A number of Awami League leaders and activists are complaining about the activities of some ruling alliance parliamentarians as the party gets ready for the next election, eyeing a third consecutive term in office.
Several central leaders of the Awami League have claimed that the alliance MPs’ “failure to serve the people” was in fact tarnishing the ruling party’s image.
Most of these parliamentarians from the Awami League-led alliance are only interested in lining their pockets, several district level leaders have alleged to the Dhaka Tribune.
Awami League has 272 seats in the 10th parliament with its allies occupying another 17 seats. The Workers Party of Bangladesh has seven, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal has six, Jatiya Party (JP Monju) has one, Bangladesh Tariqut Fedaration has two, and Bangladesh Nationalist Front has one.
In the last election, the Awami League allowed the Workers Party a free run on the Satkhira-1 constituency, with Mustafa Lutfullah winning the seat.
Local Awami League leaders and activists said the Workers Party got the seat as a member of the alliance even though there were other deserving candidates in the ruling party.
“Mustafa Lutfullah does not work for the people. He only thinks about personal gain,” alleged Satkhira’s Awami League unit Organising Secretary Foroz Kalam Shurvo.
Shuvro hoped his party would not give up the constituency in the next polls, which are due to be held by early 2019.
Along with Shurvo, local Awami League leaders Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Laila Parveen Senjuti, Kamruzzaman Shohag, Firoz Ahmed Shawpon and Sheikh Nurul Islam are also trying to get the party nomination.
Meanwhile, the ruling party’s Patuakhali district unit has expressed its discontent with ABM Ruhul Amin Howlader, the Jatiya Party MP from Patuakhali-1 constituency.
No Awami League candidate contested the seat in the last election in 2014, when Howlader defeated independent candidate Shafiqul Islam. Howlader had also served as the civil aviation minister in the all-party election-time government.
However, Awami League activists have alleged that Howlader illegally seized government land, canals as well as land belonging to minority communities after the ruling party helped him win.
His activities were damaging the image of the government and the Awami League, the activists claimed, adding that they wanted to see a parliamentarian from their own party in the next election.
Awami League Central Working Committee’s Information and Research Secretary Afzal Hossain, and the party’s district unit chief and former state minister Shahajan Mia, are the strongest contenders for nomination from the seat.
There is a similar undercurrent of discontent among Awami League activists in constituencies where the ruling party stood aside for Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Workers Party and Tariqat Federation.
However, Anisur Rahman Mallik, former general secretary and politburo member of the Workers Party, told the Dhaka Tribune that Awami League had been “ignoring” the alliance members after coming to power.
Awami League Presidium Member Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Faruq Khan, MP, admitted that there were discord between activists of the ruling party and its alliance members at the grassroots level.
Tariqat Federation Joint Secretary Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandari told the Dhaka Tribune: “There are some disputes among the [14-party alliance] members as their ideologies are different but there are no major conflicts among us.”
Faruq Khan said they were trying to resolve the problem so that the activists of the alliance could work together.
Awami League presidium member and 14-party alliance convenor Mohammed Nasim could not be reached for comments for this article despite repeated attempts.