Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder boycotts EC meeting

Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder boycotts EC meeting

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Dhaka, Oct 15 – Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder yesterday once again boycotted the 36th Commission meeting after giving a note of dissent as he was not allowed to talk on his five-point proposals. In his note of dissent, he wrote, it is his constitutional rights the freedom of speech and freedom of expression and the Election Commission (EC) cannot curb it.
While leaving the 36th full-commission meeting at the Election Bhaban in the capital, he came across the journalists who asked him the ground of leaving the meeting.
He said he has given a note of dissent because he was not allowed to talk on certain issues of holding the 11th Parliamentary Polls.
Though Mahbub Talukder left the meeting, the other four Commissioners including Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda continued their day’s work.
Election Commission officials preferring anonymity said he wanted to talk on a five-point proposal for holding free and fair polls but he was not allowed to talk.
In his note of dissent, Talukder said I sent a note to the Chief Election Commissioner ( on Sep 18 to talk on the 36th Commission meeting on Oct 15 under the heading ‘Several proposals for holding free, fair, neutral, participatory and acceptable 11th parliamentary polls’.
In a note from the Commission Secretariat on Oct 8, I was informed that CEC has requested me to place my proposals at the 36th Commission meeting.
But three other Commissioners wrote a unique letter to the CEC requesting him not to allow me to table my proposals at the Commission meeting. The CEC also agreed with them and did not allow me to present my proposals. This position of the Commissioners have stunned and hurt me, Talukder wrote it in his note of dissent.
“Freedom of speech and freedom of expression is my fundamental rights as per the Constitution. The EC cannot curb this right in any way.
Under these circumstances, I am giving the note of dissent against the Commission decide to boycott the meeting as a protest,” he added.
His proposals include deployment of Army, participatory polls, neutrality in elections, EC’s capacity building and dialogue with the government and the opposition.
About army deployment, the proposal said the role of the army has to be fixed beforehand considering how it was used in the previous elections, especially as a striking force. At least 26 political parties have demanded army deployment while three parties took their position
against it during dialogue with EC and political parties last year.
Regarding participatory polls, he said the participatory polls can stop election irregularities. Democracy will not be fully developed unless all political parties take part in elections. The Commission can sit with the political parties in this regard.
About neutrality in elections, he said the neutrality of elections depends on a level playing field. EC alone cannot neutralise members of parliament during the election. If the government is committed to hold a free and fair poll, its assistance is necessary. There are allegations
that level playing field becomes questionable when the opposition is harassed by filing cases.
About EC’s capacity building, he said EC has much power but it has also limitation while exercising it. It has been seen that during the city corporation polls, EC cannot control the law enforcing agencies. EC should see how the agencies can be controlled.
Regarding dialogue with the government, he said, the government is the major stakeholder in the parliamentary poll. Some matters are dependent on political parties or the government for holding polls. So dialogue is necessary with the government.
The Commission yesterday held another full-commission meeting after one and a half month to a discussion on the preparations of the 11th parliamentary poll. The last full-commission meeting was held on August 30.
Talukder also left the last commission meeting after giving a note of dissent for the EC’s approach on the amendment of Representation of People Order, 1972 for the introduction of
electronic voting machines in the national elections.
After that meeting, he told the journalists that the EC should not impose EVMs hastily and should consult with the political parties the main stakeholders of the EC. – Staff Reporter

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