The Awami League has formally launched its election campaign for the next general elections, but the ruling party’s political allies which make up the 14-party platform are still in the dark about when to begin the campaign.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already declared that the 11th general election will be held in December this year.
On January 30, Prime Minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina officially started election campaign through offering prayers at the shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) and Hazrat Shahporan (R) in Sylhet. She urged people to vote for ‘Boat’ [the party’s election symbol] in the next election at a public rally there.
Hasina also visited Barisal and Patuakhali on February 8 and is scheduled to visit Rajshahi on February 22 and Khulna on March 3 as part of election campaign.
Apart from her tours, the ruling party has formed 15 delegations comprising members of advisory council, presidium and central working committee and the delegates have already begun travelling across the country. During these trips, they will hold meetings, rallies and workers’ meetings in divisions, districts, and upazilas.
The main partners of the 14-party alliance include the Awami League, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation, JaSaD (Inu), Workers’ Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal (Marxbadi-Leninbadi), Ganatantri Party, Communist Kendro, Gana Azadi League, National Awami Party (NAP-Mojaffor) Jatiya Party (JP-Manju) and Ganatantrik Majdur Party.
The 14-party alliance participated on January 5, 2014 elections in which it got 280 seats out of 300. AL allocated seven seats to the Workers’ Party, six to the JSD and two to the Tariqat Federation. The other partners of the alliance did not get any seat in the election.
Several leaders of the 14-party alliance have expressed their hope that they will start campaigning for the next polls as soon as possible.
Sources claimed that senior leaders of the alliance have already discussed the issue. They will finalise their election manifesto at a meeting with Prime Minister and head of the alliance Sheikh Hasina. The meeting will be held soon.
However, a leader from JSD, wishing anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that although the 14-party alliance leaders sit regularly they have not held any meeting with Sheikh Hasina for a long time.
“Without her (Sheikh Hasina) alliance leaders cannot take any decision about election campaign. All instructions will come from her,” he said.
The parties of the alliance have, however, started election campaign under the banner of their own parties.
“We have already started election campaign under the banners of our parties and hope to start the campaign soon with 14-party alliance after getting instruction from senior leaders,” said Mustafa Lutfullah, lawmaker from Satkhira-1 constituency of Workers Party of Bangladesh.
Workers Party of Bangladesh President Rashed Khan Menon said: “We have not discussed issues like election strategies and seat distribution for the upcoming election with the allies. Everything will be fixed after sitting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”
The social welfare minister also said that his party will demand more seats than what they were given during the 10th general elections.
Sheikh Shahidul Islam, general secretary of Jatiya Party (JP), said: “We have decided to participate in the next election under the banner of 14-party alliance.”
Awami League Joint General Secretary Abdur Rahman said: “The alliance partners will campaign individually before declaring a joint campaign.”
He said that a roadmap for the election campaign of the 14-party alliance would be declared soon and work is underway to that end.
However, Mohammad Nasim, spokesperson of the 14-party alliance was not available for comment in this regard.