Cumilla City Corporation (CCC) election being held today is termed as an acid test for the newly formed Election Commission (EC) to gain confidence of all political parties before the next general elections. Although BNP is boycotting the polls, the immediate former CCC Mayor who was relieved from the party is contesting the election independently against the candidate of ruling Awami League. Thus the election may take shape of fierce contest between the two major parties, and all political parties and observers will keenly monitor the election to get a perception of the performance of the EC.
Currently, we are observing an impasse in our political arena. BNP once again is resorting to its once tried and failed formula - boycotting elections. It had boycotted national elections under the Awami League government in 2014. Many subsequent local government elections were also boycotted by BNP, but it turned out to be self-defeating for the party because the boycott could neither undermine the government nor generate any public support for it. Rather some of the elections BNP contested in the recent past had positive results for it. But for some strange reasons, BNP once again adopted the policy of non-participation, which we think will turn out to be counterproductive for the party.
However, it is hoped that the EC will play its due role. Apart from holding the CCC polls fairly and transparently, the EC must also take meaningful steps to bring all political parties to next general elections by creating a level playing field. The EC must also ensure that all political parties are abiding by democratic norms during election procedure. The country and the citizens deserve a competitive and fair election to exercise their voting rights.