A parliament of ‘all stripes’ on AL’s mind

3 months ago 43

In a bid to make sure the next parliament looks like it has representatives from different parties, the Awami league is asking its grassroots to support several aspirants from other parties.

The ruling party first let its leaders run for parliament as independents in the January 7 national election so that the polls appear participatory and more people get out to vote. But now the AL is favouring the aspirants from other parties over the so-called AL independents, party insiders say.

As a result, some chosen aspirants from the Trinamool BNP, Kalyan Party, former BNP leaders participating as independents and Jatiya Party leaders will get the free ride to parliament, said sources, adding that these individuals otherwise stand no chance of becoming MPs.

In six constituencies, leaders of AL's ally parties are running with the AL symbol of a boat. They are competing against the "AL independents". In most of such constituencies, the ruling party has asked its grassroots to support the person who has the boat symbol.

"The 14-party leaders competing with our symbol are our candidates, and our party grassroots must work to make them win. This is our directive," an AL central committee member involved in the process told The Daily Star, wishing anonymity.

Over the last few days, AL activists in Sylhet-5 constituency were asked to campaign for Mawlana Husamuddin Chowdhury, president of a social organisation named Anjumane Al Islah, who is running as an independent.

Sylhet city AL President Mashuk Uddin Ahmed was nominated by the AL to run for parliament with the boat symbol. But he is not likely to get the grassroots support.

JP leader Shabbir Ahmed who was vying for the constituency yesterday announced quitting the race due to the "absence of a level playing field".

Same message was also carried for Sylhet-6 constituency, where former minister Nurul Islam Nahid is contesting with 'boat'. AL's Canada chapter president Sarwar Hossain is running as an independent.

But grassroots leaders were asked to work for Trinamool BNP chairperson and former BNP vice-chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury. A major part of Golapganj of AL has already extended their support to the Trinamool BNP leader.

The grassroots leaders and workers of Chakaria and Pekua that comprised Coxs' Bazar-1 constituency are working for Major General (retd) Syed Mohammad Ibrahim, expelled chairman of Kalyan Party. The candidature of AL sponsored candidate Salauddin Ahmed for the constituency was cancelled due to loan default and sitting MP Zafar Alam is contesting as AL independent.

Along with the party's grassroots' leaders and activists, Salauddin himself is working for the former military officer.

At least three Jatiya Party leaders loyal to JP chief patron Raushan Ershad are getting AL grassroots' support. They are Rustum Ali Faraji of Pirojpur-3, Mashiur Rahaman Ranga of Rangpur-1 and Ziaul Haque Mridha of Brahmanbaria-2. Of them, Faraji and Ranga are sitting MPs, while Ziaul is a former MP.

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