The precondition to a fair election is an environment conducive to the election. This environment has to be festive, free of fear and must have a level playing field for all contestants. As the elections to the two Dhaka city corporations and the Chittagong city corporation draws near, concern and apprehensions rise. This is certain not how it should be.
Politics features strongly in the non-political local government election and the present three city corporation election is not exceptions. Voters come to cast their votes if the law and order situation is under control and peace prevails. It is important to have a fair voter turnout for a fair and credible election.
The announcement of the three city corporation elections had given the people relief from the suffocating political stalemate and created an opportunity for normalcy to return to the political arena. But the attacks of Khaleda Zia’s convoy of cars wherever she went campaigning, is ruining that opportunity. It is impacting on the election environment. Neither the election commission nor the law enforcement agencies have taken any step to stop these attacks. Even though the culprits have been identified, no action had been taken against them. This has created a heated environment for the elections.
As it is, the law enforcement have to undertake additional programmes during election time and the armed forces are also deployed at times in order to give the people a sense of confidence. Army deployment was demanded for this election too and the election commission also took steps to deploy the army. This provided a sense of relief to all involved in the polls. However, within a matter of 24 hours, the EC changed its decision.
Now people’s apprehensions over the pre-election and election time law and order situation has increased. The EC should follow its previous decision and take necessary measures to deploy the army. If they can cancel their first letter to issue a second one, then surely then can cancel the second one to issue a third!