At least three people were killed in Mongla, Moheshkhali, and Kutubdia while many got injured as sporadic violence broke out in some districts centring the union parishad (UP) voting at 160 unions Monday.
After the polls began at 8 am, clashes erupted in Chattogram's Sandwip, Bagerhat's Mongla, Cox's Bazar's Kutubdia and Moheshkhali, and Noakhali's Hatia areas.
The deceased are – Fatema Begum, Abul Kalam, and Abdul Halim.
Seventy-year-old Fatema Begum was killed in an attack carried out by the opposition candidate's supporters in Mongla on Sunday night.
Witnesses said when the member candidate Matiar Rahman went to seek votes at Chandpai crossing around 9 pm Sunday, opposition candidate Shafiqul Islam obstructed him.
At one stage of the altercation, Shafiqul and his team got involved in a clash. Fatema Begum got injured when she intervened to save Matiar who is her nephew. She died while she was being taken to the hospital. The clash also left four to five individuals injured.
At Kutubjom union of Moheshkhali under Cox's Bazar, five people were shot during a gun battle that took place between the supporters of Awami League candidate Sheikh Kamal and independent candidate Mosharraf Hossain Khokon at a polling centre around 11:15 am Monday.
Abul Kalam — a supporter of the independent candidate — sustained fatal injuries during the clash, and died after being taken to Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital.
At Baraghop Union of Kutubdia in Cox's Bazar, one Abdul Halim was shot dead by law enforcers during a clash at a polling centre at Monday noon. He was declared dead at Kutubdia Upazila Health Complex.
Subsequently, voting at Pilatkata Government Primary School and Kutubdia Government College centres was closed. In the clash, at least 25 people were injured.
Mohammad Omar Haider, officer-in-charge at Kutubdia Police Station, said Abdul Halim got shot as the law enforcers were trying to control the situation at the polling centre.
In separate developments Monday, at least ten candidates in Bagerhat, Khulna, and Chattogram boycotted the elections raising allegations of irregularities, occupying of centres, threatening the voters, and barring them from casting ballots.
According to the Election Commission, 44 chairman candidates were elected unopposed. 1,965 candidates were vying for the reserved wards and 6,333 candidates for the general wards.
The sixth phase of municipality polls was also held at nine municipalities Monday.
The municipalities include Debiganj in Panchagarh, Nawapara in Jashore, Bhanga in Faridpur, Langalkot in Cumilla, Sonagazi in Feni, Kabirhat in Noakhali, Boalkhali in Chattogram, Moheshkhali and Chakaria in Cox's Bazar.
In the municipalities, three mayoral candidates at Langalkot, Kabirhat and Boalkhali won unopposed. 27 persons were vying for the mayoral office.
Three councillor candidates at Kabirhat and Nawapara municipality boycotted the vote alleging irregularities.
Md Humayun Kabir Khandaker, Secretary at the EC, said, "Too much desperation from candidates for victory led to poll violence."
"Candidates became so desperate that they got involved in violence," he told a press conference at the Election Commission office on Monday afternoon.
He said, "The loss of lives in Moheshkhali and Kutubdia is tragic and shocking for us. Twenty-four people were also injured in separate clashes in other places."
"Apart from the incidents, the elections were fair. Around 50% of votes were cast at the unions and more than 50% in the municipalities through the EVM [electronic voting machines]," added the EC secretary.