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AL brings in new faces to lift party image

  • Published at 10:59 pm December 1st, 2019
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File photo of the Awami League central office at Bangabandhu Avenue, Dhaka Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The series of councils of AL’s associate bodies including Jubo League, Secchasebok League, Sramik League, and Krishok League also used similar techniques in picking up top leaders

The ruling Awami League has picked up four new faces with clean images to lead its Dhaka city North and South units in a bid to lift up the party image.

It’s part of a continued cleansing action of Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which she started last September, according to party insiders.

The country's oldest political party has been struggling with an image crisis since allegations of illegal activities, including running casinos in the capital, surfaced recently against some of its leaders.

As part of the present strategy of AL high-ups to remove controversial leaders from important units, a set of new faces will be picked up, they added.

The series of councils of AL’s associate bodies including Jubo League, Secchasebok League, Sramik League, and Krishok League also used similar techniques in picking up top leaders.  

The new leaders were chosen at the triennial council of the Dhaka North and South City units of Awami League at historic Suhrawardy Udyan on Saturday. 

Abu Ahmed Mannafi has been picked as the new president of Dhaka South City unit with Humayun Kabir as the general secretary. Sheikh Bazlur Rahman and S M Mannan Kochi have been made president and general secretary of the Dhaka North unit respectively.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader announced the names of the new leaders after the council sessions of both the city units. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the council as the chief guest. 

Some top leaders of the party, seeking anonymity, told this correspondent that it was very clear that Dhaka city units would get new leaders as the party chief hinted several times that she was very annoyed with some of the top city leaders' activities, including their involvement in the illegal casino trade and allegations of selling party posts. 

An organization secretary of Awami League and a member of the cabinet, said: “We have got some written allegations against the outgoing North Awami League Secretary Sadek Khan and South unit Secretary, Shahe Alam Murad.”

Top AL top leaders also got some material evidence of wrongdoing on the part of these individuals, including copies of FDRs which the two leaders took in exchange for providing posts to some thana and ward unit leaders. 

The presidents of both the units--Abul Hasnat and AKM Rahmatullah-- were dropped for their inaction and age issues, he said.

AL Joint General Secretary Mahbub Ul Alam Hanif said that the changes were an ongoing process and that dedicated leaders were chosen.  

The four new  top post holders have been involved with the party for years. Both the new president and secretary of the South unit were the councillors of two wards of   South City Corporation. They also held vice president posts in the previous committee.

Humayun Kabir was a student of the Finance Department of Dhaka University. In the 80’s he served as the secretary of ward 23. From 1990 to 2016, he was the secretary of the Lalbagh Thana unit of the AL.

Previously, the party traditionally chose at least one top leader from Old Dhaka. But this time, both Mannafi and Humayun are not so called ‘Dhakaiyas.'  Mannafi is from Kishoreganj while Humayun is from Comilla.

Sheikh Bazlur Rahman and SM Mannan Kochi, the president and general secretary of Dhaka north unit respectively, have also involved with the party for a long time now. Bazlur Rahman is well known in city Awami League politics over the last two decades. 

SM Mannan Kochi, a businessperson by profession, was a popular student leader of united Dhaka city Chattra League. In the last council, he was selected as joint general secretary of Awami League's Dhaka North unit.