Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-Voting in the sixth and final phase of the upazila parishad election in 12 upazilas of eight districts across Bangladesh ended with some stray incidents on Monday.

The incidents include casting fake votes, postponement of voting, explosion of crude bombs and clashes between aspirant candidates.

The voting which began at 8:00am continued till 4:00pm without any break and vote counting began in 12 upazilas immediately after the voting process ended.

Voting in two polling centres in Comilla Sadar upazila was postponed following snatching of ballot papers and bomb explosion on Monday.

Locals said a group of miscreants snatched a huge number of ballot papers from Chhayabithi Government Primary School and Afzal Khan Technical College polling centres of the upazila aroud 10:15am.  

The miscreants exploded several crude bombs at that time.  

Following the incident, the voting was postponed, confirmed Rashedul Islam, returning officer of the district.

On the other hand, another group of miscreants looted 600 ballot papers from Subarnapur Government Primary School polling centre of the same upazila at about 10:00am.  

The criminals also beat up a presiding officer as he resisted them, said locals.  

The reports of casting fake votes also came from different centres in Comilla and Mymensing.

The supporters of Awami League-backed upazila chairman candidate and BNP-supported candidate also clashed in Comilla.

Meanwhile, police detained a BNP-backed chairman candidate for violating code of conduct in Rangpur Sadar upazila early today nearly four hours before the polls began.

However, restrictions on the movement of all types of vehicles have been placed in the polling areas.

The voter turnout which was thin in the opening was seen increasing as the day progressed.

Some 2,000 members of law enforcement agencies, including 7,000 police personnel, are seen guarding the polling centres to ensure security.

Five armed police members also joined with the law enforcers in each polling station.

A total of 179 candidates are contesting the elections against 36 posts in the 12 upazilas.

Of them, 61 are chairman candidates and 69 vice chairman contenders, and 49 vice chairman candidates for the posts set aside for women.

There are 18,45,133 voters –9,15,087 males and 9,30,046 females–who can exercise their franchise in 4,930 booths of 746 polling stations in the upazilas.

The 12 upazilas are: Kaunia, Gangachhara, Sadar and Pirgachha of Rangpur; Kamarkhand of Sirajganj; Taltali of Barguna; Basail of Tangail; Gazipur Sadar; Kalukhali of Rajbari; Bijoynagar of Brahmanbaria and Adarsha Sadar and Sadar Dakkhin of Comilla.

Besides, by-polls to chairman post of Tarakanda upazila in Mymensingh are also going on Monday.

Three chairman candidates are in the race for the post.

On April 16, the EC announced the election schedule for the 14 upazilas and subsequently postponed elections in two upazilas –Bandar of Narayanganj and Rangabali of Patuakhali.

Earlier this year, the commission, in five previous phases, completed elections in 459 out of the country’s 487 upazilas.

 BBN/ANS/AD-19May14-4:20pm (BST)