Awami League General Secretary and Public Administration Minister Syed Ashraful Islam thinks that it is the right time to join politics for someone coming from the third generation of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s family and there is a probability of happening so.
He said: “Third generation of Bangabandhu’s family can certainly join politics. A new leader means new thoughts and creations, new strategies and promises.”
Syed Ashraf made the comment Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Bangla Tribune at his government residence at Bailey Road in Dhaka. Asraf was elected AL’s Joint General Secretary in 2002 and General Secretary twice in 2009 and 2012. During the reign of army-backed caretaker government, he led the movement to free Sheikh Hasina from jail when a faction of the party challenged detained Sheikh Hasina’s leadership. Former President Zillur Rahman and Syed Ashraf at that time saved AL from being divided. Prior to that, during 1996-2001 AL reign, he was the state Minister for Aviation and Tourism. He is the son of Bangladesh’s first Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam. Some excerpts of the interview are below--
Q: What new things we will see in the upcoming AL council?
A party council always means something new. It is not only about electing new leaders for a party. A council creates the opportunity of friendship between leaders and activists of different levels of the party. Everyone sees one another, can talk to one another. As a result a strong bond is created among fellow partisans.
Q: You were elected general secretary of the party twice. What achievement made you satisfied during this period?
Our party President Sheikh Hasina gave me the scope to implement my new ideas during my tenure as GS two times. That’s why I could work spiritedly. During this period there was no division inside the party. Sheikh Hasina’s leadership has been established. Space has been created to work altogether. The party now thrives politically.
Q: AL is in power for two times consecutively. What is AL’s achievement in this period? What aspects of Sheikh Hasina have been accepted by the people?
Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, positive politics and her commitments to the nation have been appreciated by the people. That’s why the party came to power two times at a stretch. The country’s economy has progressed. Our achievements are not a few. Bangladesh now is a model country in the world. Councils at ward, union, upazila, pourasava, district and city level have been held in a festive manner. AL is a more powerful organization now.
Q: What is your evaluation about politics and politicians?
Politicians come to give the country, not to take. Father of the Nation Bangbandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman struggled all through his life. He sacrificed his life along with his family. Four national leaders sacrificed their lives in jail. They did not compromise ever. During the liberation war thousands of people sacrificed their lives.
Q: Do you wish to continue your responsibility as general secretary of AL further?
It will be decided by the councillors. If will continue serving the party even if I am not elected as general secretary.
Q: Sheikh Hasina is not interested to hold the President post anymore. What is your opinion?
The party needs her as the president at least one more time.
Q: Do you have any new plan if you are elected as general secretary again?
I will continue serving the party, country and the society. It doesn’t matter if I am not elected, as a party activist I can still serve the party a lot.
Q: Your party has said that BNP has been invited to the council. Do you think they would send any representative?
BNP has been invited to our national council. We hope BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will join the Council. It will be a big positive turn in our country’s politics, if BNP joins the upcoming AL council.