Bangladesh Chhatra League is in trouble with its organisational units for not following democratic norms and breaking rules of its own constitution. Nearly all of its units are plagued by internal feuds and factional clashes.
Of the 101 units the pro-Awami League student body has, 81 did not hold a council over the last two and a half years to select or elect a new committee, even though its constitution says it has to be done every year since the committees' tenure is one year.
The Chhatra League constitution says the unit leaders would form the committees through consensus and if a consensus could not be reached, then secret ballots would be used.
Only two unit committees have selected its committees while key members of the remaining 18 committees were selected by Chhatra League president Bodiuzzaman Shohag and general secretary Siddique Nazmul Alam in clear violation of its constitution.
Chhatra League sources said it was being run by the diktats of Shohag and Nazmul and they were forming unit committees with people loyal to them to ensure they get to dominate the student body.
This has worsened the infighting in several of those units where the Chhatra League central picked key committee members. Units like Jahangirnagar University and Shahjalal Science and Technology University erupted in factional clashes.
The chain of command fell apart in those units.
Two factions of Jahangirnagar University unit Chhatra League were locked in a clash on March 3 leaving at least 25 students injured.
Shahjalal Science and Technology University unit managed to hold the council but could not form a committee. It had its committee members selected by Shohag and Nazmul six months after the council, resulting in factional clash breaking out the very day the committee was announced in June last year.
The Chhatra League unit there has 10 factions and eight of them claimed that the newly formed committee president and general secretary had bribed Shohag and Nazmul to get the posts.
Sources said the two top leaders of Chhatra League announced key members of the 18 unit committees without consulting the unit forum and leaders. The practice has left democratic exercise in a shambles, several Chhatra League leaders said while talking to The Daily Star.
Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University College, Begum Rokeya University, Chittagong City, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Sher-e Bangla Agricultural University, Khulna district, Kushtia district and Gazipur City unit committees were formed with members selected by the Chhatra League central.
The president and general secretary of the Jagannath University unit were also picked centrally.
Only the Dhaka district and Rajshahi University units held councils and formed their committees following proper procedures.
Contacted, Shohag said they had not received any allegation that they had violated the student body constitution while forming committees.
Interestingly, the tenure of the Chhatra League central committee, of which he is the president, expired nine months ago.
If any organisational district unit fails to form its committees, the central forms a convening committee for it and its only job is to form the committee for the unit within 90 days.
Instead of forming the committees, the convening committees in Gazipur district unit, Kushtia Islamic University unit, Buet and several other units have been running the organisation there way past their 90-day deadline with no apparent intention to form a proper committee.