Election Commission has completed all necessary preparations to hold polls in 234 municipalities across the country today amid the apprehension of violence as one third of the poling centres have been identified risky.This is the first time the local body elections will be held under the political symbols which has created immense interests among the voters as 20 political parties including ruling Awami League and BNP have their nominated candidates in the polls.
Though overtly it is the mayoral election of the municipalities but covertly it will be the fight between Awami League and BNP which will be the litmus test of their popularity in the field.
Twenty political parties have nominated 659 mayoral candidates. Besides, 285 independent candidates will also contest for the mayoral posts. Meanwhile, seven mayoral candidates of the ruling Awami League have already been elected unopposed.
Of the political parties, Awami League has nominated 233 mayoral candidates, BNP 223, Jatiya Party 74, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal 21, National Peoples Party 17, Islami Andolon Bangladesh 57, Jatiya Party (M) 6, Bangladesher Communist Party 4, Bangladesh Islami Front 3, Bangladesh Workers Party 8 and Bangaldesh Khelafat Majlish 4.
While Liberal Democratic Party, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Bangaldesher Biplobi Workers Party, Islami Oikya Jote , Bangladesh National Awami Party, Bangaldesher Samajtantrik Dal, Progressive Democratic Party and Bangaldesh Tarikat Federation have nominated one mayoral candidate each.
Nearly 71 lakh voters are ready to cast their votes in 3,555 centres to choose their desired mayors and councilors to elect their representatives. There are 35,52,284 male and 35,46,860 female voters in the polls.
Voting will begin at 8am and continue till 4 in the afternoon without any break.
A total of 12, 71 candidates including 945 mayoral candidates, 2480 councilors (reserved) and 8746 councilors (general) will fight in the municipality polls.
On the other hand, a total of 66,768 policing officers including 2,555 presiding officers, 21,071 assistant presiding officer and 42,142 poling officers will function to carry out the election.
Election Commission said they have taken all-out measures to maintain law and order situation to ensure peaceful environment for the voters so that they can go to the centres to cast votes without intimidation.
The commission has deployed a total of 1,17,304 members of law enforcing agencies including police, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Coast Guard and Ansar.
EC has deployed 45,000 police, 9,415 BGB, 8,424 RAB, 225 Coast Guard and 54,240 ansars will work as mobile and striking force. The general centres will have 19 law enforces while the important centres will have 20 law enforcers.
The BGB have been deployed in 229 municipalities while in six municipalities in the coastal areas the Coast Guard will maintain law and order situation. BGB will remain in the field till December 31 to maintain law and order.
Besides, the law enforcers, there will be executive and judicial magistrates in all the municipalities.
The commission has directed the police to take immediate actions under Section 151 Code of Criminal Procedure against any suspicious person fail to tell his or her identity.
EC has also banned the movement of vehicles including bus, truck, Tempo, private car, pick-up van, microbus, auto-rickshaw, baby taxi in the election areas since Tuesday 12 am to 12 pm on Wednesday. However, vehicles of observers, journalists can be used under the permission of the returning officers.