All the election materials, including translucent ballot boxes and ballot papers, will reach polling stations across the country by Saturday as the Election Commission had completed its preparations to arrange the general election on Sunday, EC officials said.
Amid tight security with the deployment of over 7 lakh security members across the country, the voting in the elections will be held from 8:00am to 4:00pm without any break.
People across the country are going to witness a battle mainly between two major political camps —ruling Awami League-led alliance and Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Front — in the elections to be held with the participation of 39 registered political parties.
The curtain fell on the 18-day official electioneering on Friday morning amid allegations and counter allegations of violence from the two major political coalitions.
Chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Friday urged the members of law enforcement agencies to create a congenial environment so that everyone could cast their votes as per their choice.
A huge number of contestants are participating in the elections. I hope the elections will be held in a festive mood, he said while visiting the media booth at the result announcement centre of Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital.
Replying to a query about the fear of opposition parties, the chief election commissioner said, We re ready to prove them wrong. The voters will cast their votes in a festive environment.
Election commissioner Brigadier General (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury said that the commission had taken all the preparations which were essential for the election. We re fully ready for arranging the election, he said while taking to reporters at the Nirbachan Bhaban on Friday.
Shahadat said that although there were political tensions, there was no fear about the elections.
A total of 103,826,819 voters — 52,371,616 males and 51,455,203 females — will exercise their franchise in 299 constituencies out of 300 across the country.
The Election Commission had postponed the election to Gaibandha 3 parliamentary seat following the death of the Jatiya Oikya Front candidate. The Gaibandha 3 polls will be held on January 27.
In the 299 constituencies, a total of 1,861 contesting candidates were running in the elections.
Of the contenders, 1,733 were nominated by political parties and 128 independent ones.
The Election Commission had already finalised 40,051 polling stations with a total of 205,691 booths for the 299 constituencies.
As per police reports sent to the Election Commission, 64 per cent of the polling stations were marked as important or vulnerable across the country.
On the voting day, a total of 6,08,000 security personnel would be deployed to guard polling stations across the country. Of them, some 1,21,000 were police members, 4,46,000 Ansar members and 41,000 were village police members, according to the Election Commission s fact-sheet.
A security team comprising of 14 to 17 members will guard each polling station.
In metropolitan areas, a 17-member security group with at least four police members with arms will ensure security to each important or risky polling station. A 16-member group with at least three police members with arms will guard each normal polling station.
Outside the metropolitan areas, a 16-member security team comprising at least two police members with arms will guard each important polling station while a 15-member security group having at least one police member with arms to protect each normal polling station.
A total of 12,420 army personnel comprising 414 platoons now remained deployed on election duty in 389 upazilas, while 1,440 navy personnel comprising 48 platoons in 18 upazilas, 1,260 Coast Guard members making up 42 platoons in 12 upazilas, 29,490 Border Guard Bangladesh members making up 983 platoons across the country and 18,000 RAB members in 600 platoons were deployed throughout the country.
Some 65,000 other security personnel, including RAB members, were engaged as striking forces across the country to maintain the law and order outside polling stations.
Police patrol teams in districts and metropolitan areas were engaged to maintain the election atmosphere across the country.
Out of 299 constituencies, electronic voting machines will be used in six — Dhaka 6 and 13, Chattogram 9, Rangpur 3, Khulna 2 and Satkhira 2 — instead of traditional ballot papers.
A total of 2,124,554 voters will be allowed to cast votes using 5,045 the electronic voting machines under 845 polling stations in the six constituencies.
As per the Election Commission s directives, the government had already imposed ban on plying of unauthorised motorcycles from Friday midnight while other vehicles from Saturday midnight.