Voters wait in queue at Tongi Market polling centres to cast their votes in the Gazipur City Corporation election on 25 May, 2023
Khaled Sarker

Voting in the election to Gazipur City Corporation began on Thursday morning. The voting is being held in electronic voting machine (EVM) in all 480 polling centres.

The voting started at 8:00 am and it will continue until 4:00 pm without any break, said the official sources of the election commission.

Returning officer Faridul Islam said voting started from 8:00 am and will continue until 4:00 pm. Votes of all the people who would enter the centre within time will be casted whatever time it takes.”

The EC has installed CCTV cameras in all the centres as an attempt to organise a free and fair election.

As per the election commissioner, the GCC is constituted with a total of 57 general wards and 19 reserved wards. The city has some 1,179,476 voters. Of them, 592,762 are male voters, 586,696 are female voters and the rest 18 are hijras (transgender). The number of polling centres is 480 and the number of polling stations is 3,497.

A total of 332 candidates have been contesting in the GCC election. Of them, eight have been vying for the mayor post, 78 for the reserved councillor candidates and 246 candidates have been contesting for general councillor posts.

Mayoral candidates

The mayoral candidates in the election are ruling Awami League nominated Azmat Ullah Khan with electoral symbol boat, former city mayor Zahangir Alam’s mother Jayeda Khatun with electoral symbol table clock, Jatiya Party’s candidate MM Niaz Uddin with electoral symbol plough, Islami Andolan Bangladesh’s Gazi Ataur Rahman with hand fan, Jaker Party’s Md. Raju Ahmed with electoral symbol rose, Gano Front’s candidate Atikul Islam with electoral symbol fish and independent candidates Harun-ar-Rashid with electoral symbol horse and Sarker Shahnur Islam with the electoral symbol elephant.

Returning officer Faridul Islam said a total of 4,435 CCTVs have been installed in all 480 polling centres in Gazipur city. That means all the polling centres are under the CCTV coverage. The election commissioner will monitor voting situation through the cameras. The EC high officials and newspersons will monitor the voting situation on giant screens at the EC building in Agargaon, he added.

Voters at Mohammad Emarat Hossain Arif College centre in Konabari, Gazipur, on 25 May, 2023
Suvra Kanti Das

Faridul Islam further said immediate action will be taken if any irregularity is seen. Besides, additional EVMs have been kept at the polling centres as voting is being held in EVMs. Troubleshooters also have been kept for repairing the machines.

Deployment of law enforcement agency

A team of 16 members of law enforcement agencies including police and Ansar will be deployed at the general polling centres while the number will be 17 at the critical centres.

A total of 57 mobile forces (one for each ward), 19 striking forces (one for each three wards) and eight reserve striking force have been deployed for the GCC polls. Besides this, 30 teams of Rapid Action Battalion (one for two wards) and 13 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (one platoon for five wards) have also been deployed to ensure the fairness of the election.

Election commissioner Rasheda Sultana on Wednesday afternoon held a meeting to exchange views with the judicial magistrates who would carry out the duties to maintain law and order situation on the voting day. The meeting was held at Gazipur circuit house.

Speaking to newspersons after the meeting, Rasheda Sultana said, “Voting on tomorrow (Thursday) will be held in a free and fair environment. The voters will be able to cast their votes peacefully. This is not a separate challenge, rather preparation has been taking considering that all election are equally important. CCTVs have already been installed at the centres.”

The situation will be monitored from Thursday morning, she added.