Local units of BNP called separate daylong hartals for Thursday in Sujanagar upazila of Pabna and Shailkupa upazila of Jhenidah on different allegations of irregularities in the upazila (UZ) elections. Besides, local BNP called a half- day hartal for Thursday in Gournadi upazila of Barisal on charge of vote rigging. In Pabna, BNP announced a daylong hartal in Sujanagar upazila for Thursday protesting that the supporters of the ruling party candidates occupied at least 50 polling centres and terrorised BNP supporters in the upazila during election. BNP-backed chairman candidate Hazari Zakir Hossain Chunnu announced the shutdown in the morning after he boycotted the election. Zakir Hossain Chunnu alleged that followers of pro-Awami League chairman candidate Abu Kashem captured the 50 centres out of 60 in the upazila and obstructed BNP supporting voters from going to the polling centres. In Jhenidah, pro-BNP chairman candidate Rakibul Hasan of Shailkupa upazila boycotted the election and called a daylong hartal for Thursday in the upazila as supporters of the ruling party-backed candidates prevented his supporters from casting their votes. In Barisal, six pro-BNP chairman and vice-chairman candidates boycotted the election in Gauranadi upazila alleging that the supporters of the ruling party-backed candidates were obstructing their followers from casting their votes. Later, upazila unit BNP president Engineer Abdus Sobhan called a half-day shutdown in the upazila protesting the vote fraud. The residents of 97 upazilas of 40 districts started casting their votes at 8:00 am today (Wednesday) to choose their long list of representatives to upazila parishads in the first phase of the staggered local body elections. The voting will continue till 4:00pm without any break. – UNB, Dhaka.