• Thursday, December 18, 2014

Freedom in the air

AL eyes new leaders

Plans to hold special council after upazila polls

Partha Pratim Bhattacharjee

The ruling Awami League is considering holding a special council right after the upazila parishad elections to include fresh faces in its high command and strengthen party network countrywide.
The party held its last (19th) triennial central council on December 29, 2012, which is to expire on December 28, 2015.
But this year, after the January 5 parliamentary elections, which the BNP-led alliance boycotted, the Awami League policymakers feel the need for focusing on strengthening the AL network from top to bottom.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the party president, has recently spoken for holding the council after the upazila elections, said highly placed sources in AL, adding that its General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam had already discussed the matter with some party leaders.
The upazila parishad polls, slated to begin on February 19, may be over in March or April.
Party insiders told The Daily Star that through the 20th council the AL president might go for a major reshuffle in the party as she did in the AL-led cabinet.
In the reshuffle, poor-performing leaders and leaders with corruption allegations against them may be ousted from the party central committee.
Awami League presidium member and Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury told The Daily Star that the special council was being planned to reorganise the party. She also hinted at a major reshuffle among the party leadership.
Sources said when the special council is over AL would go for the district-level council. As the grassroots are busy with upazila polls, the party high-ups think it is not the time to hold the district councils, they added.
Meanwhile, tenures of 61 out of 73 organisational district committees of AL expired long ago. The new central committee would be tasked with completing the district councils.
The last and the current committees could hold councils of Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachhari, Dhaka city, Chittagong (North), Feni, Barisal district and city, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Rangpur city.
On the central council, party General Secretary Ashraful told The Daily Star, "The national election has just ended and the government has been formed. Now the parliament will go into its session. We will consider the issue when the [political] situation returns to normalcy."
Meanwhile, there has been a rumour that Sheikh Hasina is looking for a more dynamic general secretary for the party who would be able to make the grassroots more proactive.
However, party sources said Hasina might keep Ashraf in the post for the third time. Ashraf was first elected as the AL general secretary in the 18th council on July 24, 2009.
Besides, veteran leaders like Amir Hossain Amu, and Tofail Ahmed may be included in the party presidium, AL's highest policy-making body. The duo was dropped from the presidium at its 2009 council allegedly for their roles during the January 11, 2007, changeover.
At present two posts of the presidium are vacant. One became vacant after the last council while the other after Syeda Zohra Tajuddin passed away.
The 19th council of AL witnessed no major reshuffle in the party, but the 18th did.
In that, the party aiming to bring dynamism in the central committee injected many fresh faces and dropped high-profile leaders, including Amir Hossain Amu, late Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Abdul Jalil, Mukul Bose, Saber Hossain Chowdhury and Mohammad Mansur Ahmed. However, the young leadership have apparently failed to meet that expectation.

 

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, January 23, 2014

Last modified: 8:42 pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

TAGS: National Election new leaders Al new leaders upazila polls January 5 parliamentary elections

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