The increasing number of election code violations we have seen in the campaigning of the three upcoming city elections is alarming. In most cases, the EC has simply sent show-cause notices to the accused, falling short of investigating the allegations and slapping fines or taking strict actions against the perpetrator.
We wonder why the EC should seek intervention of the Speaker to prevent lawmakers from campaigning instead of using its own wide powers to take appropriate actions. All this reinforces the notion that the EC is abdicating its responsibility to ensure free and fair elections.
Newspapers have documented plenty of instances of election rule violations for the last few days in the three cities—Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal. From Upazila chairman to lawmakers, city corporation mayor to other influential public office holders are campaigning for the ruling party-backed candidates.
The EC is accorded with immense poll-time powers. It's frustrating that the commission has so far been unwilling to assert its own authority. Generally, the commission mostly asks the local police to deal with the complaints of rule violations. But if previous cases are any indication, the role of the police hasn't been above board.
The EC is entrusted with creating a condition conducive to holding such an election that perfectly reflects the will of the voters. To do so, it must not only ensure that all candidates can have equal opportunities, but it must also penalise fouls and infringements.