Awami League leaders and activists in Khulna city and district have been preparing for the upcoming national election slated to be held in January next year.
Talukder Abdul Khaleque, who is at the helm as president in the Khulna city unit Awami League for two decades, is the only option. Everything runs in accordance with this instruction.
On the other hand, Sheikh Harun-or-Rashid, who has held the post of district Awami League president for three decades, is not able to run party activities as before.
Against this backdrop, the district Awami League committee is rife with conflict rather than coordination.
There are conflicts and rivalries among the leaders and activists of Khulna BNP unit too. The conflict between old and new leadership of Khulna city has intensified. Amid such disarray, leaders faced with dozens of cases, are in the movement against the ruling party.
No coordination in city, disarray in district
Prothom Alo has talked to 10 leaders and activists of Khulna city and district Awami League about the condition of the party, organisational activities and plans for the upcoming national election.
They said both the units have started preparing to make Awami League victorious in the next election. However, there is a lack of coordination in the district committee.
There are five thana units and 36 ward units in Khulna city Awami League. Except in the Sadar thana, committees have been formed in all thana and ward units. Party activities are going on independently in the thanas and wards.
There are nine upazilas and two municipalities and 68 unions in the district. District Awami League had been able to form committees only in Dacope and Batiaghata upazila through council in February. The full committees of those two units have not yet been constituted. In the case of the others, the party had declared the dates of councils, but then had to cancel these.The district Awami League has decided that committees will not be formed ahead of the next parliament election.
I run the organisational activities of a party. There is democracy in the party. All discharge their respective duties. Everyone has to work in accordance with the instructions of high-ups. There is no matter of unilateral directives. I say the right thing and that is why everyone complies
District Awami League leaders and activists said upazila and municipality committees are not being formed due to feuds between the presidents and general secretaries, objections from local members of parliament and lack of sincerity of the current leaders.
Party sources said apparently there is no conflict in Khulna city Awami League. President Talukder Abdul Khaleque is all in all. The leaders and activists carry out his orders. But the conflict between district Awami League president Sheikh Harunur Rashid and general secretary Sujit Adhikary is an open secret. The leaders and activists are sharply divided due to their conflict.
When an attempt was made to take comments of Sheikh Harunur Rashid over phone, he didn't receive the call.
However, district general secretary Sujit Adhikary said the president is very old. He can't deliver responsibilities as before. He still wants to do everything. Although there are differences of opinion, there is no conflict.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Talukder Abdul Khaleque said, "I run organisational activities of a party. There is democracy in the party. All discharge their respective duties. Everyone has to work in accordance with the instructions of high-ups. There is no matter of unilateral directives. I say the right thing and that is why everyone complies."
Khulna BNP split in conflict
Conflict in Khulna BNP turned so extreme a few years back that both factions would separately observe different programmes of the centre.
The old conflict between former president Nazrul Islam and the current leadership has surfaced again. Programmes and counter programmes are being thrown for the last couple of days.
At the time of intensifying the anti-government movement, internal conflict among the leaders has an impact on the activists.
The activists are also afraid of cases, harassment and arrest by police centering the political programmes.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, city BNP member secretary Shafiqul Alam said Khulna BNP is much stronger despite cases and police harassment. There are over 90 cases against him. Many BNP leaders are facing 25 to 60 cases.
The BNP leader said around 10,000 leaders and activists are accused in city and district units of BNP. The leaders and activists have to spend half of every day appearing at the court.
Party sources said Khulna city and district BNP is being run by party central student affairs secretary Rakibul Islam and National Executive Committee information affairs secretary Azizul Bari Helal.
On 9 December 2021, a three-member partial committee of Khulna city BNP was formed with Shafiqul Alam alias Mona as the convener. The other two members are senior joint convener Tariqul Islam and Shafiqul Alam alias Tuhin as member secretary.
Nazrul Islam, who was Khulna city BNP general secretary and president for 28 years, was not included in the committee. Later, he was removed from the post of central organisational secretary. Around five hundred leaders and activists, who are followers of Nazrul, resigned. After three months, a full convening committee of 71 members was formed. Followers of Nazrul Islam were not included in the committee.
Ward and later thana convening committees have been formed through voting. There was no scope of preferences or personal opinion. We have just approved it
BNP former central organising secretary Nazrul Islam said, "Popular, dedicated and tested leaders and activists of Khulna BNP are with us. We don't want to observe separate programmes. But leaders and activists want to join various party programmes. We hope the centre will resolve the issue of Khulna."
When asked about the matter, member secretary Shafiqul Alam said, "Ward and later thana convening committees have been formed through voting. There was no scope of preferences or personal opinion. We have just approved it."
Meanwhile, several leaders of district BNP said there are 8,000-10,000 cases against their leaders and activists. Besides, district BNP is being split due to internal conflict. In April, district top two leaders declared five full convening committees out of nine upazilas and two full municipality convening committees, resulting in 'revolt' in the party.
Leaders of Paikgachha, Chalna municipality, Dumuria, Koyra and Batiaghata at a press conference demanded that the committees be dissolved.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print and online editions, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam