AL’s Khalek declared elected in marred Khulna polls

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Ruling AL activists celebrates imminent victory as AL candidate Talukder Abdul Khalek reaches local AL office in Khulna on Tuesday, after the balloting ends. Photo: Saddam Hossain Ruling Bangladesh Awami League mayoral candidate Talukder Abdul Khalek was unofficially declared elected in the Khulna mayoral elections marred by rigging, ballot-stuffing, capture of polling station and intimidation of voters on Tuesday.

Khalek won the election with a big margin bagging 176,902 votes while his nearest rival Nazurl Islam Manju of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) polled 108,956 in 286 election centres out of total 289, according to UNB news agency.

The voting was suspended in the remaining three centres due to violence, capturing of polling stations and ballot stuffing.

UNB adds: Returning officer Yunus Ali made the announcement around 9:40pm.

Earlier, the balloting in the KCC election was held amid allegations of capturing some polling stations, vote fraud and violence in some areas.

The voting began at 8:00am and ended at 4:00pm without any break. The turnout of voters was said to be around 50 percent.

The returning officer said voting in two polling centres -- Labanchora Government Primary School and ward-31 councillor office -- was suspended around 2:20 pm due to snatching of ballot papers and ballot stuffing.

Besides, voting was suspended in Khulna Govt Iqbal Nagar School centre in Ward 24 following snatching of ballot papers by miscreants around 10:30am, said presiding officer Khalilur Rahman.

Meanwhile, voting at Fatema High School in Ward 22 was suspended for two hours from 10:30am following an incident of fake voting.

Two bombs were blasted in front of the Khulna Government Women College polling centre around 3:30 pm, halting balloting for some time.

Talukder Abdul Khalek cast his vote at Pioneer Girls' High School polling centre around 8:00am.

BNP mayoral candidate Nazrul Islam Manju alleged that the ruling party men drove his polling agents from at least 40 centres.

He also alleged that his agents were obstructed from entering polling centres in Ward 22.

Besides, the ruling party men beat one of his polling agents at Zila School centre, he said.

At a press briefing at BNP's Naya Paltan central office, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that ruling party men resorted to various irregularities in 50 percent of polling stations.

A total of five mayoral candidates, 148 general councillor and 38 reserved-seat female councillor candidates were there in the election race.

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