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He said that it would not be an exaggeration to term the union parishad elections this time ‘blood-stained’. Before, during and after the elections, 39 people have been killed so far. The commission has possibly failed to pass on the message to the concerned persons that the elections are not more valuable than life. On 11 November, elections to 834 union parishads were held and 80 chairmen were elected uncontested. This cannot be called an election. There is no election where there is no contest. He was of the opinion that there would be no scope for uncontested victories if the elections had been open as before, rather than on a party basis.

Mahbub Talukdar went on to say that a separate local election authority could be formed to conduct these elections. Why should the election commission take responsibility of an election process that it does not determine? However, he added, this issue required a political decision.

Mahbub Talukdar sarcastically referred to the elections in Laksham upazila of Cumilla and Raozan upazila of Chattogram, where all candidates won uncontested, as the world’s ‘ideal elections’

The election commissioner said, political realities obliged the returning officers to pay heed the wishes of the local members of parliament or the local leaders. This was a big problem in national and local elections. He said that the returning officers wanted to conceal the allegations pertaining to clashes, violence and violation of the election code. They have no other alternative. It is no use calling for a bold stand of the returning officers. There is no instance of any security or protection being provided to courageous returning officers and bold officials against the backlash of the powerful local leaders.

Mahbub Talukdar sarcastically referred to the elections in Laksham upazila of Cumilla and Raozan upazila of Chattogram, where all candidates won uncontested, as the world’s ‘ideal elections’. He said as sole candidates of Awami League, 65 persons won the union parishad chairman, member and reserved seat positions in Laksham, Cumilla. In Raozan, Chattogram, 14 union chairmen, 123 male members and 42 in the reserved seats won with no contest. This is the first time in the history of the country that in any upazila chairmen and members were ‘elected’ uncontested in 182 posts.

Mahbub Talukdar said, the elections was ‘extremely peaceful’ in the absence of any rebel candidate or rival. If such violence-free ‘elections’ could be conducted all over the country, then it would suffice just have a secretariat under a secretary. There would be no need for an election commission.

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