Polls code needs to be reviewed: EC Secy

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 21:25, Jan 26, 2020 | Updated : 21:28, Jan 26, 2020

Election Commission (EC) Senior Secretary Md Alamgir at a media briefing on Tuesday (Jan 7).The existing electoral code of conduct, "formulated during military regimes", needs to be reviewed, says the secretary to the Election Commission.
"My opinion is, since there's a democracy now, the regulations which were made by military dictators' rules, needs to be reviewed and updated," Secretary Md Alamgir told the media on Sunday (Jan 26).
Responding to a query on violations of the polls code, the senior EC official hinted that it the definitions of violation were ambiguous.
"For instance, if supporters take out a procession, when a candidate is campaigning, how do you stop it? You [journalists] come up with measures, we will implement it," he said.
He echoed on the issue of blocking streets for campaigning. "It's true that the polls code bar such thing, but how does a popular candidate tell his supporters to not be with him?" asked the EC secretary.
Creating public suffering is "definitely an offence according to the law, but in reality it's tough to enforce it", according to him.
"But we don't let it go. What we do is warn the candidates. A violating candidate is constantly cautioned, which means there's a record of offences. Sometimes a candidate is rebuked, which does not harm but leaves him or her embarrassed," said Alamgir.
On Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar's allegations of not getting information from returning officers, he said, "The returning officers are bound to provide information if a commissioner wants, but they will inform the commission. The CEC (chief election commissioner) has to be informed first. They are not bound to provide information to a specific commissioner, rather the whole commission."
The EC secretary said he "failed to understand" Talukdar's remarks of the lacking of a level-playing field within the commission.
"The commission consists of five commissioners. They may differ on a issue, but agree after discussions. That's why the polls are being held properly. Everything is being done in line with the commission's decision."