Capital Dhaka's voters go to the polls today (Saturday) to elect two mayors and a number of councilors of its South City Corporation (DSCC) and North City Corporation (DNCC). All formalities have been completed by the Election Commission (EC) in order to hold the elections in a free, fair and impartial manner.
The last elections to both the city corporations of the capital were held on April 28, 2015. Apart from the EC, other administrative agencies have also taken necessary preparations to hold the elections in a free, fair and credible manner. The commission has sent all election materials, including translucent ballot boxes and ballot papers to the polling stations across the city.
The entire city has been brought under stringent security blankets with the deployment of Border Guard Bangladesh, Coast Guard, Rapid Action Battalion, Police and other members of different law enforcement agencies in the capital and elsewhere for holding the election in a peaceful and festive mood.
A total of 50,000 law enforcers are deployed to ensure security at a total of 2,4,86 voting centres in the city, of which 1,597 are considered risky. For a number of days Capital Dhaka wore a festive look with numerous posters, banners and festoons announcing the candidacy of a number of aspirants.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda has already expressed optimism over holding a free, fair and impartial election, saying a peaceful atmosphere is prevailing ahead of the Dhaka north and south city corporation elections. “A peaceful atmosphere for a free and fair election is prevailing . . . candidates are conducting campaigns without any obstruction,” the CEC told reporters.
Electronic Voting is the standard means of conducting elections using Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). The Election Commission arranged mock voting with EVMs on Thursday as the entire polling in the elections will be held with the EVMs. And this time the entire electoral procedure will be conducted using EVMs instead of traditional ballot papers and two army personnel will be present in every polling station to safeguard the voting machines.
A total of 24.53 lakh voters of DSCC area are expected to cast their votes through 1,150 polling centers while around 30.10 lakh voters are set to give their mandates through 1,318 polling centers. The main competition is likely to be between the candidates of ruling Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
There are 75 wards in DSCC where only 10 females are contesting while there are 54 wards in DNCC where eight candidates are vying for posts of ward councilors. A total of 244 males are contesting for the posts of 54 ward councilors in DNCC while 315 males are contesting for the posts of 75 ward councilors in DSCC.
There are 13 mayoral candidates -– six in the DNCC and seven in the DSCC – joining the election race. On Thursday midnight, electioneering for the city came to a close, 36 hours before the voting, as per the Representation of the People Order (RPO) 1972.
An elaborate security blanket has been thrown over the capital Dhaka in the run-up to the voting celebration. City’s voters get a chance to choose their respective city corporations’ mayors and councilors through exercising their voting rights. Of them, Awami League-backed mayor candidates of DSCC Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, son of Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni and incumbent DNCC mayor Atiqul Islam are contesting the polls.
Besides, Bangladesh Nationalist Party-backed DSCC mayoral candidate Ishraque Hossain, son of former Dhaka City Corporation Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka and DNCC mayoral aspirant Tabith Awal, son of businessman Abdul Awal Mintoo are also in the race.