Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Voting began 147 constituencies out of 300 at 8:00 am on Sunday amid high tension and fear following the opposition’s boycott and widespread arson attacks across the country.

The voting will continue till 4:00pm (local time) without any break.

The enthusiasm among the voters has died down for various reasons, including the absence of voting in 153 constituencies where the single candidates are poised to be elected unopposed and lack of election friendly-environment due to political violence over the polls.

In Dhaka city, election is being held for only eight of the 15 seats.

The opposition alliance is boycotting the election as its demand for a non-partisan interim-government to oversee the election has gone unheeded. 

In its last-ditch efforts to stop the election, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led 18-party alliance enforced non-stop blockade and 48-hour hartal programmes across the country.

More than 130 people have been killed in election-related violence since the Election Commission announced the election schedule on November 25.  

All the efforts by the international community and the civil society members to convince the government to hold an inclusive election has gone in vain as the current regime and the Election Commission are saying that the election has to be held by January 24 for maintaining the constitutional process. 

A total of 4,39,38,938 voters out of the country’s 9,19,65,977 will be able to exercise their franchises to choose the representatives of the 147 constituencies from 380 candidates.  

Out of 40 registered political parties, 12 parties are contesting the election.

BBN/AD/SI-05Jan14-10:34 am (BST)