Vote counting begins in Bangladesh elections

DHAKA - Vote counting began at polling centers in 73 Upazila Parisad (sub-districts) amid claims of vote rigging by the Awami League, boycotting by opposition backed candidates and violent clashes in different areas in the fifth phase of the vote ending at 4.00pm on Monday in Bangladesh.

At least 20 Upazila chairman candidates from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Bangladesh Jamaate-e-Islami and other political parties boycotted the elections in a variety of districts including Ghatail Upazila of Tangail district, Kalapara of Patuakhali district.

The election commission postponed several voting centers throughout Bangladesh due to allegations of ballot paper snatching and vote rigging.

The main opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, has alleged that men from the Awami League were capturing polling centers and then casting fake votes. The party’s joint secretary general, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, made the allegation on behalf of opposition backed candidates in the Upazila elections at a press conference at the party’s central office in Dhaka.

He said that it had been proven that the current government is an autocratic regime and  the Bangladesh Nationalist Party will not in the future participate in any elections under the present government and election commission. 

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami acting Secretary General Dr. Shafiqur Rahman protested and condemned the supposed actions of Awami League members in a written statement  for the violence and anarchic incidents and accused the civil administration and election commission of allowing it.

Several opposition backed candidates demanded the postponement of the elections in different Upazila councils.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party backed chairman candidate Mustafijur Rahman in  the Kalapara Upazila of Patukhali, southern district, said the Awami League members obstructed opposition supporters from being able to cast their votes and forced their representatives out of the polling centers.

So far in the first four phases of the Upazila elections, the Awami League supported chairmen candidates have won 172 districts while the main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, picked up 141 districts and 69 chairman posts have gone to other parties from the 382 Upazila council places up for election which started February 16 of the first phase.

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