EC should keep above intra-party conflict
EXCEPT for the work on the voter list with identity card being on course, in all other areas of preparation like bringing in electoral reforms, the Election Commission is certainly lagging behind the pre-set schedule. In particular, the major concern is the unfinished agenda of a massive amendment to the Representation of the People's Order 1972 in the shape of an Electoral Reform Ordinance. Fourteen months since the caretaker government's takeover and with the obligation of holding national election in eight months' time, it's a pity that the Election Commission is stuck in the BNP's internal issue over who legitimately represented the party in taking forward the electoral reform agenda through its last lap.
The EC-imposed 72-hour deadline, on the two factions of BNP to present a united party before the EC or leave it to the commission to decide the matter, which we think was ill conceived in the first place, has already expired. A group from Hafiz-led faction has met the EC against the backdrop of five out of eight available standing committee members of BNP lending support to Delwar faction and urging the EC to recognise it as the legitimate representative of the BNP.
The HC ruling on the writ filed by Khaleda loyalists has rightly stressed that the claim to which faction represented the BNP is a political matter and not for the court to decide.
The net result of the wrangling over the last 14 months is that the EC is bogged down in the BNP's internal conflict, whether it admits or not. It is not for the EC to unite or divide the party by any ultimatum; political realities have to be accepted till they change for the better. Besides, it is not a question of allocating party symbol, it is just a matter of seeking opinions from both factions of BNP on electoral reform and have them reflected on the proposal. We would therefore say to the EC, please don't complicate the matter any more; call both factions of BNP separately, if unavoidable, to meetings; put together an electoral reform package; and present it before the government for its promulgation as an ordinance.