Voting for the fifth phase of 707 Union Parishads (UP) will begin at 8 am on Wednesday. It will continue till 4 pm.
The Election Commission (EC) has deployed additional BGB in 44 Upazilas of 26 districts amid fears of tension, clashes, and violence in the fifth phase of polling. Besides, there are BGB, RAB, and police in each of the 96 Upazilas of 48 districts. There are also Coast Guard members somewhere.
Tensions are running high in all constituencies. There are allegations that ordinary voters in many places are afraid to go to the polls. The Election Commission, on the other hand, says they will be in a tough position. Will control any situation.
The EC claimed that they were working in coordination with the administration on the pressure in the election. Earlier, the Election Commission had expressed concern over the four-stage violence and called for tough action, but the situation has not improved much. There is no shortage of complaints from voters and candidates.
Election equipment has reached all the polling stations on Tuesday on the occasion of the election. Members of law enforcement agencies including RAB, police, and Ansar have started patrolling the constituency to maintain law and order. They will remain until the day after the vote. There are executive and judicial magistrates with the law enforcement agencies.
Asked about this, Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam told The Asian Tribune, “The EC is in a tough position in this year’s polls. No complaints about voting will be tolerated. In case of any untoward incident, the field administration will take action. Apart from this, if there is a situation like stopping voting somewhere, we will do the same. Instructions have been given in all matters”.
At this stage, EVM voting will be held in 40 UPs. However, 193 people’s representatives have been elected unopposed before the vote at this stage. Of these, 48 are chairman, 33 are reserved members and 112 are general members. The total number of candidates is 36,457. Three thousand 274 members, seven thousand 950 reserved members, and 39 thousand 391 general members. At this stage, the total number of voters is one crore 42 lakh 20 thousand 195 people. Of these, 6 lakh 36 thousand 31 are female voters and 70 lakh 60 thousand 140 are male voters. There are 21 third-gender voters. There are 7,137 polling stations and 39,391 polling booths.
So far, 1,555 people’s representatives have been elected unopposed in 3,744 union council elections. Of these, 141 were in the first phase, 357 in the second phase, 569 in the third phase, 295 in the fourth phase, and 193 in the fifth phase. All in all, the EC is facing severe criticism over the UP vote.
According to the information given by EC Deputy Secretary Md. Atiyar Rahman, RAB has deployed two mobile teams and one striking team in each Upazila of the fifth phase. The BGB mobile team has two platoons and one platoon member is engaged as a striking team. The Coast Guard has been deployed at the same rate. Besides, an additional platoon of BGB and two platoons of BGB have been deployed in 44 Upazilas keeping in mind the fears.
Meanwhile, members of the law enforcement forces have taken up positions in the constituency. A 22-member force consisting of police and Ansar is guarding the center. Apart from this, one team each of Police, Ansar, and Battalion Ansar are working as a mobile force in the polling area and one team for each UP as Striking Force.
It is to be noted that due to the deteriorating situation in Corona, the first round of voting was held on June 21 last year. In some places, elections have been postponed due to the deteriorating Corona situation. As the situation improved again, the rest of the first phase was held on September 20, the second phase on November 11, and the third phase on November 28. The fourth round of voting took place on December 26. Today will be the fifth phase of voting. Besides, the sixth phase of voting will be held on January 31. The seventh round of voting will take place on February 7.