IT is difficult to accept the comments of the CEC that the three city corporation elections were held in a fair and peaceful manner and that there were no threats or anomalies. The elections may have been generally peaceful since there were few instances of violence, and whatever violence there was, was between two groups of the ruling party, but we must take issue with him regarding the anomalies and fairness of the polls.
What prevailed in the polling centres, most of which were taken under control by the ruling party cadres from the very beginning, was intimidation enough. And the many instances of lack of a fair and free atmosphere, broadcast on the electronic media on the day of election and published in many newspapers yesterday, demonstrate the so called free and fairness of the elections. It is regrettable that the EC did not take suo moto cognizance of these.
It would be wrong to correlate the instances of violence with fairness of the polls since the opposition BNP was not in the scene to put up resistance at all, and the actual situation in most centres did not get reported because of the connivance of the agencies with the AL cadres.
The manner in which the elections were conducted has further demeaned the credentials of the state's institutions and agencies. And it has even further discredited the election commission – a situation that bodes very badly for democracy in this country.
It is disappointing that as one of the most important democratic institutions of the state the EC seems to have abdicated its duty to create conditions for the voters to exercise their right. Regrettably, many could not. Refusing to see and acknowledge the reality will not change the facts.