According to Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar, the chief election commissioner and other commissioners are now ignoring his observations regarding the flouting of the electoral code of conduct by lawmakers and ministers. He further alleged that in the three meetings held since the announcement of the election schedule on December 22, there have been no discussions on the electoral code of conduct; nor is such a discussion on the agenda of the last meeting before the elections.
Yet we wonder: is it not the role of the EC to discuss, monitor and follow up on whether candidates are defying the electoral code of conduct? It is not unusual for an election commissioner to request to see a list of complaints lodged with the Returning Office of the EC; in fact, we are at a loss to understand why, with elections only three days away, the EC itself has not asked for such a list or called a meeting to decide how to move forward and address the complaints.
Mahbub Talukdar has been a lone voice for a while now highlighting the irregularities in the electoral process. The EC has repeatedly dismissed Talukdar’s concerns about an uneven playing field, and now seems to have sidelined him altogether from the EC proceedings. But why? Is what he is saying so untrue that the EC does not have to pay any heed to his observations? We in the media are following the elections just as closely as the EC and we think the observations of Mahbub Talukdar deserve a careful hearing at least. By ignoring his views completely, the EC is casting doubt on its own credibility. But does the EC care?