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Mahbub Talukder: No fair play within EC itself

  • Published at 03:51 pm January 26th, 2020
Election Commissioner Mahabub Talukder
Election Commissioner Mahabub Talukder speaks to journalists at the commission office in Dhaka on Sunday, January 26, 2020 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

He urged the commission to not consider him a minority,but rather to consider the merit of his statements

Election Commissioner Mahabub Talukder said he does not think there is fair play inside the Election Commission itself and the space for free speech in commission meetings has been gradually shrinking.

Talking to reporters at his office on Sunday, he said he wanted to protect the commission’s independence and dignity, and expected to see that through actions of the commission.

Mahbub said: “My proposals and recommendations were ignored at the meetings because of the majority.”

He urged the commission to not consider him a minority,but rather to consider the merit of his statements.

Mahbub said the commission was not carrying out its duties properly, and said there was no discussion in meetings about the conduct, irregularities, or complaints of  Dhaka city poll candidates.

These issues were also not on the agenda off past meetings, or even the next meeting which is scheduled for Tuesday, he said.

He said he sent four unofficial notes on January 9, 13, 16, and 20 to the commission regarding this, but no action was taken.

The commission did not even respond or provide any information to me, said Mahbub.

“The [Dhaka city] elections will not be held properly if the dissatisfaction behind these allegations explodes. It is unacceptable. The Election Commission will have to bear this responsibility," he warned.

Responding to a question, the election commissioner also maintained that he does not belong to or have any ties to any political party.

“I am guided by my conscience. It can be a political thing for anyone who wants to tag me with political ties. But I am against it,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, regarding Mahbub’s allegations, Election Commission Secretariat’s Senior Secretary Md Alamgir told reporters that the returning officers for the upcoming polls were not obliged to give information at the request of one election commissioner.

The returning officers will send information to the commission itself and the chief election commissioner first, when asked or necessary, Alamgir said, soon after Mahbub spoke to journalists.

The secretary said: “A returning officer does not answer to anyone directly. He is not obliged to give information to a commissioner.”

He also said that yesterday’s clash between BNP and Awami League supporters during BNP’s Dhaka South City Corporation mayor candidate Ishraque Hossain’s campaign in Tikatuli area was being investigated.

Regarding the commission’s investigation into the attack on BNP’s Dhaka North City Corporation mayor candidate Tabith Awal and his followers, allegedly carried out by Awami League supporters in Mirpur last week, Alamgir said he asked both parties to resolve the matter with the commission’s help.