Voting at 708 unions across the country is happening today in the fifth phase of the union parishad (UP) polls, amid anxiety over feared violence.
In the pre-poll campaign of the phase, at least four people were reportedly killed, raising the death toll of the elections in different phases to 65.
A total of 36,457 candidates are vying for different positions in the fifth phase election taking place in 95 upazilas under 48 districts, according to the Bangladesh Election Commission.
Of the aspirants, 3,274 are for chairman, 25,233 for general member and 7,950 for reserved woman member posts.
The body of a union parishad is formed with an elected chairman, nine members and 3 woman members from reserved seats.
The commission says 193 candidates have already been elected unopposed, while 52 of them are chairmen, 32 reserved woman members and 109 general members.
"We have completed all the preparatory works. In this phase, we are going to take votes with electronic voting machines at 40 unions," SM Asaduzzaman, joint secretary at the commission, said.
He told The Business Standard that the number of voters for the phase is 1.42 crore.
The much-talked-about UP polls saw violence and casualties in the previous four phases. The second phase was the deadliest which left at least 30 people dead and dozens injured.
This session of the local government polls will be held in 7 phases, while the sixth phase is scheduled to be held on 31 January at 219 unions, and the final phase on 7 February at 138 unions.
Earlier, 836 union parishads took part in elections in the fourth phase on 26 December last year, 1,000 in the third phase on 28 November, 833 in the second phase on 11 November.
The first phase of the election was held in two segments– one on 21 June and the other on 20 September – in which 369 union parishads took part.