EC faces question for holding election at night instead of day: Mahbub Talukder

Election commissioner Mahbub Talukder
File photo

Referring to the incidents of ballot snatching at various union parishad elections, election commissioner Mahbub Talukder on Wednesday said it is necessary to stop this situation by providing protection to ballot papers at any cost.

“We face questions that the election commission holds election at night instead of day after the BBC broadcast the incident of ballot paper on the night before the 2018 national election. This is in no way expected."

Mahbub Talukder made the remarks while speaking to newspersons at his office at the election commission in the capital’s Agargaon on Wednesday afternoon.

Mahbub Talukder said, “The fundamental condition of election is to ensure protection of ballot papers ahead and after the voting. We have failed to do it properly. I don’t think law enforcement agencies can avoid the responsibility.”

Violence and clash has become a regular phenomena of union parishand (UP) elections. Now there are clashes in election, no voting. UP election has turned into a tragedy instead of festivity. But election and violence cannot go side by side, Mahbub Talukder lamented.

Mahbub Talukder said law enforcement agencies also have to strengthen their activities to prevent violence in election. It is inevitable to find out the cause of violence in the UP polls and to stop it, he added.

However, if the practice of party nomination in the UP polls is not revoked, violence and clash may rise gradually, Mahbub Talukder noted.

Mahbub Talukder said, “Discussion over human rights is now at the peak. Right to vote is human rights and this is the spirit of our constitution. Establishment and protection of people’s rights to vote is still a far cry.”

“Democracy and human rights are two sides of a coin. Only real democracy can guarantee human rights. There is no alternative to free, fair, neutral, legal and acceptable election to establish and institutionalise democracy,” he added.

Mahbub Talukder said several lawmakers have violated the electoral code of conduct. No action was taken against them other than sending letters. Some of them ignored the letters too. So, it was inevitable to enforce the law strongly.

But it is not possible to take stern action against those lawmakers without reforming the electoral process.

Except a little fine, no action was also taken against other people violating the electoral code of conduct. Proper enforcement of law was not possible without stern punitive action, he added.