Narayanganj is poised for another peaceful "festival" of city corporation elections on Sunday as it witnessed on the last two occasions.
Based on the previous experiences, election analysts think the polls would be conducted without any violence that have often marred other city elections as well as the ongoing union parishad polls.
"We observed that the two Narayanganj City elections in 2011 and 2016 were very participatory and fair. So, we are hopeful that no violence would occur this time also," said former election commissioner Brigadier General (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain.
The two main mayoral candidates Selina Hayat Ivy and Taimur Alam Khandakar are very mature and senior politicians. Ivy has been serving as mayor for 18 years with a reputation, while Taimur has also a clean image in politics, he told The Business Standard.
The Narayanganj election still remains an exception compared to the rest of the country as no violence was reported in the pre-poll campaign. Leaders, activists of major political parties, and followers of the candidates took part in the campaigns. People also enjoyed the peaceful campaigns.
The candidates made their last-minute efforts to woo voters till Friday midnight.
"I hope no irregularities would be reported particularly in the mayoral fight," said former election commissioner Sakhawat, adding that the councillor election might witness some incidents.
People in Narayanganj have experiences of festive-like elections, and they are conscious, which is the main strength for a fair election. "I think previous Narayanganj City Corporation elections are unique examples," he said.
The two major contestants in this election are Awami League's Ivy and independent candidate Taimur, who is also a BNP leader. Parliament member and AL leader Shameem Osman remains a factor. At the last moment, he joined the campaign for Ivy.
Five more mayoral candidates, hundreds of aspirant councillors of the 27 wards and the women councillors of the reserved seats are contesting in the election.
A total of 5,17,357 voters are eligible to cast their votes in Sunday's poll, in which The Election Commission will use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in all the centres.
No violence in the pre-poll campaign
Selina Hayat Ivy has exuded confidence, saying she will win the election by a margin of over 1 lakh votes.
Thanking Narayanganj voters for their support on the last two occasions, Ivy said, "I am asking for your support one more time so that I can continue to work against corruption and injustice."
Taimur Alam Khandaker, however, said he was worried about the role of the election commissioner on voting day.
"We are waiting to see what happens next…We have been out of power for 18 years. The Awami League can exercise its power to win the poll," he told TBS.
The previous two polls
The NCC, the seventh largest city corporation in the country, was formed by merging old Narayanganj and Kadamrasul municipalities in 2011.
Selina Hayat Ivy, then AL rebel candidate, won that election, getting 65% of the total 180,048 votes.
Her rival, Awami League candidate Shameem Osman, got 78,705 votes, 28% of the total votes. BNP withdrew candidature for a strategic reason in the 2011 election, which went in favour of the 'rebel' candidate Ivy.
In the second election held in 2016, Ivy contested as the Awami League candidate and won the election with 174,602 votes. Her main rival lawyer Sakhawat Hossain got 96,700 votes.
After the 2014 elections all over the country saw a crisis, particularly in voter turnout, but Narayanganj remained a unique exception.