Chittagong: Opposition consensus candidate Manjur Alam was Friday unofficially declared elected Mayor of Chittagong, country’s commercial capital and a stronghold of the ruling Awami League, as his former boss was overwhelmingly voted down after three consecutive terms.
Returning Officer Jasmine Tuli announced Manjur’s victory at about 10:30am—after overnight troubles and suspense surrounding announcement of the results of Thursday’s voting.
Manjur, a breakaway Awami Leaguer who stood for election with the opposition BNP backing, defeated AL-backed thrice-elected Mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury by a wide margin of 95,528 votes. He bagged 479,145 votes to Mohiuddin’s 383,617.
At about 6am, the Chattagram Unnayan Andolan candidate, Manjur, came to the Election Information Centre after watching out the night in the wake of a dithering in spelling out the outcome by bits. Assuming his eventual triumph, he told journalists that he would not bring out any victory procession rather would like to see doa mahfil.
Central BNP leader and Standing Committee member Abdullah Al Noman told banglanews24.com.bd that the change came “as the Chittagonians wanted a change”.
He also hoped that the previous city father would accept the poll results.
The unofficially elected Mayor and thousands of his supporters kept in waiting now for the formal announcement from the government on the outcome of the much-orchestrated Chittagong City Corporation polls.
In a prompt reaction, Manjur, the immediate-past councilor and panel mayor during the emergency rule, said, “I respect Mohiuddin as my elder brother. I want to work with him, and I think the present government will help me continue with the development work of Chittagong.”
In a surprisingly low turnout despite pre-poll peace all over the city, 54 percent of the total 16,88,676 voters cast their vote in Thursday’s election to elect the mayor, 41 councilors and 14 women councilors to reserved seats.
Bangladesh through the CCC polls introduced digital voting system on a limited scale, using Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), for piloting a greater plan of introducing e-voting countrywide.
BDST:07015 HRS, June 18, 2010