Voting begins for Bangladesh parliamentary polls

December 29th, 2008 - 11:51 am ICT by ANI  

Dhaka, Dec 29 (ANI): Polling for parliamentary election in Bangladesh began this morning amid tight security.
The voting started at 8.00 a.m. and the counting will begin manually after the end of the polling in 35,263 polling stations across the country.
A total of 1,552 candidates are contesting the polls and more than 81 million people are eligible to cast their ballots.
It is widely expected that there will be a tough fight between the Awami League led 14-party Grand alliance and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led 4-party alliance.
Over 11 lakh personnel including 650,000 security forces have been deployed to ensure that the election will be held in peaceful manner.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia who is heading the four-party alliance was recently cleared of all charges against her.
Meanwhile, Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina has said her grand electoral alliance wants to bring a change to the country and establish a rule of honest people and economic freedom for the people, with a popular mandate.
Bangladesh is now expected to begin her journey towards democracy once again from the beginning of next year.
Bangladesh has been ruled by the military-backed government since January last year when months of political turmoil prompted the army to cancel polls and impose a state of emergency.
Bangladesh attempted to hold elections twice in 2006, but months of strikes and street violence forced the present army backed Caretaker government to step in. (ANI)

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