The ruling Awami League grassroots leaders think nomination is tantamount to victory in the 11th general election.
Aspirants believe that this election will be like the previous one or something close to that. More than half of seats had seen uncontested winners in the 2014 polls boycotted by the BNP. The election drew criticism but it saw the Awami League return to power for a second consecutive term.
Though the ruling party’s central leaders say the upcoming parliamentary polls will be inclusive, many of the Awami League’s grassroots leaders and aspirants say they believe the general election will not be a strongly contested one.
Participation of BNP in the polls is still uncertain. This has prompted the aspirants to be more interested in securing nominations rather than reaching out to voters.
A number of the nomination seekers have said that they need to abide by many rules to secure party tickets, but do not need to follow as many rules to ensure election victory. That is why, they say, they are trying to secure nominations.
One of the aspirants said: “The Awami League is such an organization that one will not have difficulty in winning if Sheikh Hasina gives you the nomination. This time the election will not be hotly contested. So, I am lobbying for the party ticket.”
Another aspirant said that securing party nod to contest the polls is the big challenge. “Once you have it, then everything will follow smoothly.”
Although the number of such aspirants is large, leaders who are popular and have made sacrifices in the past for the party are continuing to approach the people to boost the party’s chances of victory. Party policymakers have stressed that those laying the groundwork will get the nomination.
Senior Awami League leaders say there are lest 3,000 aspirants who are busy lobbying for the party ticket.
Lobbying for nomination
Ruling party policymakers say that surveys by the Awami League investigation team and the government’s intelligence agencies reveal ed that most of those seeking nominations do not have a strong political presence in their localities. But that is not holding back their attempt to get the party ticket and continue lobbying.
A couple of Awami League policymakers say the party is scrutinizing nomination – seekers under the supervision of Sheikh Hasina. The scrutiny has revealed that most of the aspirants are in a weak political position in their localities, but are strong at lobbying.
“Awami League President Sheikh Hasina has been saying that the election will be inclusive. She will not take responsibility of securing victory for others, like on January 5, ,” says Mahbubul Alam Hanif, the party’s joint general secretary.
He continued: “The candidates will have to win on their own merit. They will have to work in their localities and reach out to the people. Those who are not working on Sheikh Hasina’s words will not get the party ticket. To get the nomination, one will have to create a space for themselves.”
Awami League Presidium Member Abdur Razzak said that the party chief has a list of nomination – seekers who are busy lobbying instead of working in their areas.
“One must have a strong political presence to get the party ticket,” he says. “It is impossible to get the nomination through lobbying only .”
Kazi Zafarullah, another presidium member, has concurred, saying that the party chief has taken an uncompromising position on the matter.
“Sheikh Hasina has been reiterating that she will not take responsibility for anyone this time. This is her warning,” he adds.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com