AL to share 7 seats with allies, unease over independent candidates

Flag of Bangladesh Awami LeagueFile photo

The ruling Awami League has finally reached an agreement to share seven seats with their allies in the 14-Party Alliance. The Workers Party of Bangladesh and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASOD) are going to get three seats each while the Jatiya Party (JP) will get one seat.

14-Party Alliance coordinator and member of Awami League’s advisory council Amir Hossain Amu verbally informed the top leadership of the three parties about the decision on Thursday. Later, he confirmed the development to Prothom Alo.

However, the Workers Party, JASOD and JP are not satisfied with the negotiation. Besides, the independent candidates in these seven constituencies are also a major concern for them. However, there will be no Awami League nominated candidates in these constituencies. The candidates from the 14-Party Alliance will run for the polls with the boat symbol.

Also Read

Despite that, the ruling party allies in the alliance do not want any Awami League leaders competing as independent candidates in these seven constituencies. However, the ruling party does not want to drop the independent candidates from the party.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, alliance coordinator Amir Hossain Amu said, “I discussed the issue with the prime minister based on our meetings with the partners in phases. The prime minister talked about sharing seven seats. Following that, I informed the other parties in the alliance about the decision. I have nothing to say beyond that.”

Only three parties under the alliance have got the compromised seats. Sources in the ruling party say there is almost no chance of any negotiations with other parties in the alliance. The decision regarding the seat of Chattogram-2, the constituency of Tarikat Federation chairman Nazibul Bashar Maizbhandari, is yet to be finalised.

Also Read

A senior Awami League leader said Nazibul Bashar Maizbhandari’s nephew and newly formed Bangladesh Supreme Party chairman Syed Saifuddin Ahmad Maizbhandari is also contesting the poll from this constituency. However, his issue is under consideration at the top level of the party. So, the decision regarding compromising this seat will be taken later.

However, Tarikat Federation leader Nazibul Bashar Maizbhandari is still hopeful about reaching an agreement with the ruling party over this issue.

Speaking to Prothom Alo Thursday night, he said, “I believe the prime minister is sincere about all the allies.” He said he would hold a press conference today, Friday to clear his stance.

Also Read

The allies in the 14-Party Alliance got 12 seats in the general elections of 2018. Of them, the Workers Party of Bangladesh got five seats, JASOD three seats and JP got two seats. JASOD secured another seat in the by polls held after the resignation of the BNP MPs.

In all, the number of the MPs from the allies of the ruling party in the 14-Party Alliance in the current parliament is eight. Of them, JASOD general secretary Shirin Akhter and Tarikat Federation chairman Nazibul Bashar Maizbhandari are yet to secure the nomination from the alliance.

Workers Party not satisfied

Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon did not get the Dhaka-8 constituency, where has been the member of parliament contesting the elections on boat symbol for three times. Rashed Khan Menon filed no nomination paper for Dhaka and Awami League nominated its joint s secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim for Dhaka-8 constituency. The Workers Party chief filed nominations for Barishal-2 and 3 constituencies. Awami League is now leaving Barishal-3 for Rashed Khan Memon, where incumbent lawmaker Golam KIbria of Jatiya Party is also contesting the 7 January election. Besides, there are also candidates from other parties, as well as independent ones.

Workers Party general secretary Fazle Hossain Badsha got Rajshahi-2 constituency abd Mustaf Lufullah Satkhira-1. They both are the incumbent lawmaker in these seats, but independent candidates of the Awami League are contesting the elections.

Rashed Khan Menon told Prothom Alo on Friday, “We are not satisfied over this negotiation. We got two more seats in the previous election. Besides, Awami League leaders are contesting independently in the constituency where a negation has been reached, and that has become a matter of concern.”

JASOD to raise objection to Alliance chief

Awami League fielded no candidate in the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASOD) president Hasanul Haq Inu’s Kushtia-2 constituency, and ruling party informed him on Friday that the seat is for him to contest. Yet, Awami League has strong independent candidate at this seat as the party’s Mirpur upazila general secretary Quamrul Arefin is contesting the election independently, quitting the upazila chairman position.

A three-time lawmaker of JSD, Shirin Akter was not offered the Feni-1 seat. Awami League sources said he may become an MP on the reserved seat for women. Bogura-5 lawmaker AKM Rezaul Karim Tansen bagged the alliance’s nomination again. Mosharrof Hossain is contesting from Lashikmpur-4, where Awami League pulled out the party candidate but two independent candidates are still in the race. One of them is Md Abduallah, who became the MP from Awami League in 2014, and another one is Iskandar Mirza Shamim.

JP president Anawar Hossain Manju got Pijorpur-2 seat, but defeating the independent candidate Mohiuddin Maharaj, who is the general secretary of Awami League’s district unit, is his main challenge. JP general secretary sought the Dhaka-14 seat, but no avail.

JASOD president Hasanul Haque Inu said they have been given the number of seats less than their expectation. He told Prothom Alo, “We have objections and we are yet to receive a decision on the party general secretary Shirin Akther’s seat. We have informed the alliance coordinator Amir Hossain Amu about our objections and sought the appointment of prime minister on Friday.”

The JASOD president also has objection on the staying of Awami League’s candidates in the race. He said they also want assurance over victory, as well as the independent candidates of Awami League are pulled out of the race since it will be challenging to compete with these independent candidates despite they are vying in the polls on boat symbol. They, however, have no objection on other independent and party candidate, Hasanul Haque Inu added.

Meanwhile, various opposition parties and collations including Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are not joining the 12th parliamentary election and continuing to wage anti-government. As the BNP is not joining the polls, Awami League adopted the strategy to field independent candidates to make the election more competitive and increase voter turnout. The ruling party was reluctant on sharing seats with allies and partners since the nomination process began.

As the alliance partners emphasised, prime minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina met the leaders of the 14-Party Alliance partners on 4 December, which was followed by holding discussion between the leaders of the Alliance partners and the Awami League in several phases. Finally, Awami League pulled out its party candidates from seven constituencies two days before the deadline to withdraw candidacy ends on 17 December, leaving these seats for three partners of the alliance.