Sunday is a crucial day not only for Narayanganj but also for the country's politics, as the much-talked-about Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) polls can create a new political equation.
If Awami League's candidate Selina Hayat Ivy, the first female mayor in the country, wins the election, she will be the first to become mayor for the third time in a row, breaking all the previous records of the country's city corporation polls.
On the other hand, the victory of Taimur Alam Khandaker might create more space for the opposition parties to raise questions about the "acceptance" of the ruling Awami League, which has been in power since 2009.
Although the country's people lost their interest in elections after 2014 and became fed up with ongoing violent union parishad polls, they are looking at the Narayanganj polls with curiosity as they believe it would be competitive, participatory and festive like the previous two sessions.
Until filling the report on Saturday night, no violence, and irregularities were reported about the election, which is almost rare nowadays in Bangladesh.
Election analysts mentioned the election environment as a "promising and unique example". The matured behaviour of the major candidates, their interpersonal relationships and gentle campaigns were the factors.
Can Ivy score a hat trick?
Out of the 7 mayoral candidates, Selina Hayat Ivy, competing with the "boat" symbol, has records of winning the elections with a huge difference of votes in 2011 and 2016.
Observing the pre-poll campaign this year, it was seen that Ivy, also a doctor, had a large vote bank. A large portion of her voters are Awami League supporters, while she also received support from others, thanks to her previous activities.
The two-term city mayor raised her voice against some dominant figures, including Member of Parliament Shamim Osman, for their crimes and irregularities, in different times, which ultimately brought popularity for her among the city people.
Besides, she could manage funds from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and other development partners, apart from the government, for the development of the hundred-year-old city.
Ivy, a daughter of former Narayanganj Municipality Mayor Ali Ahmed Chunka, has also a lot of well-wishers for the reputation of her family. Born in 1966, the lady leader has also a soft-corner from the leftists as she did her graduation in the once communist-led Soviet Union.
However, Shamim Osman remained a factor in the election. At the last moment, he declared to be with Ivy. So all the AL supporters, even those who avoided the "boat" symbol for Shamim Osman in the first session, can come to Ivy.
The equations say Ivy has a great chance to score a hat trick as the NCC mayor.
She was also the last mayor of Narayanganj municipality before its merger in 2011. She joined politics in her student life. In 1992-93, she was an intern doctor at the Mitford Hospital, and in 1994, she served the hospital as an honorary doctor.
Apart from the role of the city mayor, she has currently been serving the city unit of AL as a senior vice-president.
Independent Taimur makes the poll competitive
Advocate Taimur Alam Khandaker, who has recently been suspended from BNP for a strategic reason not to attend the election, is the main rival of Ivy. Despite the suspension, all the BNP leaders, activists joined him in the pre-poll campaign.
Besides, the "independent" status gave him another advantage – he got support also from other people, which ultimately made the polls more competitive.
However, the ball would come to his court, if Shamim Osman would support him.
Born in 1953, Taimur is the fellow politician of her rival Ivy's father Chunku. He joined BNP in 1996. Later, he served the party as Narayanganj city unit president and district unit president.
After one-eleven, he worked as the personal lawyer of BNP Leader Tarique Rahman. In 2007, he was arrested and sent to jail. After being released from jail in 2009, he was made BNP convener for the Narayanganj district.
In 2011, Taimur was contesting the city polls, but he was forced to step down with an order of Khaleda Zia just 7 hours before the voting. However, Taimur continued to be present in the field-politics after then. This time, he promised not to withdraw candidature regardless of any issue.
In a press conference on Saturday afternoon, he alleged that police had been arresting many of his agents in different previous cases, just before the voting day. "It is very embarrassing for me. However, I will not leave the field by any means," he added.
In Sunday's election, five more mayoral candidates, hundreds of aspirant councillors of the 27 wards and the women councillors of the reserved seats are contesting.
The other mayoral candidates are ABM Sirajul Islam Mamun from Khilafat-e-Majlis, Mawlana Md Masum Billah from Islami Andolon Bangladesh, Md Jashim Uddin from Bangladesh Khilafat Andolon, Md Rashed Ferdous from Bangladesh Kallyan Party and independent candidate Md Kamrul Islam.
Securities ensured at centres
The election commission (EC) yesterday told the journalist that they had taken all preparations to hold the elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner.
It instructed outsiders to leave the city areas. Motorcycle plying has been banned in the area since Friday night.
14 judicial magistrates have been appointed to conduct the election peacefully. The polls will be held through electronic voting machines (EVM), from 8am to 4pm.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has allowed 42 observers from nine organisations to monitor the election.
Returning officer Mahfuza Akter said no centre was identified as risky as all the 192 centres were being taken into special consideration.