Either one has to be stone deaf and hopelessly blind or be living in another world to utter what the CEC said regarding the playing field being absolutely level and that, to quote him, the candidates are being able to conduct campaigns and are not facing any obstacles. One would have to stretch one's level of credulity to believe an iota of the statement. The statement comes very soon after he had felt “embarrassed” to see the inter-party violence and the attacks on an opposition motorcade by ruling party members a few days before, which is in stark contrast to his latest characterisation of the electioneering atmosphere.
In fact, there has been no abatement in violence and what is very clear is that the space for the opposition to conduct its campaign is shrinking. Opposition rallies are being thwarted by the ruling party members, with the police in most cases a silent spectator, their role a suspect. The opposition cadres and activists are running helter-skelter to avoid arrest. And one met his end jumping off the roof trying to give a slip to the police. Quite a few senior BNP leaders have been arrested in old cases, and even people long dead are cited in the arrest warrants.
This is not the idea of a level playing field. Unfortunately, the referee and the adjudicator, the EC, seems to have chosen to turn a blind eye, evading actions that they are empowered to take to ensure that everybody can play his or her part freely in the election process.
We urge the EC to remove its tinselled glasses, acknowledge the reality and do what it is obligated to the nation to do. Much damage had been done to the institution by its immediate predecessor. Nothing so far that the EC has done since it assumed responsibility, has redeemed the image of the Commission.