WE welcome the Election Commission's (EC) decision to make public Upazilla candidates' wealth statement affidavits online as required by the RPO. What surprises us though is the Commission's apparent dithering on the question of publishing these statements. Are we to assume that given the outpouring of criticism that had followed regarding the affidavits of candidates of the 10th national parliamentary elections, the Commission may have initially felt hesitant to put the affidavits up in the local level elections?
One cannot overlook the fact that it is of paramount importance for the electorate to have access to information about contesting candidates to make an informed decision. These affidavits contain vital information like candidates' educational qualifications, police records if any, sources of own and dependents' incomes, preoccupation and wealth statement, whether candidates are bank defaulters, etc. Indeed, EC rules make it mandatory that candidates furnish such information in the form of affidavits.
The reason given by the Commission for the delay being that too many candidates were contesting is not altogether convincing. However, it is fortunate that good sense has prevailed and the information has been put up in the public domain.