No BNP agents in 3 polling stations Sarker alleges more ejected

Bangladesh Nationalist Party mayoral candidate Hasan Uddin Sarker casts his vote at Basiruddin Udayan Academy centre in Tongi. Photo: Dipu MalakarThere were no polling agents of the opposition BNP’s mayoral canddiate at a centre where ruling Awami League candidate Jahangir Alam casted his vote.So far till mid-day Tuesday, no BNP agents were found in three polling stations in Gazipur City Corporation elections.The BNP candidate, Hasan Uddin Sarker, reiterated his doubts about free and fair elections, again when he cast his vote at Basiruddin Udayan Academy centre in Tongi around 10:30am.“I’ve apprehensions about whether the voting will be held fairly. Several of my polling agents have been kicked out from voting centres,” he told newsmen.Witnesses said the BNP agents remained absent at Gachha High School, apart from Kanaiya Governernment Primary School, the voting centre of Jahangir.“What can I do if there is no polling agents appointed by the BNP? I did not kick them out,”  said the AL candidate who expressed his confidecne about victory in the civic polls being held with party symbols for the first time and voting only for the second time after inception of the city corporation.This Prothom Alo correspondent did not find any BNP polling agents in three of the four rooms at Gachha High School polling centre of ward- 36.A man who identified him as BNP polling agent in one of the four rooms, could not show any photo ID when asked.The presiding officer at Governernment Primary School centre Kanjirul Islam said, no polling agents of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party reported to him since Monday.The BNP’s Hasan Uddin Sarker, after casting his vote at Basiruddin Uadayan Academy centre, said: “Lawmen in plainclothes were arresting BNP leaders and activists. I am afraid if there would be any fair polls.”Claiming that there were polling agents of all parties, presiding officer of Gachha High School centre Kamrul Islam added that fair voting was going on in that centre.Hasan Uddin Sarker says he would fight to the last. Photo: Dipu MalakarHowever, a queue of female voters was there outside the station in the morning.Kamaleshwar Primary School that the Prothom Alo correspondent visited, had no polling agents of BNP.The Gazipur elections bear special importance since it is being held around six months before the scheduled 11th parliamentary polls.In the first-ever elections in Gazipur City Corporation held in 2013, the BNP-backed MA Mannan won but he spent at least 22 months in jail and spent a alot of time either on court premises or at hospitals.UNB adds: Electronic voting machines (EVMs) are being used in six centres while closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed in two.Seven mayoral candidates — AL’s Jahangir Alam, BNP’s Hasan Uddin Sarker, CPB’s Kazi Mohammad Ruhul Amin, Islami Oikya Jote’s Fazlur Rahman, Islami Andolan Bangladesh’s M Nasir Uddin, Bangladesh Islami Front M Jalal Uddin and independent runner Farid Ahmed — are in the race.Some 254 general councillor and 84 reserved-seat female councillor candidates are participating in the elections. However, a councillor has already been elected unopposed.The city corporation has a total of 1,137,736 voters — 569,935 males and 567,801 females.*The piece has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza and Farjana Liakat read more