Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Thursday said holding generation elections under a party government is the only solution although it is difficult to do so.
He made the remark while addressing a function titled “RFED Talk with KM Nurul Huda” arranged by Reporters Forum for Election and Democracy (RFED) at Nirbachan Bhaban here.
Nurul Huda said there is a difference between holding elections under a party government and holding elections under a military government during an emergency period.
“The Shamsul Huda Commission was lauded. The then environment…the situation was like the state of emergency. The election was held with the blessings of cantonment. However, this situation did not enable the democratic environment,” he said.
Mentioning that democracy allows open environment, the CEC said elections could not be held at gun point while it requires open environment.
“There will be mistakes; there will be conflicts; there will be debates; there will be processions; there will be meetings like the present situation is going on. This is the environment (of democracy),” he said.
Nurul Huda said now elections are being held in political atmosphere and it is difficult to hold those but it is possible. “We have to go through it (the present situation),” he added.
Responding to a question, he said the “allegation of holding voting at night” in the 11th parliamentary elections was not true at all.
None, including candidates, did not submit any allegation to the Election Commission to this end, the CEC said even no one went to court with this allegation. “As a result, taking votes at night time is merely an allegation,” he added.
He said Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder always criticises the Commission as the Sujan secretary did not get personal benefits from it.
“After I took charge of the Commission, he (Badiul) came to me several times to work with us. He criticised the Commission for not giving him the chance to work,” Nurul Huda said.
Highlighting different activities and programmes carried out under his Commission, he said over 7.6 crore smart cards were prepared and of those, about five crores have already been distributed.
“Many legal rules of the EC have been translated into Bangla. Voter lists have been updated at various levels,” he said.
Claiming that the Commission did not feel any pressure from political parties in discharging its responsibilities, Nurul Huda said: “We were able to work as per our will. It is not possible for the EC to control clashes and violence in elections unless the candidates become tolerant.”
Replying to another query, he said the use of cent percent Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) would not be possible in the next general election, but 50 percent of those could be used.
The CEC said he did not claim that he is cent percent successful during his tenure as the head of the Commission in the last five years but there was no lack of sincerity.
Chaired by RFED president Soma Islam and moderated by its general secretary Kazi Jebel, the meeting was attended, among others, by EC Secretariat secretary Humayun Kabir Khandaker and EC Secretariat joint secretary (Director Public Relations) SM Asaduzzaman.