'You (Awami League) alone account for 80 paisa. The combined value of Ershad, Dilip Barua, Menon and Inu is 20 paisa'
Awami League insiders claim the local rivalry between Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif and Information Minister and Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal (JaSaD) leader Hasanul Haq Inu is creating a rift between Awami League and its 1-party alliance allies at the central level.
Inu surprised many last week when he boldly claimed that the Awami League is incapable of winning general elections on its own, without the help of its allies.
Inu told a rally: “You (Awami League) alone account for 80 paisa. The combined value of Ershad, Dilip Barua, Menon and Inu is 20 paisa.
“You will not be able to go to power as long as you cannot gather one taka. The Awami League cannot go to power in a thousand years if we (the allies) do not stand by it.”
Inu’s statement sparked speculations among political parties that JaSad was unhappy with the Awami League.
The JaSad leader later told the Dhaka Tribune that he just tried to remind the Awami League leaders to be respectful to their allies.
Insiders say Inu and Hanif, both hailing from Kushtia, are engaged in a bitter power struggle in the district which is spilling over to the national level.
Their supporters have clashed several times so far. On October 6, a man was killed during a JaSad-Awami League clash in Mirpur upazila over political dominance. On June 29, ten people were injured in a similar clash in the same upazila.
Hanif declined to comment on the conflicts.
An Awami League presidium member, seeking anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that the Hanif-Inu conflict was negatively impacting the relations between the two parties.
While the Inu-Hanif rivalry is the most prominent among clashes between Awami League and its allies, there have been reports of further rifts between major leaders of the Awami League and its allies.
Sources say Civil Aviation Minister and Workers Party chairman Rashed Khan Menon has a rift with an Awami League presidium member. There is also a reported discord between Bangladesh Tariqat Federation Chairman Syed Nazibul Bashar Maizbhandari and Awami League’s Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, also Housing and Public Works minister.
Inu heads a faction of the Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal (JaSaD) while Menon is the Workers Party chairman.
Awami League leaders say resolving the differences before the next parliamentary polls will be big challenge for the ruling alliance.
In the alliance, the Awami League has 272 seats while Bangladesh Workers Party has seven, JaSaD six, Jatiya Party (JP Monju) one, Tariqat two, and Bangladesh Nationalist Front one.
Bangladesh Workers Party General Secretary Fazle Hossain Badsha claimed that the discord among the alliance members was because of ideological differences.
“There are no personal conflicts among the alliance leaders,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
A number of Awami League leaders and activists, on the other hand, have been complaining about activities of some alliance MPs. They alleged that most MPs from alliance members were only interested in lining their pockets.
Anisur Rahman Mallik, former general secretary and politburo member of Workers Party, told the Dhaka Tribune that Awami League had been “ignoring” its allies after coming to power.
Awami League Presidium Member Faruq Khan admitted that there were conflicts among the allies and said they were trying to resolve the disputes before the election.
Mohammed Nasim, the 14-party alliance spokesperson, could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.