Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda has said it is harder to hold elections under a partisan government than at gunpoint with blessings from the cantonment – but that is the only way.
At a programme yesterday, he also trashed the allegation of holding any "night-time" election during his tenure, terming it baseless.
"Neither any candidate nor any individual ever complained regarding this to the Election Commission or to the court," he said at a views exchange meeting with journalists at the Election Bhaban in the capital.
The CEC said, "There is a difference between holding elections under a partisan government and a military-backed government. There will be criticism of any election held under a political environment."
When his attention was drawn regarding the 100% vote cast in the 11th national elections, Nurul Huda said the EC came to know the issue after the gazette notification. "No one lodged any complaints with the EC before that. That is why there was no scope to take action."
He said it is not possible for the EC to control election time violence and fighting if the candidates are not compassionate.
The CEC came down heavily on the former CEC ATM Shamsul Huda and Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (SHUJAN) Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder, whom he accused of money embezzlement.
When contacted, however, Badiul Alam denied the allegation, saying those were false claims.
All the elections under the Shamsul Huda commission were praised. But all the elections held under Nurul Huda commission except for the Narayanganj City Corporation were criticised.
Acknowledging the fact, CEC Nurul Huda said it was an emergency situation. The Shamsul Huda commission held elections with the blessings of the cantonment. But this situation does not allow the democratic system to grow. In democracy, elections cannot be seized at gun points.
Referring to the 2008 election, he said, "The situation of holding elections at gunpoint should not continue anymore. Now elections are being held in a political environment."
Recently, ATM Shamsul Huda criticised the present Election Commission, saying they could have held a fair election if they had any intention. Their performance is not satisfactory, he added.
Countering this, Nurul Huda said as a CEC, Shamsul Huda's remarks are not acceptable as the EC is one of the most complex institutions.
Nurul Huda also accused Shamsul Huda of deviating from the Constitutional obligations as he held elections after 690 days instead of 90 days.
He also accused Badiul Alam Majumder of engaging in criticism of the present EC as he did not get any work from the CEC and could not get work from him for two years.
Nurul Huda also claimed to have found irregularities involving Tk1 crore against Badiul Alam.
Regarding the criticism of 42 eminent citizens, the CEC said there should be scope for criticism. Otherwise, martial law would have to prevail there. Whatever the EC did, it did that as per the law.
Regarding Commissioner Mahbub Talukder, the CEC said the government has spent Tk30 to Tk40 lakh a year for his treatment. Yet he always tries to find flaws of meetings even before joining them and talks to the media – which the media like very much.
Search body may not be liked by all
Asked if the new EC formation law will be able to draw people's confidence, Nurul Huda said there was a need for a law and the option of a search committee system is good.
Services of the search committee can be useful. The law may not be liked by all equally.