Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon’s sudden anti-government stance is nothing but his desperate attempt to prevent another split in the left-leaning political organisation, said party insiders.
They said the party forums had recently discussed that the component of the ruling Awami League-led 14-party alliance almost lost its identity due to its pro-government stance, moving away from its agenda which is to work for the workers, farmers and others from the lower-income group.
The party president’s pro-government role and the party’s failure to raise voice on different crucial national issues over the years made the leaders and activists at different tiers frustrated, the insiders said.
A section of the party members was also unhappy with Menon, also a lawmaker from Dhaka-8, as he participated in the last three national elections with boat, the polls symbol of the AL.
They alleged Menon got busy in achieving personal gains abusing his party and Jatiya Sangsad posts.
For instance, he made his wife a lawmaker from the reserved seats for women, the insiders alleged.
Also, the central committee of Workers Party had decided to contest the parliamentary polls in 2008 with the party symbol “hammer”. Party presidium member Menon, however, decided to contest the polls with AL’s “boat”, which was contradictory to the Workers Party’s charter.
In protest, a group of leaders, led by Haider Akbar Khan Rono, left the organisation.
Another group of leaders, led by Ragib Ashan Munna, Tusher Roy and Mojammel Haque Tara, also left the party after it decided to take part in the “one-sided” parliamentary elections held on January 5, 2014.
Now, the Workers Party is on the verge of another split as a section of leaders, led by the party’s General Secretary and presidium member Bimol Bishwas, is also set to quit the party, said the insiders.
Bimol may make the announcement at the party’s next congress, scheduled to be held on November 2-5 in Dhaka, they said.
Sources said Menon became vocal on several issues after he failed to get any spot in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s current cabinet. He became even more vocal after discussions on his alleged involvement in illegal casino business came to light, the sources.
Law enforcers is currently launching a drive against illegal gambling and casinos, with the first one being carried on Fakirerpool Young Men’s Club in the capital on September 18.
Menon is the chairman of the club’s governing body.
Sources said some recent remarks by Menon made the ruling Awami League aggrieved.
At a programme at Gazipur on October 14, he alleged that around Tk 9 lakh crore had been siphoned off abroad.
Later at programme in Barishal on October 20, he alleged that people could not vote in the December 30 parliamentary polls in 2018.
“Although I was elected in the election, I am testifying that people couldn’t cast their votes in that election. They couldn’t vote in the union parishad and upazila parishad polls,” he said.
A day later, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader posed a question to Menon saying whether he would have made such claim had he been a minister.
In such a situation, the Awami League is going to hold a meeting of its 4-party alliance, including the Workers Party, at AL central office on the capital’s Bangabandhu Avenue. AL sources said the party leaders would ask the Workers Party to explain Memon’s remarks.
Contacted, Menon yesterday told The Daily Star, “Ministership is not a big issue for me. I refused to take oath as minister in 2015, but when Awami League faced political crisis I agreed to be a minister at the interim government to continue political process in the country.”
Asked about Quader’s remarks, he said what the AL leader said has nothing but malign him.
Asked about Bimol Bishwas, the Workers Party president said, “We may have indifferences in several issue, but he never expressed his desire to leave the party.”