Dhaka, Jan 5 (IANS) Voters preferred to stay indoors amid violence that left five people dead in the Bangladesh parliamentary elections Sunday.
Polling was suspended at 136 centres due to attacks by anti-poll protestors, the Daily Star reported.
Thin attendance was recorded at polling centres in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Munsiganj, Kushtia and Jessore.
An election official and four opposition supporters were killed in different districts in poll violence Sunday morning.
Jobaidur Rahman (45), assistant presiding officer at a polling centre in Thakurgaon district, 400 km from here, was killed by unidentified miscreants hours before the elections began.
At least five on-duty policemen were also injured in the attack, Xinhua reported.
Two activists of Jamaat were killed in Rangpur district, as opposition supporters fought with the authorities to foil voting at the polling centre, the sources said.
Another man from the opposition party died in Nilphamari district after police opened fire to thwart attack at the polling centre.
Another BNP’s youth wing activist, who was critically injured Saturday in a clash with ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party men in Lalmonirhat, died at a hospital in Rangpur early Sunday.
More than 43.9 million voters are expected to cast their vote at 18,208 centres.
Voting began at 8 a.m. and will continue till 4 p.m. at about 18,000 polling stations set in schools and other public buildings.
Mired in controversy, the 10th parliamentary elections are being held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country. As many as 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid a boycott by the main opposition party and its allies.
More than half of the country’s 100 million voters are not getting an opportunity to vote in the elections that have already sealed a victory for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after the opposition boycotted the contest.
Some 21 parties, including former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are boycotting the elections over Hasina’s refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the election.
The BNP Friday announced another shutdown for 48 hours starting Saturday. The shutdown, aimed at protesting the confinement of Zia and to seek cancellation of the polls, will end at 6 a.m. Monday.
Since Nov 26, the opposition alliance has enforced nationwide blockade for 22 days in phases, demanding that the elections be scrapped and fresh polls held under a caretaker government.