In the context of repeated pronouncements from the party president and the general secretary, a number of former leaders of the Awami League student wing have started campaigning hard to get the party’s ticket in the next general elections.
Former Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders, many of whom now hold good positions within the party, are vying for the positions held by seasoned party leaders.
For some time Awami League’s top leadership has been searching for what it calls “dynamic young leaders with popular and clean images” to nominate them for the 11th parliamentary elections, party insiders told the Dhaka Tribune.
They said for various political and strategic reasons, in particular because Awami League’s rivals BNP is very likely to contend the polls this time, Awami League wants to nominate some new faces in several constituencies where incumbent lawmakers are inactive, unpopular or have become controversial for their misdeeds.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the party’s president, has lauded the performance of the younger incumbent lawmakers and said that more young and dynamic candidates would get party tickets in the coming elections.
Awami League General Secretary and Road Minister Obaidul Quader has said on different occasions that the aspirants’ engagement with the grassroots, involvement with the public and their popularity will be the criteria based on which nominations will be given out the next time. The party will hold surveys to assess MPs in this criteria, he has said.
The Dhaka Tribune earlier reported that Awami League was planning to drop at least 40 to 50 incumbent lawmakers from the next national elections for their controversial activities, unsatisfactory performance and distance with the party grassroots.
So, the former Chhatra League leaders have become quite active and are campaigning to raise their popularity, highlighting their activities and contributions for the party during various crises, aiming to achieve favourable survey reports and getting party tickets.
They are also trying to gain connections with Sheikh Hasina’s political office at Dhanmondi and official residence Gonobhaban, sources said.
Dr Mustafa Jalal Mohiuddin, former Chhatra League president and Awami League lawmaker in ninth parliament, will seek nomination again for Dhaka 7 constituency for the 11th national polls, although he was beaten by independent candidate Haji Mohammad Selim in the 10th parliamentary elections.
Former Chhatra League president Liakat Shikder will seek nomination for Faridpur 1 constituency, where Awami League Joint General Secretary Abdur Rahman is the existing lawmaker.
Former Chhatra League leader and Awami League Organising Secretary AKM Enamul Haque Shamim is expecting nomination from Shariatpur 2. The incumbent lawmaker is former deputy speaker Shawkat Ali.
Former Chhatra League president Bahadur Bepari will seek nomination from Shariatpur 3 constituency. Late national leader Abdur Razzak’s son Nayeem Razzak is the incumbent lawmaker there.
Former Chhatra League leader Sohel Rana Tipu is trying to beat senior lawmaker Zillul Hakim of Rajbari 2. However, locals say there are no alternatives to Zillul, who is also the president of the local party unit.
Several Awami League grassroots leaders and activists have also alleged that Tipu is opposing Zillul Hakim with the backing of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami.
Former Chhatra League vice-president Golam Sorwar Kabir is expecting nomination from Munshiganj 1, where Sukumar Ranjan Ghosh is the existing lawmaker.
Ex-Chhatra League president Mainuddin Hasan Chowdhury will seek nomination for Chittagong 15 constituency. Awami League Deputy Press and Publication Affairs Secretary Aminul Islam Amin will also seek nomination from the constituency.
Abu Reza Mohammad Nadvi currently holds the seat.
Shahjada Mahiuddin will seek nomination from Chittagong 13 constituency, held by State Minister for Land Saifuzzaman Javed.
Former Chhatra League general secretary Mahfuzul Haider Chowdhury Roton is expecting nomination from Chittagong 6 instead of the lawmaker Fazle Karim Chowdhury.
Awami League central leader Sujit Nandi will seek nomination for Chandpur 3 constituency against the incumbent lawmaker and party’s Joint General Secretary Dipu Moni. Zahiruddin Mahmud Lipton will seek nomination from Feni 3.
Former Chhatra League leader SM Kamal Hossain will seek nomination for Khulna 3.
Former Chhatra League general secretary and prime minister’s assistant personal secretary (APS-2) Saifuzzaman Shekhor will seek nomination from Magura 1 constituency.
Badiuzzaman Sohag, the Chhatra League president from last term, expects the Awami League ticket from Bagerhat 4, against existing lawmaker Mofajjel Hossain.
Former Chhatra League acting president Shahe Alam Murad will seek nomination from Barisal 2 constituency.
Balaram Poddar will seek nomination from Barisal 3 constituency.
Former Chhatra League general secretary Ishak Ali Khan Panna will seek nomination for Pirojpur 2 constituency if Awami League will attend the polls individually.
Fourteen-party alliance leader and Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman Anwar Hossain Manju is the incumbent lawmaker from the constituency.
Former Chhatra League leader Moniruzzaman Monir will seek Awami League nomination from Jhalakati 1.
Sources said incumbent lawmaker Bazlul Haque Haroon of constituency Jhalakati 1 may be dropped in the next election as local grassroots leaders claim Haroon does not communicate with them and he only has connections with Jamaat-e-Islami.
Leaders of Rajapur and Kanthalia Awami League have told the party chief that Haroon must be dropped in the next election, going as far as threatening to resign.
Former Chhatra League president Mahmud Hasan Ripon is expecting Gaibandha nomination, where Deputy Speaker Md Fazle Rabbi Miah is the parliamentarian now.
Former Chhatra League general secretary and Awami League Cultural Affairs Secretary Asim Kumar Ukil may get the ticket from Netrakona 3 constituency. Iftekhar Uddin Pintu is the incumbent lawmaker.
Former student leader Shafi Ahmed will seek nomination for Netrakona 4 constituency against incumbent lawmaker Rebecca Momin.
Awami League Organising Secretary Ahmad Hossain may get nomination for Netrakona 5 constituency. Waresat Hussain Belal has represented the constituency last two times.
Former Chhatra League acting president and Awami League central leader Marufa Akhter will seek nomination for Jamalpur 5 constituency.
The former student leaders in Rajshahi and Sylhet are not yet active.
When contacted, Awami League Presidium Member Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan told the Dhaka Tribune that the party had not yet decided who gets the party tickets in the next polls.
In reply to a query he said: “Awami League is the largest and oldest party in the country. The party has a large number of qualified leaders, activists and supporters. So, it is only natural that new faces will emerge in every national polls.”
Presidium Member Abdur Razzak said party chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had already declared in the party’s national council that new leadership would be picked.
He said during the nomination process, the party will prioritise qualified young, honest, popular, well-educated and grassroots-involved politicians based on survey reports and opinion polls.