Although new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal has promised to work for ensuring fair and beautiful elections, BNP on Tuesday said there is no guarantee that his words will be translated into actions.
"The previous Commission also delivered sweet talks initially like the current one. Then he (KM Nurul Huda) shamelessly implemented every programme and agenda of the government and snatched people's votes at night," said BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Talking to reporters at BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's grave, he also accused the Nurul Huda-led Election Commission (EC) of holding unilateral polls.
"So, there's no guarantee of his (new CEC's) words. His activities in the past suggest that he was rewarded by this government," the BNP leader observed.
He also said people do not believe the current CEC who got so many rewards from the government will be able to hold a free and fair election as the prime minister is there on his head.
Earlier in the day, Rizvi together with the members of the newly formed committee of the Dhaka city unit of Jatiyatabadi Samajik Sangskritik Sangstha (Jasas) paid homage to Zia by placing wreaths at his grave.
Kazi Habibul Awal who took over on Monday (28 February) sought cooperation from all political parties in holding a fair and credible election.
He also said a consensus among political parties is needed for holding free and fair elections. "I'll humbly request all to join elections to restore the democratic process. We'll try to give the nation a beautiful election."
On Saturday, President Abdul Hamid appointed retired senior secretary Awal as the CEC and made four others – former district and sessions judge Rashida Sultana, Brig Gen (retd) Md Ahsan Habib Khan, former EC secretary Md Alamgir, and former energy and mineral resources division senior secretary Anisur Rahman – election commissioners.
As his attention was drawn to the new CEC's eagerness to invite BNP to a tea party, Rizvi said their party joined the tea party of previous CEC KM Nurul Huda where he promised to not use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the polls.
"But he used EVMs in the elections at the behest of the prime minister and held the day's voting at night, he alleged.
The BNP leader also alleged that the government constituted the new EC with persons who hold the spirit of Awami League.
"This Election Commission and search committee are nothing but a farce. They served under the Prime Minister who also promoted them in the past. So, their past activities don't support that they would go beyond the PM," he observed.
Rizvi said a non-partisan government is the only guarantee of a free and fair election.