UNB, Dhaka : The candidates of the first phase of the upazila polls on Tuesday formally began their campaign to woo voters after getting their election symbol. As per the schedule of the elections to the 98 upazilas, the returning officers are distributing the symbol among the candidates, said a deputy secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat. Election candidates can embark on electioneering once they are allocated symbols. The first phase of election in 98 upaizilas of 40 districts is billed for February 19. A total of 1,274 candidates are contesting the polls against 294 posts of chairman, vice chairman and reserved vice chairman post of women in the upazilas. Of them, 432 are chairman contenders, while 513 vice-chairman candidates and 329 reserved vice-chairman contesters. Within Monday’s deadline, as many as 405 candidates withdrew their candidature in the upazila parishads, the Election Commission Secretariat sources said on Monday night. On January 19, the EC announced the first phase of election schedule for the upazilas. Meanwhile, the nomination papers submitted to run the second phase elections in 117 upazilas were being scrutinised. A total of 1852 aspirants placed nomination papers to contest the election in 117 upazila parishads. Of them, 766 chairman aspirants, while 682 vice chairman aspirants and 404 reserved vice chairman aspirants. On January 23, the commission announced the polls schedule for the 117 upazilas fixing the voting date for February 27. The deadline for withdrawal of candidature in the 117 upazila expires on February 11. Out of the country’s 487 upazila parishads, the commission will arrange the staggered polls in nearly 480 upazilas before June next.