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City polls campaign comes to an end at Sunday midnight
The curtain on the 20-day high-octane election campaign in three city corporations in Dhaka and Chittagong falls on Sunday midnight as over 60 lakh voters there are set to go to polls on Tuesday to pick their mayors and councillors.
During the last three weeks, the candidates have gone all out to the voters with the messages of their development agenda how they will reshape the densely populated three cities. The electioneering in the three city corporations started on April 7.
“Any type of election campaign through any medium, including online, is not allowed from today (Sunday) midnight,” Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz told reporters at his Election Commission Secretariat office on Sunday.
He hoped that all concerned, including the candidates, will abide by the laws by not carrying out further campaign from 32 hours before the voting, as the Election Commission has completed all the necessary preparations for holding the elections peacefully.
Shah Nawaz said all types of rally, procession and showdown would remain prohibited in the election areas from Sunday midnight to Thursday midnight.
According to the clause 74 of the Local Government (City Corporation) Election Rule, 2010, no one can call or join any rally, or can organise or attend any public rally or procession or showdown in the election areas from 32 hours before the voting to 48 hours after the balloting.
Besides, nobody can resort to any unruly behaviour or intimidation and coercion to voters or people engaged in election duty or brandish or use any arms during the period. If any one does so, s/he will be jailed for at least six months and maximum seven years as per the law.
Some 500 magistrates along with the army and the regular law enforcement agencies have been deployed for four days from Sunday to Wednesday in the three cities -- Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) -- to deal with any violation of the election code of conduct.
As there are 134 wards in three cities —57 in DSCC, 36 in DNCC and 41 in CCC -- some four magistrates will be there in each ward on average in Dhaka and Chittagong to conduct the mobile courts for the four days.
Some 80,000 regular law enforcers, including members of police, Rab, BGB, Coast Guard and Ansar, have been put on election duty for four days from Sunday to guard the polling stations and assist the magistrates to deal with the incidents of election violence through summary trials.
Only 18 executive magistrates were there on election duty in the three cities after the announcement of the election schedules. But 441 more executive magistrates and 33 judicial magistrates have been deployed from Sunday to Wednesday in the election areas.
As the Election Commission retreated from its previous move to deploy three battalions of the army in the three cities, the army will stay inside cantonments.
The movement of some transport vehicles and river vessels will be restricted in the election areas for only the polling day for the sake of holding the elections in free and fair manners.
The government on Sunday imposed the restriction on the movement of taxicab, easy bike, auto-rickshaw, microbus, jeep, pickup van, car, bus, truck, tempo, launch and speedboat from Monday midnight to Tuesday midnight in the election areas.
But the restriction will be relaxed for the vehicles of candidates, their agents, and local and foreign election observers subject to permission of the returning officers. However, observers and polling agents will have to use the stickers issued by the Election Commission in that case.
Besides, the restriction will not be applicable for the vehicles of law-enforcement agencies, administration, approved election observers, and the vehicles engaged on emergency services or works like ambulance and that of fire service, electricity, gas, postal and telecommunication services.
The restriction has been imposed motorcycle movement in the election areas for four days from Saturday midnight to Wednesday midnight.
A total of 1180 mayoral and councillor candidates are running for 182 posts in the elections to the three city corporations, where some 60 lakh people will have voting rights under 2701 polling stations in the capital and the port city.
In DSCC, 20 contenders are contesting the election for the mayoral post, while 97 females for 19 reserved seats and 390 contestants for 57 general councillor posts. There are 18,70,753 voters –10,09,286 males and 8,61,467 females – under 4,746 booths of 889 polling stations.
In DNCC, 16 candidates are running for the mayoral post, while 89 females for 12 reserved seats and 281 contenders for 36 general councillor posts.
There are 23,45,374 voters --12,24701 males and 11,20,673 females— under 5,892 booths of 1093 polling stations.
In CCC, 12 contestants are vying for the mayoral post, while 62 females for 14 reserved seats and 213 contenders for 41 general councillor posts.
There are 18,13,449 voters –-9,37,053 males and 8,76,396 females— under 4,906 booths of 719 polling stations.
Some 50,000 polling persons will conduct vote casting in the three city corporations on Tuesday. The voting will start at 8am and continue till 4pm without any break.