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Vote rigging, expulsion of BNP candidate's agents alleged: BBC

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Staff Reporter :
Khulna City Corporation (KCC) elections ended on Tuesday with complaints of massive vote rigging, snatching of ballot boxes, driving out of BNP candidate's polling agents and assaulting election observers.
Reports from various polling stations said, presiding officers have suspended election in three polling centres after massive vote riggings that caused chaos there.
BNP mayoral candidate Nazrul Islam Manju complained that his polling agents were beaten up and driven out from 40 polling centers.
Agency reports said, voters were barred from coming to polling centres at many places.  Many others also complained that they found their votes were already cast when they appeared at the polling centres, depriving them of their right to franchise.
BNP mayoral candidate also complained that vote rigging had taken place mainly under the shelter of the Khulna Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
BBC Bangla reporting from the spot said, presence of voters was good, especially female voters. But the returning officer had to suspend polling at a polling centre as 15 to 20 goons entered that centres and sealed ballots and staffed it into the ballot box.
Voting was also suspended at two other polling centres.
The BBC correspondent also confirmed expulsion of BNP candidate's agents from many polling centres and he personally did not see any agent at many centers.
The correspondent also said he saw crowd of workers and supporters of Awami League mayor candidate Talukder Abdul Khaleq outside many poling centers. But presence of BNP workers and supporters was not visible at all.
Presiding Officer Ali Hossain said, they have stopped electoral activities at polling centre No 278 under the Ward No 31around 2:30pm after ballot boxes were snatched away by the miscreants.
Another presiding officer Khalilur Rahman said, a group of miscreants snatched ballot papers from a polling station at Khulna Government Iqbal Nagar School around 10:30am and put seals on all the papers.
He said they later suspended the voting at the centre.
Meanwhile, voting at Fatema High School in Ward No 22 was suspended for two hours from 10:30am following an incident of fake balloting.
Voting in the Khulna city polls began at 8:00am to elect a new mayor, 31 councillors and 10 women for in reserved seats.
While casting votes, Awami League mayoral candidate Abdul Khaleq claimed that voting was going on in a peaceful and festive manner while BNP candidate Nazrul Islam Monju complained that a massive vote rigging was underway and his voters were barred from voting by the ruling party goons.

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