Talks between various political parties and the election commission have yielded a host of proposals. The parties have come up with several suggestions to ensure that the next national election is free, fair and credible. They have urged for stringent implementation of the election laws so that muscle and money cannot sway the votes.
Some parties have called for giving the armed forces judicial powers to ensure law and order during the elections.
The two major political parties, the Awami League and the BNP, have not had talks with the election commission as yet, but their demands and aspirations have appeared in the media. It is hoped that after concluding talks with all parties, the election commission takes tangible measures to ensure a credible and participatory election.
However, during its dialogue with the election commission, a faction of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) came up with an outrageous suggestion. It claimed that there was no need for the candidates to submit any affidavit before the election. They did not explain why there was no need for this certification. Surely the motive behind such a proposal is not a good one. Why do the candidates have to submit this affidavit? It is so that the voters, the people of the country, get to know the details of the candidate before they cast their votes.
The affidavit mainly focuses on two issues. One is the candidate’s income and expenditure, assets and liabilities. The other is the candidates past political records. If the candidate is clean, there is no need to fear submitting the affidavit. If a so-called bourgeoisie party demanded that no affidavit should be submitted, that would be understandable, given their innate characteristics. However, the party which has made such a demand is the party which claims to believe in ‘scientific socialism’.
The Supreme Court has ordered that the candidates submit their affidavits. So the election commission cannot overturn this rule until and unless the court does so. The party has unnecessarily put pressure on the election commission by raising this demand.
Rather than raising a debate over the affidavit issue, the parties should concentrate on implementing their commitments to the people. They should remember that the affidavit is not just presenting themselves before the public, it is also a look into the mirror.