Ruling Bangladesh Awami League’s (AL's) student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League aka BCL concluded its national council session without forming a new committee.
Several BCL leaders said the organisation could not finalise its central committee as its central leadership and their guardians - AL leadership - have failed to reach consensus.
The concluding session of the two-day national council session was supposed to be held at 3:00pm at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, in the capital.
Instead, the BCL leaders were in Ganabhaban, the official residence of the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of AL, at that time.
On their return to the council session venue, the BCL leaders gathered at the adjacent Shahbagh intersection and announced that prime minister and AL president Sheikh Hasina will announce the committee later.
Amidst a high hope among the BCL leadership that AL president and prime minister Sheikh Hasina would remove the “age barrier” keeping in view the next general elections, Hasina at inaugural session on Saturday, rather said that the age limit for the BCL activists would just be raised from 27 to 28 years.
Her announcement created apparently a sense of despair among many of the aspirants for the top posts of the ruling party's student body.
Hasina's announcement has also forced the BCL leadership to find a new equation for electing its leadership.
Arifur Rahman Lemon, vice president and also chief election commissioner of the council session, on Saturday night published a list of 38 president aspirants who were excluded for being more than 28 years old.
He published another list of 14 general secretaries’ aspirants who were disqualified for exceeding the age limit.
Signed also by other two election commissioners -- Nowshed Uddin Sujon and Sakib Hasan Swim -- the list contained 66 president aspirants and 169 general secretary aspirants whose candidature was found to be valid.
But, a group of senior BCL leaders claimed that the prime minister has extended the age limit to 29 years and demanded the list be withdrawn.
They also said that though Hasina had announced on Saturday that the age limit would be 28 years for leadership, she later changed it to 29 years following request from some former BCL leaders and AL leaders.
On Sunday, the aspirants who were more than 28 years old, too, were seen busy making showdown at the Engineers' Institute and Dhaka University campus.
Several sources in current and former BCL leaders said the central leadership of AL and the BCL might take one or two more days to declare the new committee.
When contacted, forest and environment affairs secretary of AL and former BCL leader Delwar Hossain backed the claim of the student leaders, saying that the AL president has raised age limit to 29 years.
He said the committee would be declared after scrutinising the past records of the candidates.
Several sources in the BCL said leaders including vice president Aditya Nandi, member of central committee Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon, deputy legal affairs secretary Hossain Saddam, and DU unit secretary of immediate past committee Mothaher Hossain Prince, are among the strongest contenders for the posts of president and secretary.
Top posts of the student organisation of a ruling political party bear quite importance in the country’s political culture with the student body leadership having a strong influence in almost all of the affairs of the universities and colleges.
Allegations have it that the leadership of the ruling party’s student wing often earns millions of taka through various means like controlling tendering process for the construction work in the educational institutions and forming new committees for different units.