First-ever voting in ex-enclaves begins

First-ever voting in ex-enclaves begins

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Dhaka – Voters of some 100 ex-Indian enclaves are exercising their franchise for the first time as the election of 22 union parishads (UPs) in those areas started on Monday morning, UNB news agency reported. The voting began at 8am and will continue till 4pm.
The voting in the now-defunct enclaves is being held simultaneously along with the polling in some 380 more UPs across the country.
In some 200 UPs, elections will be held in a few polling stations where the voting was earlier cancelled during the staggered countrywide UP elections held earlier this year, he added.Full-fledged election will be held in 59 UPs, while there will be by-elections to one chairman post and some member posts, reserved seats set aside exclusively for women in 67 UPs. Some 65 UPs are going to polls as two candidates bagged equal votes in the countrywide UP elections.
In 100 of the 111 exchanged ex-enclaves situated in three northern districts – Panchagarh, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram – nearly 14,000 voters are applying their voting rights in the UP election, said officials at the Election Commission (EC) Secretariat.
Eight of the 22 UPs are in Panchagarh, eight in Lalmonirhat and six in Kurigram.
The 111 ex-Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh, which were merged with the mainland of Bangladesh in July 31, 2015 following the ratification of land boundary agreement (LBA) by Indian Loka Sabha and Rajya Sabha unanimously, include 12 in Kurigram, 59 in Lalmonirhat, four in Nilphamari and 36 in Panchagarh.
According to EC statistics, a total of 8,935 voters from ex-enclaves will exercise their franchise in the UP elections in Panchagarh, while some 1,700 voters in eight UPs in Lalmonirhat and 3,098 in six UPs in Kurigram.
In Panchagarh, 39 chairman candidates, 98 women from reserved seats and 326 member contenders are contesting the elections in eight UPs under Sadar, Boda and Debiganj upazilas of the district.
In Lalmonirhat, 37 chairman candidates, 167 women from reserved seats and 213 member contenders are in the election race in eight UPs under Sadar, Hatibandha and Patgram upazilas of the district.
In Kurigram, 32 chairman candidates, 90 women from reserved seats and 219 member contenders are contesting the elections in six UPs under Phulbari and Bhurungamari upazilas of the district.
On September 26 last, the election schedules were announced for the UPs after making the eligible inhabitants of ex-enclaves voters this year.
Under the agreement, India exchanged 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres to Bangladesh and received 51 enclaves covering 7,110 acres, which all were located inside Cooch Behar, ending the decade-old sufferings of the people living in enclaves on both sides of Bangladesh and India.

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