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Dhaka Tribune

AL struggles to finish digital database on leaders

The ruling party has been working on creating the database on all its unit leaders since its last national council

Update : 29 Jun 2019, 01:05 AM

Despite two and half years of struggle to build its database on all its leaders, the ruling Awami League is still optimistic about finishing the project. 

However, for a party whose manifesto includes building a digital Bangladesh, it has so far failed to make any headway in popularizing the concept of digitalization among its leaders. 

According to party insiders, Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during the party’s 20th national council back in 2016, instructed its higher echelon to create a digital database that would contain information on the leaders from the city, district, upazila, union, municipality and ward units of the party. 

Following the national council, Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy, the prime minister’s ICT affairs adviser and also her son, initiated the project to build the database on party leaders at all levels. 

On his instruction, the party sent out a letter to all its units across Bangladesh, asking for the leaders’ information, including passport photos and copies of their national IDs. 

The grass-roots leaders failed to respond to the first call. 

The party’s central command sent out another letter, but this time to the unit presidents and general secretaries. They did not pay heed to the reminder either. 

At a recent press briefing, the Awami League president said that, after retiring from politics, she planned to stay connected with party leaders through mobile phone apps from her ancestral home in Tungipara, Gopalganj. 

So now the top brass has sent out the same instruction for the third time – this time with a warning of strict action if the leaders did not send in their CVs immediately. 

So far, the party has received information on about 16,000 leaders only from district units, Awami League Office Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap confirmed. 

What’s causing the hold-up?

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, several party leaders said leaders in grass-roots units are reluctant to send in information on their identities due to internal feuds, and in many units the absence of fully fledged committees. 

The grass-roots leaders fear getting marked if they send in their information without having a committee – and at the risk of the rival factions filing complaints against them with the central command, the leaders said. 

Sources said the party also had plans to set up computer-equipped offices in its district units to aid building the digital database, but that plan has not seen the light of day either. 

Despite the long delay, sources say the party is gearing up to go ahead with the project, with Joy scheduled to meet with the upazila unit leaders after Eid-ul-Fitr, sources said. 

Joy is also set to send out an instruction to office secretaries in all units of the party to send in the information required for the database, after the meeting, the sources said.

At a recent divisional meeting of the Awami League in Chittagong, party Publicity and Publication Secretary and Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said the work to create the database was already in progress. 

He also urged the grass-roots leaders in all the district and upazila units within the Chittagong division to promptly send in their leaders’ information.

Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said all party units had been asked to send in the information to the party president’s political office in Dhanmondi, Dhaka.

“After the party returned to power for the third consecutive term, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the ICT adviser to the government, has resumed the project’s operations to build a digital database on the party units,” Hanif told Dhaka Tribune. 

He further confirmed that Joy indeed planned to meet with the office secretaries of all upazila units in this regard.

He also added that all of this information would be digitized and stored in a server. 

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