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Voting has ended in elections for more than 200 local government positions, including mayoral races, in the cities of Mymensingh and Cumilla.

The polls, which closed at 4pm on Saturday, were largely peaceful barring scattered reports of violence, including a shooting outside a polling station, and allegations of agent expulsion and voter intimidation.

Complications with electronic voting machines (EVMs), particularly issues with fingerprint recognition, were also a common grievance among voters during the city elections.

In Cumilla, tensions flared early in the day as three mayoral hopefuls accused rival candidate Tahseen Bahar Shuchona, a local Awami League leader, and her supporters of driving out their polling agents from voting centres.

The situation came to a head outside the Munshi M Ali High School centre, where two individuals were injured by gunfire amid clashes between supporters of opposing candidates.

Nizam Uddin Kaisar, a former BNP leader contesting the mayoral election with the ‘horse’ symbol, identified the injured as his supporters, Zahirul Islam and Md Tuhin.

While Mymensingh did not experience such violent incidents, a number of elderly voters expressed frustration upon being denied the opportunity to vote due to mismatched fingerprints in the EVM system.

As per election regulations, voters waiting in the precincts of the polling centres within the stipulated time will be allowed to cast their votes. The vote-counting process will begin afterwards.

Vote counting will be streamlined in the two cities due to the use of EVMs. The outcomes will be directly printed from the machines and forwarded to the returning officer’s control room, accompanied by the signatures of both the agent and the presiding officer. The results will then be officially announced from there.

After the Awami League decided against endorsing any candidates with its boat symbol, many party leaders contested the elections as independents.

The Jatiya Party fielded a candidate in the Mymensingh City Corporation election, and two former BNP leaders threw their hats in the ring for the Cumilla mayoral by-election.

Although candidates affiliated with the Awami League reported a satisfactory polling environment from the start, opposition candidates lodged complaints about agent expulsion, voter intimidation, and slow voting processes in both cities.

The Election Commission acknowledged two isolated incidents but maintained that voting was largely peaceful.

Preliminary reports indicated a voter turnout of at least 26 percent by midday, with expectations of reaching or exceeding 50 percent by the day’s end.

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