Chittagong: Chittagong City Corporation goes to the polls Thursday in a crucial local-body election, amid a downbeat mood of the Election Commission office here, though, about smooth balloting as heavy rain inundated some areas and a few polling centers in the port city.
“It is now difficult to hold the elections in some polling centers since those are reported to have been submerged due to the overnight raining,” said Chief Returning Officer Jasmine Tuli while talking to Bangalnews24.com.bd
The Returning Officer said they also sought Election Commission’s decision on Wednesday morning about the flooded centers. “If the rainfall continues, voting in those centers will become uncertain.”
Election officials, including returning officers, have visited the rain-affected voting centers of the city`s low-lying areas since Tuesday afternoon till midnight.
The district election office sources said about 50 polling centers of 25 institutions were submerged for last few days’ heavy downpour.
Duty Forecast Officer at Met office Farid Ahmed told the news portal correspondent that around 149mm rainfall had been recorded in 24 hours to Wednesday morning. It is possible that there will be medium-range rainfall Thursday for the activating monsoon wind.
In another development, the EC started distributing ballot papers to the centers today (Wednesday). Over 16.88 lakh voters are expected to cast vote from 8:00am to 4:00pm.
Besides, Home Ministry already constituted a coordination cell headed by its Joint Secretary Dr. Kamal Ahmed Siddiqui to maintain law and order during the polls through round-the-clock monitoring from the capital.
The cell will work until 2 pm on June 18, said a ministry circular on Wednesday morning.
People have been requested to inform the cell if electoral code of conduct is violated. Phone numbers of the cell are: 7171580 and 7162753.
The Election Commission has deployed six companies of army troops along with police, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and border guards in the city corporation areas to maintain order.
It has also deployed two additional law enforcers to each of 451 sensitive voting centres out of a total of 673 and will install 41 video cameras for constant vigilance during the polls.
Meanwhile, the electoral campaigns by the candidates for Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) elections ended on Tuesday midnight, 32 hours before the polls.
Despite heavy pouring for the few days, seven mayoral hopefuls, 253 councillor candidates and 59 women councillor contestants conducted their last-moment campaigns Tuesday.
The two vital mayoral candidates are ruling Awami League-backed ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury and BNP-backed M Manjur Alam.
BDST 1330 hrs June 16, 2010