Approving rejected candidature
The Election Commission (EC) has created a laudable example by taking a firm stand against the additional divisional commissioner of Rajshahi for allegedly clearing the candidature of five contestants for the Rajshahi City Corporation poll after they have been rejected by the returning officer during scrutiny. The senior government official in his capacity as the election appeal authority had declared their papers valid on appeal but it leaves us wondering as to how he could certify them when some of them turned out to be bank defaulters while others were open market sale (OMS) dealers. As per the electoral laws they did not qualify to contest the election and EC has prudently referred the case to the ministry of establishment to take disciplinary action against the ADC for such gross violation of the EC rules.
We endorse the action of EC because it is a timely step, which would send strong signal to the civil administration and everyone involved with the election to remain non-partisan, transparent and above any controversy with regard to selection of candidates. In no way government officials must be allowed to influence the nomination process or tamper with information concerning the background of the people who aspire to contest the polls. There is no denying that the entire nation is looking forward to the successful holding of a free and fair election on August 4, therefore any attempt to thwart the process has to be crushed right away.
We are aware of people in the civil administration who have strong affiliation with some political parties. They might look for the opportunity to meddle in the process and influence decisions. Therefore, the EC will have to remain ever vigilant about such elements so that it can ensure that the city corporation and municipality elections are held in a free, fair and transparent environment. It is to be treated more as a test case than anything else before holding of the national election.
The electoral laws empower the EC to ask for departmental action against an official put on election duty if he or she violates any rule. We believe proper enforcement of this power would help ensure transparency and accountability in the upcoming polls. The EC must not show any fear or favour in exercising the power.