The ruling Awami League, facing internal feuds and misconduct among a section of its grassroots leaders, was pushed by the party’s top brass toward taking immediate measures to smooth out its problems ahead of the 11th
general polls in December of this year.
Party insiders said such disarray has tarnished the reputation and achievements of the government.
According to sources associated higher ups in the party, leaders ranging from the Awami League central working committee to those at the grassroots level are locked in internal disputes, as a result of which the party’s organizational strength is suffering.
To ensure victory in the election and reinforce the party, there is no choice but to resolve the disputes as soon as possible, its leaders stressed.
“The high command is worried about our intra-party conflicts. They have instructed all the leaders and activists concerned to resolve the issues at any cost before the election,” said Awami League presidium member Col (retd) Faruk Khan.
Party insiders said Awami League-blessed candidates lost the just-concluded SCBA polls due mainly to their inner conflicts. Some of the Awami League’s candidates also suffered defeat for the same reasons in recent elections and by-elections to 133 local government bodies across the country, they added.
BNP-allied lawyer’s body Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Oikya Panel won the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) elections in March, taking 10 of the 14 posts, including the ones of president and general secretary. The remaining four went to the pro-Awami League Sammilita Ainjibi Samannay Parisad.
On Saturday, during a meeting of members of Awami League’s central working committee at party chief Sheikh Hasian’s official residence Ganabhaban, senior leaders discussed the polls results and expressed concerns over the growing disputes among leaders and activists at the grassroots level.
Its general secretary Obaidul Quader Quader said their party might suffer significantly in the election if they fail to address the concerns on time.
At the meeting, Sheikh Hasina formed a five-member probe body, headed by presidium member Kazi Zafarullah, to find out the causes of defeat in the SCBA polls.
Zafarullah told the Dhaka Tribune that they were asked to submit their investigation report within two weeks.
Hasina also asked her party’s general secretary Obaidul Quader to make a list of those leaders who rebelled at the high command’s decisions and stood against party- nominated candidates in elections to the local bodies, said a central working committee member, who was present at the meeting.
Upon receipt of the list, the top brass will take strict punitive measures against the defiant leaders in an attempt to discipline others and to send the message that they too will face similar action, including expulsion, if they violate party rules, Quader said.
The high command also asked leaders to tour across the country to resolve conflicts among grassroots-level leaders and lawmakers.
Talking about the magnitude and severity of intra-party conflicts, an organizing secretary said their organizational structure in Dhaka had already broken down as presidents and general secretaries of the party’s two units in the city were not cooperating with each other.
Top brass fear bad consequences
According to Awami League’s senior leaders, numerous aspiring candidates vying for nominations have engaged in infighting, and, due to disputes among leaders, Awami League faces challenges in securing candidates for the polls. Also, there is a possibility that those left in the cold may contest as renegades and take bites out of the party’s vote bank, they added.
The party’s joint general secretary Abdur Rahman, also a member of the probe committee, admitted that their strength is on the wane due to inner disputes.
“We are optimistic that we will be to solve the issues before the election. If any leader refuses to comply with the party’s decisions, the centre will take strict actions against them for the sake of discipline.”