Rivalries for AL tickets deepen in dists as polls near

Hasan Major

7Intra-party conflicts, frustration and rivalries for party tickets to contest the next general elections is currently dominating the ruling Awami League at district and upazila levels, the party’s senior leaders have observed during their recent tour of organisational districts.
Fifteen teams of the party’s central leaders visited districts and upazilas to make an assessment of its organisational strength and performance and popularity of the incumbent lawmakers as well as aspirants for the party ticket to contest the polls.
The central leaders witnessed rivalries over nomination and intra-party feuds as well as frustration among leaders and activists who felt they had been deprived of benefits from the party.
They also found a huge communication gap between leaders and activists and ministers and lawmakers in different constituencies as well as waning popularity of the incumbent lawmakers in their respective constituencies.
‘There are fierce rivalries over the party nominations in many places. We have also witnessed intra-party feud and dissatisfaction among the party men,’ said a senior AL leader, who was in the team that visited some districts of Khulna division.
The leader preferring anonymity said that a majority of the grassroots leaders and activists had expressed their dissatisfaction over the performance of the sitting lawmakers and their isolation from the party men as well as local people.
AL presidium member Mohammad Nasim, who visited different north-western districts, told New Age that during the visits the team had witnessed rivalries among the leaders over the party nominations for the polls.
‘We have held talks and meetings with the local leaders and managed to have some of the rivals settle their disputes,’ he said, adding, that the AL had more than one aspirants for nomination in most of the constituencies which led to the competition.
Nasim said the teams which had completed their grassroots tours would submit reports to the party chief Sheikh Hasina by the second week of October.
‘The reports will detail what we have witnessed and the problems we have found and make suggestions to settle the problems and revamp the organisation at grassroots,’ he added.
A team member preferring anonymity said that they had found that most of grassroots leaders were unaware of the government’s successes. We also found many of them inactive.’
‘We have informed the prime minister of the situation and she has already taken some special measures to encourage the grassroots leaders and let them know about the government successes,’ he said.
AL organising secretary BM Mozammel Haque, who coordinated the tour of seven organisational districts, told New Age that there was gap and mistrust among the grassroots leaders. ‘We are trying to persuade the rivals settle the disputes,’ he said.
Mozammel, also a lawmaker, termed the rivalries over nomination as ‘competition’ and said that there were many aspirants for the party tickets in all constituencies.
A member of team that visited Chittagong said that they had witnessed fierce rivalries among the senior leaders in Chittagong. ‘Our efforts to deal with the problems failed.’
A member of team which visited northern districts said most of nomination aspirants had lodged complaints against each other with the team.
AL insiders said that Sheikh Hasina would herself deal with the issues of nominations while assigning senior party leader to tackle other problems.
Central leaders of the AL divided into 15 teams visited the districts in September to strengthen the grassroots and evaluate the performance of the sitting lawmakers in their constituencies before the next elections.
Most of the teams have completed their tour but team-14, which has been assigned to visit Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar and Habiganj districts, could not yet start the tour.

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