Dhaka, Feb. 20 (PTI): The ruling Awami League today suffered a setback in the first phase of a crucial local election in Bangladesh as the BNP — which had boycotted the general election — won 43 sub-district councils out of 97.
According to unofficial results, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-backed candidates won in 43 sub-district or upazila councils that went to the polls yesterday to give the party an unbeatable lead. The Awami League-backed candidates won in 34 councils.
The non-party local polls came six weeks after the January 5 general election which the BNP-led Opposition alliance had boycotted. Several newspapers dubbed it a “high-voltage election”. held in a peaceful manner, a month after Bangladesh witnessed its worst political violence during the general election.
Candidates backed by the BNP’s key ally, the Jamaat-e-Islami, secured 13 upazilas. However, the party was stripped off its registration with the election commission after a High Court judgment that disqualified it for polls.
According the law, the elections in local government bodies including the upazilas are non-party polls but major parties field their candidates to test their popularity giving it a political colour.
Reports and witnesses said some stray incidents of violence marred the polls atmosphere at places but in most areas the polls were held peacefully while troops were deployed to handle any law and order situation.
In a dramatic shift, BNP, which had boycotted the general elections, fielded its candidates in the local body polls.
According to analysts, the results of the first phase upazila polls would give a boost to the winning camp in the next elections in 117 upazilas which would be held on February 27.