'Election Commission enjoyed full freedom during Awami League period'
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda lavished praise on the incumbent Awami League government for nine minutes before starting the dialogue on the next parliamentary polls with the ruling party.
He said the Awami League was behind all the success of Bangladesh, and that “even the Election Commission enjoyed full freedom during Awami League period.”
“Awami League has taken the country on a highway towards progress and each sector has seen development. Under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, the country has also become a middle-income country,” the CEC said in his introductory speech during the dialogue at the Election Commission’s office in Dhaka on Wednesday.
He also talked about the Liberation War of 1971, the Language Movement of 1952 and about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s contribution to Bangladesh’s independence.
Showering the prime minister with praise, the CEC said she was acting like a “mother of the earth” to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Nurul Huda also hailed Hasina for returning home from abroad in 1981 and taking the helm of the Awami League.
Huda, a freedom fighter and former bureaucrat, was made the 12th CEC in February this year.
The 1973 batch officer of Bangladesh Civil Service retired from service in 2006 after he was made an officer on special duty during the BNP-led government.
He was given the status of a secretary following a Supreme Court order in 2008, and was made secretary with retrospective effect after the Awami League came to power in 2009.
Huda also praised Prime Minister Hasina on Wednesday for her development work and claimed that his administration “enjoys more freedom” compared to the Election Commissions of many countries.
Bangladesh is scheduled to go to the polls in late 2018 or early 2019. The commission is holding talks with registered political parties to ensure that the 11th national election is credible and acceptable to all.
A 21-member Awami League delegation, led by the party’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader, submitted an 11-point proposal to the commission on the next polls.
The other members of the delegation were Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Begum Matia Chowdhury, Mohammad Nasim, HT Imam, Dr Md Abdur Razzak, Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Faruq Khan, Ramesh Chandra Sen, Moshiur Rahman, Mohammad Zamir, Md Rashidul Alam, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Dipu Moni, Jahangir Kabir Nanok, Abdur Rahman, Abdus Sobhan Golap, HN Ashiqur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud and Riazul Kabir Kawser.
Syed Ashraful Islam skipped the meeting.
On Sunday, during the Election Commission’s dialogue with the BNP, CEC Nurul Huda had lauded BNP founder, the late Ziaur Rahman, for restoring multi-party democracy in the country.
He said in 1975, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s government had introduced the one-party BAKSAL government through the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.
After Zia got elected president in 1978, the second Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament) was formed through the ballot with participation of all major parties in 1979, the CEC added.
Huda also praised BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for her leadership when she became the country’s first female prime minister in 1991 and also when she assumed office again in 2001.