The rift between the Election Commission Secretariat and the four election commissioners has widened further centring alleged irregularities in appointment of employees and the commissioners’ jurisdiction over the EC secretariat’s operations.
At a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda yesterday, the commissioners alleged that the secretariat officials are trying to stir up arguments with them over the secretariat’s operations and “irregularities” in the recent appointment of 340 EC staffers.
The commissioners -- Mahbub Talukder, Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam, and Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury -- read out written statements at the meeting.
An unscheduled discussion took place on the EC secretariat’s answer to the commissioners’ unofficial note seeking information on its functions and their jurisdiction over those.
The CEC had approved the secretariat’s answer that was sent to the commissioners on December 9.
Earlier on November 24, the commissioners sent the unofficial note to the CEC, alleging that they had not been informed of the recent appointments of employees, financial issues, and other activities of the secretariat.
This was a violation of the constitution, the Representation of the People Order 1972, Election Commission Secretariat Act 2009 and related rules, they mentioned in the note.
“We read out our written statements… There will be further discussions on the issue,” Rafiqul told this correspondent after the meeting.
EC Senior Secretary Md Alamgir said they had replied to the unofficial note of the four commissioners. He, however, declined to give details of yesterday’s discussions.
“It is confidential,” he said.
An EC official, who attended the meeting, told this newspaper that the commissioners came down heavily on secretariat officials, alleging that they gave false information in their December 9 answer.
In written statements, two of the commissioners said the EC secretariat officials lied that the CEC and the commissioners had recommended several candidates for appointment as EC employees.
In the answer, secretariat officials mentioned that the recommended candidates were expelled during vivas as they sent proxy examinees to appear for them.
“It is an attempt to demean the commissioners and is aimed at hiding the fact that the rules and regulations were not followed properly during recruitment,” read the statement of one of the commissioners.
The Daily Star has obtained copies of the two commissioners’ statements.
Another commissioner said the EC secretariat’s comment that the commissioners had recommended candidates for appointment was humiliating for the commissioners and raised questions about their authority.
“It will be tough for the commissioners to carry out their responsibilities properly unless the issues of secretariat’s arbitrariness and falsehood were addressed.”
“It is desirable that the Election Commission, a constitutional body, operates in line with the constitution and laws. The chief election commissioner will take the Election Commission forward, maintaining amicable relations with the commissioners,” mentioned the commissioner.
The CEC did not respond to the commissioners’ statements. He said he would sit with them soon to discuss the matters, meeting sources told this correspondent.
Earlier on November 25, Mahbub had locked horns with EC Secretary Md Alamgir over the EC secretariat’s operation and alleged irregularities in the appointment of employees.