AL faces enemies from within

Anowar Hossain . Dhaka | Update:

Awami LeagueThe ruling party's infighting for nomination has become a matter of major concern for the policymakers of Awami League ahead of the national elections scheduled to be held at the year end.

Aspirants for MP nomination have declared three AL members of parliament (MPs) as ‘persona non grata’ in the past 12 days in three different constituencies in Barguna and Dinajpur.

Apart from declaring MPs and ministers as ‘unwanted’, the party’s local factions are spreading rumours against one another, terming each other as criminal ‘godfathers’, ‘corrupt’ and so on.

AL central leaders have decided to send show cause notices, warn or expel the accused leaders to control the situation. Such actions would be taken soon, according to the policymakers of the party.

The conflict for nomination inside the party has been the main topic of discussion at the party's working committee meeting chaired by AL president, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday night.

Sheikh Hasina ordered show cause notices to be sent to several leaders and asked the central leaders to pay surprise visits to the areas of conflict, said some leaders who were present at the meeting in Ganabhaban.

Certain AL leaders have said that party president Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly stressed that those ahead in the survey will be given nomination.

She has been conducting surveys through various government and private agencies over the past six months and a primary list of candidates has been drawn up. The list, however, has not been made public as yet.

Yet many of the leaders are claiming to be the most likely candidates and stating that the top leadership has given them the 'go-ahead'. This has served in increase in the internal feuds.

A senior leader, on condition of anonymity, told Prothom Alo, at least 10 aspirants were trying to get the nomination in each constituency for the next general elections, prompting serious conflicts.

The way the leaders were ‘abusing’ each other would ultimately facilitate the opposition, he added.

According to the senior leader, many AL leaders are assuming that the next general elections will be a replication of 2014 ballot.

Also, they think the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) will not participate in the elections and therefore, getting nomination means becoming MP.

That is why so many aspirants are fighting for nomination, according to the leader.

The situation was almost the same during the local government elections. The infighting turned into ‘fatal’ during the elections of zila parishad, upazila parishad, pourashava and union parishad.

At least 200 leaders and activists of Awami League were killed in internal conflict from 2014 to March this year, according to a study of human rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra. Most of this killings took place due to election-related conflict.

AL presidium member and health minister Mohammad Nasim told Prothom Alo that it is alright for anybody in the party to seek nomination, but nobody is entitled to creating chaos.

“Distribution of seats among the allies of Awami League has not begun yet and the party leaders started fighting among themselves for nominations. It will eventually be a big crisis unless this is controlled right away,” said a senior leader to this Prothom Alo correspondent.

* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat

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