Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, who faced widespread criticism over elections marred by violence and anomalies, on his last day in office claimed he successfully completed all his responsibilities.
"I have worked hard to perform all of my duties," he said in a press briefing on Monday.
"I faced huge challenges during my five-year tenure. However, I successfully completed my responsibilities," he added.
The five-member election commission headed by Nurul Huda was appointed on 15 February 2017. The other members were Mahbub Talukder, Kabita Khanom, Rafiqul Amin and Shahadat Hossain. Their tenure ended on Monday.
The outgoing chief election commissioner considered his commission a success.
"We arranged 6,690 elections, for which we had to work beyond the routine. Besides, we developed many rules, including the Representation of the Public Order," he told the event.
However, elections under the outgoing commission have been widely criticised by different political parties and eminent citizens of the country. Some among them believe the commission has been a failure, saying it destroyed the overall election system.
Immediately after the commission's takeover, the opposition BNP and its allies raised questions about the appointment of Nurul Huda as chief election commissioner. The debate continued for the next five years.
Except for some local government polls, all the elections under the commission came under criticism. Even commission officials themselves raised questions.
The election commission also failed to make the 11th national parliamentary election free and fair. Several political parties at the time alleged that ballot boxes were filled with boat-symbol-cast ballots on the night before voting day. In many centres, ballot papers ran out within a moment of vote casting, voters were forced to cast votes openly, and many were not allowed to enter polling centres, they claimed.
Since then, civil society and opposition parties have been blaming the commission for the irregularities. In the recent union parishad polls, more than a hundred people were killed. The commission did not take any responsibility for the disturbances.
However, only the recent Narayanganj City Corporation election has remained beyond criticism.
At the press conference, Nurul Huda termed the issues related to lapses on the part of the EC as silly. "There were some failures, simultaneously with successes in the five years of our journey."
"We failed to achieve the confidence of some political parties. However, we are not ashamed… Some small mistakes were made."
He further said his commission had trained 24,881 people involved in polling activities, especially on electronic voting machines (EVM).
"Ensuring the use of EVMs was a big challenge but we could do that successfully. Besides, the process of issuance of national identification cards was simplified. The treasury has been enriched", said Nurul Huda.
Outgoing election commissioners Kabita Khanom and Rafiqul Amin were present at the briefing, while Shahadat Hossain was absent owing to his illness. Outgoing senior election commissioner Mahbub Talukder did not take part in the briefing though he was in his office. Later, he separately talked to the media.