died in an explosion ‘while making bombs’ early on Thursday. They could not confirm whether ‘they were making’ those bombs to use against their electoral rivals.

A BNP candidate was also attacked at a voting centre in Arifpur Union in Comilla.

Four including an assistant presiding officer were arrested at Jessore’s Churamankathi Union after ballot-snatching and fighting had taken place at a voting centre.

In Chittagong, supporters of the ruling Awami League allegedly captured a number of election centres to rig votes.

The EC suspended polls in 33 centres owing to irregularities and violence.

Phase-II facts

# A total of 639 UPs in 47 districts went to election in 6,205 centres.

# The number of chairman candidates was 2,662. Of them, 1,493 were nominated by 17 political parties.

# As many as 21,259 fought to get elected as general member and 6,498 reserved member.

# Over 11.2 million voters with nearly 5.6 million of them being women.

# Around 200,000 law enforcers deployed.

Facing criticism over irregularities and violence in the first phase, EC had ordered ‘firm steps’ against any such incidents.

After the voting ended, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad said, “Special precautionary measures had been taken in the second phase in light of the experience of the first phase. The voting was better this time as some steps were taken.”

“But some incidents in several UPs dimmed the overall achievement,” he added.

A BNP delegation went to the EC to make a series of different allegations after the polling closed.

Joint Secretary General Mohammad Shahjahan told reporters after the visit that the BNP would have to think about a boycott of the elections in the last three phases if the ‘situation does not change in phase three’.

The first phase of the election was held at 712 union councils on Mar 22 with a 74.77 percent voter turnout.

The Awami League chairman candidates won in 540 UPs, the BNP in 47 while independent contestants were elected at 103.


Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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