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Awami League wins landslide victory

Polls held peacefully sans some stray incidents, BNP marginalised

Published : Monday, 31 December, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1215
Pulack Ghatack

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, along with her sister Sheikh Rehana (M) and daughter Saima Wazed Putul, flashes a victory sign after casting her ballot in the 11th national parliamentary election at Dhaka City College Centre on Sunday.	 photo: Observer

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, along with her sister Sheikh Rehana (M) and daughter Saima Wazed Putul, flashes a victory sign after casting her ballot in the 11th national parliamentary election at Dhaka City College Centre on Sunday. photo: Observer

The ruling Awami League (AL)-led Grand Alliance is heading towards a landslide victory in the 11th Parliamentary Elections that was held in a peaceful manner across the country barring some sporadic clashes at places claiming 17 lives, mostly from the ruling alliance, attacked by BNP men. AL won 266 seats and BNP only 7 while the ruling party was leading in most of the 299 constituencies, primary results show till filing this report at 01:30am. Voting was suspended in one seat, out of a total of 300, due to the death of a candidate prior to the elections.

The result marks almost the elimination of the opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which ruled the country for over 16 years on three occasions. The day also recalls the historic victory of AL in 1970 which got 167 out of 169 seats in the provincial assembly election of the then East Pakistan. Sheikh Hasina, the incumbent Prime Minister and AL President, achieved a landslide victory in her Gopalganj-3 seat (Tungipara-Kotalipara) bagging 229,573 votes, while her nearest rival SM Jilani of BNP got only 123 votes.

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir won the Bogura-6 constituency bagging 209,587 votes but was defeated in his own seat in Thakurgaon-1. Former President and Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad won in his Rangpur-3 constituency. Captain of Bangladesh one-day cricket team Mashrafe Bin Mortaza won from Narail-2 constituency. Scores of processions of jubilant crowds were witnessed in different parts of the capital chanting slogans 'Joy Bangla' carrying the 'boat' symbol of AL, as the unofficial results were being announced from different polling centres at around 9:00pm.

Incidents of violence were reported from 26 out of a total of 40,051 polling centres set up across 299 constituencies in the country. Ten activists of AL, one Jatiya Party activist, three common people, two BNP activists and one member of the law enforcement agency Ansar were killed in the attacks mostly carried out by the opposition activists. The Election Commission (EC) and the law enforcement agencies went for prompt actions on reports of irregularities or untoward incidents. The EC suspended voting at 22 of the polling centres.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda said barring some unwanted incidents, polling was smooth and peaceful. Local and foreign observers, who monitored the voting, also said that the election was peaceful and enthusiastic. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, after casting his vote in his constituency in Thakurgaon in the morning, said that he found peaceful casting of votes in that centre and was hopeful to win the election. He told journalists at noon that some of the BNP candidates chose to stay off the vote. "It was their personal decision," he said. But during a formal briefing at 8:15pm he accused the government of rigging votes and rejected the results.

Ganoforum president Dr Kamal Hossain, who leads the main opposition alliance Jatiya Oikyafront with BNP being its key partner, also said that the overall environment was not bad with huge turnout of voters. He made the observation after casting his ballot at Vikharunnesa Noon School in Dhaka at 9.00am. During his formal briefing at 8:15pm, he rejected the election results and demanded fresh polls under a neutral caretaker administration.

A team of foreign and local election observers after visiting different polling stations in Dhaka said that the voting was smooth and peaceful as everyone was casting their votes freely.  "Everybody is getting access to their polling station and able to cast their ballot. All of the officers and officials are doing a great job maintaining order," said Tania Foster, observer from Canada. Indian observatory team praised Bangladesh EC's 'meticulous planning' in organising the election.

"....a lot of gaiety was visible. Whatever we've perceived I think it was very meticulous planning and meticulous organisation by the Bangladesh Election Commission," Ariz Aftab, the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal, told journalists while sharing their experience at a city hotel. Ariz was leading a three-member team of election observers from India. The team visited few polling stations. "We definitely feel that there has been very meticulous planning as per as the EC of Bangladesh is concerned."

Voters in long queue waiting to cast vote at Nayapaltan Ananda Community Centre in the capital on Sunday. In most of the city centres the voters turnout was significant. Both female and male voters were seen in good numbers to exercise their franchise.	photo: Observer

Voters in long queue waiting to cast vote at Nayapaltan Ananda Community Centre in the capital on Sunday. In most of the city centres the voters turnout was significant. Both female and male voters were seen in good numbers to exercise their franchise. photo: Observer

According to information available from our correspondents, voting was peaceful in almost all seats except sporadic clashes that occurred in 17 places from the previous night. The presence of women voters was significant. The EC suspended voting at a centre in Noakhali-3 after criminals allegedly carried away all election materials. The polling began at 8:00am and the voter turnout was low in the morning due to cold weather, but the number rose sharply with the passage of time, our correspondents reported from different constituencies. Long queues of voters were seen in capital's Khilgaon Govt Girls High School, Khilgaon Govt High School and Shantinagar Little Angels Learning Home polling centres.

"Though there is a little crowd but the voting is continuing peacefully," Shahinur Begum, a voter waiting to cast her ballot in Khilgaon Govt High School, told the Daily Observer. Opposition BNP activists in Noakhali-1 constituency attacked Ansar personnel and snatched arms and ammunition from them, said Superintendent of Police Elias Sharif. The opposition activists attacked judicial magistrates in Noakhali and Chandpur. "The balloting is continuing peacefully since it began in the morning. If it continues like this, we can say the voting will be peaceful. The overall situation is very good," Delwar Hossain, presiding officer at Kadamtala School and College, said at 2:30pm.

Number of the voters in the 11th Parliamentary Elections in different polling centres of 16 constituencies in Chittagong city and districts began to increase as the day progressed. Returning Officer and Deputy Commissioner of Chattogram, Ilias Hossain, said the voting was continuing in a peaceful atmosphere excepting some stray incidents in Patiya and Banskhali. The government agencies including district and upazila administrations, Bangladesh Army, RAB, Police and Ansar- VDP worked round the clock to make the election a success. Our Gazipur correspondent said the voting was peaceful in the district with no untoward incident in any place.

"The voting is continuing peacefully with the adequate presence of law enforcement agency members. I hope the situation will prevail till the end," Md Mosharraf Hossain, presiding officer at Monnu Textile High School polling centre, said. Balloting was peaceful in Natore, Jhalakathi, Joypurhat, Moulvibazar, Munshiganj, Narail, Magura, Habiganj, Narsingdi, Sylhet, Satkhira, Narayanganj, Gopalganj, Naogaon, Rajshahi, Mymensingh and Kushtia, our correspondents and agencies reported.










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