Three supporters of independent chairman candidate Mahbub Mia sustained bullet injuries in an attack by supporters of Awami League-backed candidate Monirul Haque Mithu during the ongoing by-election at the Hossaindi Union Parishad in Munshiganj's Ghazaria on Wednesday.
The injured are Sohail Rana, 36, Saiful Sardar, 45, and Farooq, 32, all supporters of the motorcycle symbol.
The incident took place an hour after voting in 58 Union Parishads (UPs), seven upazilas and four municipalities began across the country for the election of new representatives. Polling started at 8am on Wednesday and will continue until 4pm without a break,
Dr Kanta Rani Das, Gazaria Upazila Health Complex emergency department doctor, confirmed that three people seemingly injured by shotgun firing came to the hospital. After first aid, they were referred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Denying the matter, Ghazaria police station Officer-in-Charge Molla Soheb Ali said, "I am not aware of any such incident".
The post of Hossaindi UP chairman was declared vacant after the death of Akter Hossain, the former chairman.
"Four candidates are vying for the post of the chairman in today's election," said Ghazaria Upazila Election Officer and Assistant Returning Officer Liton Mia, adding that the voting is being held in 51 booths across 10 polling stations.
The number of voters in this union is 17,854. Among them, 9,126 are female voters and 9,728 are male voters.
Meanwhile, some of the voters complained about issues with EVM system as well as overall mismanagement at the polling stations.
Ali Hossain, a local resident went to vote in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for the first time at Jamaldi Government Primary School polling station, said he was told to cast his vote in room number 104 but after going there he found that his fingerprints do not match. He has been waiting ever since.
Confirming the matter, the presiding officer of that center Tanzeemul Islam said previously voters were segmented village-wise to cast their votes in specific rooms but this year the rule has changed. Since people today are required to vote according to their voter number some confusion has been created, she explained.
"The list containing voter numbers and the related room has been hanged outside, but due to the lack of familiarity with the new system vote casting has slowed down," he said hoping that the matter will be solved soon.
Regarding issues with the EVM fingerprint, he said an alternative means of voting will be arranged after verifying the identity of those whose fingerprints did not match.
The by-election to Khoksa Upazila Parishad of Kushtia started amid clashes between supporters of the rival candidates.
As soon as the voting started at 8am, a fight broke out at Kadirpur Government Primary School voting centre between supporters of the Awami League-backed candidate Babul Akhter and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) leader Motahar Hossain Khokon.
The Election Commission (EC) has formed a high-level team to monitor the elections.
However, CCTV cameras will only be used in the four municipalities -- Chattogram's Fatikchhari, Jamalpur's Hazrabari, Dinajpur's Parbatipur and Sylhet's Bishwanath.
Meanwhile, the seven upazilas are - Chattogram's Karnaphuli, Sunamganj's Jagannathpur, Sylhet's Osmaninagar, Netrakona Sadar, Kushtia's Khoksa, and Kurigram's Rowmari and Chilmari.
EC Joint Secretary and spokesman SM Asaduzzaman said police and other security people have been deployed to conduct the elections peacefully.
In order to ensure free and fair polls, all types of traffic movement had been banned in the polling since Tuesday midnight.