Lobbying on for vital posts

Hasan Jahid Tusher

Hectic lobbying for a place in the next central committee of ruling Awami League has started with the close circles of re-elected party chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

At the same time, apprehension of being dropped from the committee prevails among many leaders ranking from outgoing joint general secretaries to central committee members, insiders say.

They add, immediately after Hasina reached her official residence Gono Bhaban on Saturday evening after being re-elected, several outgoing central leaders visited her aiming to get her attention. Some of the leaders spent hours at Gono Bhaban that evening.

The same leaders accompanied by others from different districts and upazilas started visiting Gono Bhaban since early yesterday. The leaders congratulated Hasina with bouquets for being re-elected as the party chief for the seventh time.

Meanwhile, re-elected AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam also went to Gono Bhaban to discuss formation of the AL Central Working Committee (ALCWC), the highest decision making body of the party.

Hasina and Ashraf were re-elected on Saturday through the party's 19th council held at the Institution of Engineers Bangladesh. The councillors have empowered the party chief to complete formation of the fully-fledged committee as per her choice.

No-one as of yesterday however could confirm as to when the committee would be announced.

Since the beginning of the council on Saturday, the topic whether the AL stalwarts like Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed and former organising secretaries Saber Hossain Chowdhury and Sultan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed would be brought back to the party dominated discussion among the grassroots leaders.

Many councillors talked among themselves at both the inaugural and council sessions about it and came up with the opinion that senior leaders should be brought back for their expertise and experience ahead of the next parliamentary election. These leaders were dropped from the party at its 18th council on July 24, 2009 for their role during the last military-backed caretaker government.

Councillor Abdur Rashid Bhuiyan from Nandail in Mymensingh said they demanded bringing back the senior leaders at the council session.

Outgoing AL Organising Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim however claimed there were no such demands from the councillors at that session.

Some of the former mid-ranked leaders known as reformists were not invited to the council. They included former organising secretaries Sultan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed, Mahmudur Rahman Manna and central leader Abu Sayeed.

Sultan, former president of Bangladesh Chhatra League, and Manna were veteran student leaders during 1980s.

Contacted, both Sultan and Manna said they did not get any invitation.

Talks run rife among the party rank and file that senior leaders like Amu, Tofail, Abdul Jalil, Saber and Sultan, among others, might return as members on the next committee.

Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, outgoing organising secretary, however said he does not think there is any such possibility of bringing them back.

Many of the councillors said they were happy to elect Hasina as the party chief again. They think there is no alternative to her in the party. But several councillors expressed negative views on Syed Ashraful Islam being re-elected as the general secretary.

“She is the daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She has immense potential to contribute to the country as well as the party. We are happy to have her elected again,” said councillor Abdur Rashid from Mymensingh.

However, a councillor said they would not come to the council had they known Ashraf would be re-elected. Many others echoed the same.

Source: The Daily Star