Cumilla city Awami League general secretary Arfanul Haque (Rifta) have been competing with boat symbol (electoral symbol of AL) while immediate past mayor Monirul Haque (Sakku), expelled from Bangladesh Nationalist Party, have been competing as an independent candidate with ‘table clock’.
Besides, Cumilla city Swechhasebak Dal’s former president Mohammad Nizam Uddin Kaiser (horse) Islami Andolan Bangladesh’s Md Rashedul Islam (hand fan) and Kamrul Ahsan Babul (deer) also have been contesting in the election for mayoral posts.
Long queues of voters have been seen even before the start of voting.
Returning office sources said electronic voting machine (EVM) will be used in the voting at 27 wards of the city corporation.
The number of total voters is 229,920. Among them, 117,092 are female and 112,826 are female while two are hijra (transgender) voters.
The voting will be held at 640 polling booths of 105 polling centres.
This is the first election under the new election commission led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal. The Cumilla City Corporation election is being seen as an ‘test’ for the EC.
EC issued letter to ruling Awami League MP from Cumilla-6 constituency, AKM Bahauddin, who was taking part in the electioneering. But he did not leave the area and the EC could not take any action against him.
Instead, CEC Kazi Habibul Awal on Sunday expressed the commission’s helplessness about the issue. On the next day, two election commissioners -– brigadier general (retd.) Md Ahsan Habib Khan and Rasheda Sultana – faced volley of questions in Cumilla. Later, they said it was not the duty of the election commission to drag a respected person down.
This is the third election the Cumilla City Corporation is holding after getting the status of a city corporation. The first election was held on 5 January 2012 while the second one on 30 March 2017.
The authorities have taken different measures to hold a free, fair and acceptable election. All types of publicities stopped from 12:00am on Monday while all types of establishments except food and healthcare have been closed.
Administration has announced to take various measures to hold a fair election.
The superintendent of police (SP) of Cumilla, Farooq Ahmed, on Tuesday said stern actions will be taken against law enforcers who will violate rules or show negligence on the election day.
The SP made the remarks during a briefing of the district police administration at Bhasha Shoinik Shaheed Dhirendranath Datta Stadium in the city.
Farooq Ahmed further said police administration has punished those who had violated the law in the past and all police members must carry out their duty properly.
Some 3,608 police members will remain deployed at 27 wards of the city corporation during the election and any sort of chaos will not be tolerated, he added.
The election schedule was announced on 25 April with 17 May as the last date of submitting the nomination papers which were sorted on 19 May. 26 May was the last date of withdrawal of nomination paper. On 27 May the election symbols were allocated.
Independent candidate Monirul Haque has never been defeated in any elections he contested while AL candidate Arfanul is contesting the election for the first time.