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Awami League seeks campaign advantage as BNP distracted by lawsuits, trials

  • Published at 02:00 am February 12th, 2018
Awami League seeks campaign advantage as BNP distracted by lawsuits, trials
As the ruling Awami League spends a busy time showcasing their development projects to the voters, its arch political rival BNP is searching for ways to save its top brass from years of imprisonment. Insiders from the ruling party, preferring to be anonymous, told the Dhaka Tribune that the Awami League’s strategy to win the next election is to keep the BNP leaders weakened with cases and legal proceedings. Hundreds of BNP leaders, from grassroots to the central command, are wanted by the police or currently incarcerated in cases filed on different charges. Several sources from the Awami League believe that the BNP has become destabilized, as it leaders are too busy dealing with cases to remain politically active. Ruling party leaders, belonging to the policy making-level, have stated that the BNP has become even weaker following the conviction of its Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, and her son Tarique Rahman in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. “Many other BNP leaders would eventually be convicted in cases filed against them. This will give the Awami League an opportunity to conduct the election campaign without any hassle, and the party would win the next general polls by a huge margin,” claimed the leaders. On February 8, a special court sentenced Khaleda Zia to five years of imprisonment, and BNP leaders are now busy formulating a strategy to save her from incarceration. In the meantime, the Awami League is conducting its election campaign in full swing. A presidium member of the Awami League, preferring to be anonymous, told the Dhaka Tribune: “BNP is a party comprised of corrupt people and party activists have already lost their faith in the leadership. Our aim is to further weaken BNP before the upcoming general election.” On January 30, Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina started formal election campaign from Sylhet, where she urged people to vote for the boat symbol. During her visit, Sheikh Hasina addressed a public meeting there, calling upon the people from all corners of the society to vote for Awami League, so that development activities can be continued. She expressed optimism that under the Awami League government, Bangladesh will turn into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041. After the Sylhet tour, Sheikh Hasina also visited Barisal, where she inaugurated a total of 89 development projects located in Barisal and Patuakhali, including newly-established “Sheikh Hasina Cantonment”. In a public rally there, she called upon the locals to vote for her party. On February 22 and May 3, the prime minister will visit Rajshahi and Khulna as part of the ruling party’s election campaign, where she will inaugurate nearly a hundred development projects to impress voters, said Awami League sources. Apart from Sheikh Hasina’s tours across the country, the ruling party has also launched its countrywide pre-election organisational tours from January 26. “Awami League has formed 15 teams that already visited several districts and will visit the remaining districts as soon as possible,” Abdus Sobhan Golap, office secretary of Awami League and special aide of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the Dhaka Tribune. “The delegations, comprised of advisors, presidium members and central leaders, will hold mass meetings, rallies, and workers’ meetings in district and upazila levels, as part of the election campaign,” Golap added. Addressing the matter, Awami League presidium member Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya said: “During the organizational tours, our aim will be to minimize internal conflicts and highlight the government’s developmental activities in an effort to woo the voters.”