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Chhatra Dal council convenes to find new leadership

  • Published at 10:13 pm September 18th, 2019
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Worker and activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal outside of the home of party standing committee member Mirza Abbas amid load-shedding in Dhaka’s Shahzanpur on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

A total of 539 councilors from 117 unit committees of Chhatra Dal from across the country will elect the new leadership

The Central Council of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, student wing of Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), convened last night at the home of party standing committee member Mirza Abbas amid load-shedding in Dhaka’s Shahzanpur.

The council was scheduled to meet at BNP's Naya Paltan office at 8pm on Wednesday. But, power cuts in the area forced the high command to shift their program venue to Mirza Abbas's residence. 

Council proceedings started around 8:40pm with over 400 councilors of the student wing of the party.

Voting was conducted using transparent ballot boxes. 

BNP acting Chairperson Tarique Rahman joined the council on video calling platform Skype, once in Naya Paltan and then in Shahzahanpur, confirmed several councilors. 

He instructed the councilors to take proper decisions and not to be biased. Quoting Tarique Rahman, a councilor said: "Obviously the poll will be held as per procedure. You will choose your leadership, not me."

Voting was ongoing till the filing of this report around 10:30pm, and was scheduled to continue till midnight.

The convener of the election committee, Khairul Kabir Khokon, also the joint secretary general of BNP, said: "We have started the election process to choose the next leadership for the Chhatra Dal in a democratic process, overcoming all obstacles. 

"We'll start counting ballots soon after voting ends and will declare the results,” Khokon added.

Council Procedure

Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal is ready to avail new leadership by this long-awaited 6th central council after 27 years.

Although the council was scheduled to be held on September 14, a Dhaka court issued a temporary injunction blocking the national council two days before the schedule was announced for the second time.

Judge Nusrat Jahan Bithi of the Senior Assistant Judge Court 4, issued the order after recently dissolved Chhatra Dal Religious Affairs Secretary Md Aman Ullah filed a case with the court.

On June 3, BNP dissolved the Rajib-Akram committee by issuing a press release signed by its Joint Secretary General, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed.

On October 14, 2014, party Chairperson Khaleda Zia had handpicked Chhatra Dal leader Rajib Ahsan as president and Mohammad Akramul Hasan as general secretary of the 201-member committee. 

10 central committee leaderships have been nominated since the last fifth council in 1992, when Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed and Ilias Ali were elected president and general secretary of Chhatra Dal, respectively.

Tarique Rahman son of Khaleda Zia and acting chairman of the party now, instructed BNP leaders from London to arrange and convene the council.

According to sources, Tarique told BNP leaders that there was a possibility of unrest surfacing if the party nominates rather than elects leadership.

The Council is a process, by which two major  leaders (president and general secretary) of any organization are elected by the votes of councilors from across the country.  

A total of 539 councilors (except married, dead or imprisoned) from 117 unit committees of Chhatra Dal across the country would elect a new leadership for BNP's student wing.

The top five post holders including the president, senior vice president, general secretary, senior joint secretary, and an organizing secretary or equivalent leader (if ad-hoc committee) from each of the 117 units are the councilors.

In previous councils, Chhatra Dal central committee leaders were also councilors alongside the 117 unit super-fives. But this time the dissolved committee consists of 736 persons, a huge number that Tarique Rahman instructed to avoid. 

The candidates

Those who passed their Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination in year 2000 at best, and certainly completed the registration process in 1998 (regular examinee) could be valid candidates. 

The selection committee scrutinized the candidacy of the applications and pronounced 15 as valid candidates, and 30 for the general secretary post.

Following all formal procedures of withdrawal and appeal, 9 and 19 candidates vying for the president and general secretary posts respectively, were cleared for the council.