Dhaka: A total of 91 mayoral candidates out of 1,183 in fray for crucial municipal polls were facing murder charges, a media report said here on Wednesday, as the nationwide week-long local government elections got underway amid strict security.
The mass-circulated `Prothom Alo` newspaper said that 522 mayoral candidates were faced with different criminal charges while eight percent or 91 of the total number of candidates were accused of murder.
It said most of the cases against the candidates were pending with the High Court, while many others were withdrawn under a government decision as the ruling Awami League believes that those were lodged during the past BNP regime to "politically harass" rival activists.
The news report came as the countrywide municipal elections opened today in 72 municipalities of the northern Rangpur and Rajshahi divisions.
Under the law, municipal polls were non-party elections but major parties field their candidates unofficially, giving the polls a crucial political importance.
The staggered voting in all the regions is set to end next week.
The independent Election Commission has summoned Army troops to keep a vigil at "troubled areas" along with police and other law enforcement agencies during the polls.