The commissioner says the phrase itself has become meaningless
Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder has said there is no level playing field for the 11th general election.
Speaking to reporters in his office on Monday, the commissioner said: “I do not think there is any level playing field at all in this election. The phrase level playing field has become meaningless.”
On Monday reporters submitted six written questions to Mahbub, to which he issued written responses.
Asked whether he was opposing the chief election commissioner who has said level playing field prevails in the country, Mahbub said: “I never oppose him. He has made his statement. I express a different view when necessary.”
“You are journalists; you know what is happening in the country. You ask yourselves if there is a level playing field,” he added.
However, the commissioner said, he was still hopeful.
“There is still time to carry out the promise of a free, fair and neutral election. Executive magistrates, judicial magistrates and the judges on the electoral inquiry committee have to play a more effective role.
“I believe if the army is on the field the situation will change positively.”
Asked whether he agrees with the chief election commissioner’s position that the election will be participatory and fair with all parties vying, he responded: “If all parties are vying in the election that is a participatory election. That does not guarantee a fair election.
“Participatory election is an initial achievement. The real issue is whether this is a credible election. If the polls are not credible and acceptable, everyone’s participation does not matter.”
Are the administration and the law enforcement agencies under the Election Commission’s control?
In response to this question, the commissioner said the law enforcement top brass were under the commission’s jurisdiction, and only they can say how much the individual law enforcement personnel were under control.
“A national election is a massive undertaking. I will call on everyone to not go beyond the law and follow the code of conduct,” he said.