AL willing to leave 100 seats for allies

Anowar Hossain . Dhaka | Update:

Ruling Awami League is moving ahead with plans to hold on to 200 parliamentary seats and distribute the remaining 100 seats to its alliance partners of the AL-led 14-party fold as the party intends to begin its candidate selection from next week, say a number of senior AL leaders.

A meeting of Awami League's executive council, parliamentary party and advisory council has been called at Ganabhaban on Friday evening to discuss the government's achievements over the past 10 years and the plans of action and campaign strategy for the upcoming national election, according to AL’s policymakers. At the same time, the meeting may finalise dates to seek short lists of grassroots candidates intending to contest in the election.

Also, the ruling party is to hold meetings with its various electoral allies including Jatiya Party and religion based parties of the 14-party alliance.

AL leaders said, 11 alliance parties have recommended candidates for 143 seats in their primary lists while one of the major partners, Jatiya Party, claimed at least 80 seats.

Jatiya Party chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad visited prime minister Sheikh Hasina and sought 80 seats on 9 September.

According to party insiders, Sheikh Hasina did not promise HM Ershad anything immediately and said to decide after talking to Rowshan Ershad.

Notably, JaPa won 34 seats among 86 in 2014 national election and secured only 27 in the 2008 election.

Insiders of another major component of the AL camp, Workers Party (WP), said that the party has readied a draft list of 37 candidates from all around the country.

Workers Party will bargain to contest in 15 constituencies with Awami League, according to its leaders.

Jashod had five members of parliament, with its president Hasanul Huq Inu as information minister. The party split last year, with Inu as president of one faction and Sharif Nurul Ambia president of the other. Both factions are in the 14-party alliance, with three MPs in Inu's camp and two with Ambia. Ambia's faction has applied for registration with the election commission as Bangladesh Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, but the matter remains pending. Inu's Jashod is seeking nomination in 25 seats and Ambia in in 18. 

Meanwhile, AL is trying to incorporate religion-based parties into its camp, also endeavouring to drawn in persons from the BNP fold. AL may have to set aside few more seats for that.

AL has been holding talks with Abdul Kader Siddique-led Krishak Sramik Janata League. Also, Nazmul Huda's Bangladesh National Alliance and Abul Kalam Azad's Bangladesh Nationalist Front have asked for one seat each.

Insiders of the 14-party camp have hinted that the ruling AL has fixed its strategy based on the assumption that the principal opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party would join the election.

AL would contest in the election along with its 14-party alliance. There is to be no electoral unity with Jatiya Party or other allies if BNP boycotts the polls, they added. 

AL, however, has already finalised 100 candidates from current ministers-MPs and is planning to distribute remaining 100 seats to fresh candidates in the party.

AL chief Sheikh Hasina has made a draft list regarding this, said several AL leaders.

The final decision on seat distribution may change further until the allotment of the election symbols.

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

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