Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar on Sunday said there is no level-playing field within the Election Commission (EC) itself as the scope for him to express opinion has squeezed.
He came up with the remarks while talking to reporters at his Nirbachan Bhaban office on Sunday.
The Commissioner said his proposals and recommendations are not accepted at EC meetings because of the majority-driven decision concept. “I think the merits of my statements should be considered instead of considering me as the minority.”
“I think the space for making statements by me at the Commission’s meeting has got narrowed. There's no level-playing field within the Election Commission. We want to protect the independence and dignity of the Election Commission, and it should be manifested through our activities,” he added.
Mahbub observed that the Election Commission cannot perform its duty properly regarding the elections to two city corporations.
He said three meetings of the EC were held since the announcement of the election schedule, but there was no discussion about the electoral code of conduct, irregularities or the complaints of the candidates in Dhaka’s two city corporation elections at any of the meetings. “None of these issues was there on the agenda of the Commission’s meetings."
He said another meeting of the Commission will be held on January 28, but no issue relating to the city polls has been included its agenda.
The Commissioner said he gave four separate unofficial notes on January 9, 13, 16 and 20, but none of them was taken into consideration. “There’s no discussion or necessary action on the issues. If my statements are unacceptable, I should have been informed about it.”
Through an unofficial note on January 16, he said he asked the EC senior secretary and two returning officers of Dhaka south and north city corporation polls to submit a report to him by January 20 about different complaints of the candidates and the actions taken by the EC. “But my order was ignored as I wasn’t provided any information.”
Replying to a question, Mahbub said he does not work for any party as he is guided by his conscience. “Those who know my past history won’t say I belong to any party.”