The last council of Kishoreganj district Awami League was held in 1997. Eighteen years have passed since then.
The chapter's president first became the Speaker and then the president of the country in the meantime. Two successive general secretaries died. Two vice presidents and an organising secretary also passed away.
Yet, no council was held in the home district of AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam in all these years to form a new committee to replace the existing one -- the tenure of which, according to the AL charter, expired 15 years ago.
Then there's Gopalganj, home district of AL President Sheikh Hasina. The last time a council was held there was in 2004. The three-year committee's tenure expired eight years ago, but no council was held there after that.
This is an organisational picture that prevails in some 20 of the 73 organisational districts of the ruling party. Twelve of these districts are home to the AL top brass.
So much influence these leaders hold in their areas that the AL organising secretaries do not even dare to do anything regarding the long-overdue councils without the consents of these bigwigs, party insiders said.
"Big leaders create big problem always," said an organising secretary of the party, wishing anonymity.
AL Presidium Member Nuh-ul-Alam Lenin told The Daily Star that nothing takes place in the districts of party high-ups without their consents. "However, as the top leaders have huge influence in their own districts, organisational problems are comparatively less there."
Most of these 20 chapters are being run by acting presidents and acting general secretaries, preventing emergence of new leadership, according to party sources.
At a meeting of the AL Central Working Committee on Friday, Sheikh Hasina said the 20th central council of the party will be held in December, and directed party leaders to hold councils in the remaining districts by then.
She also expressed her disappointment particularly over the situation in Kishoreganj.
Through the 1997 council in the district, incumbent President Abdul Hamid was elected the unit's president and Shamsul Islam Golap the general secretary.
After becoming the Speaker in 2001, Hamid resigned from the district unit post and Syed Wahidul Islam became the acting president.
Meanwhile, Golap died in 1998 and Shahbuddin Thakur took the charge. Since Thakur's death in 2007, MA Afzal has been the acting general secretary.
Besides, vice presidents Faisal Ahmed and Shahadat Hossain of the committee passed away in 2010 and 2014 and organising secretary Zinnatul Islam in 2013.
Gopalganj district AL got Mohammad Ali Khan Abu Miah as its president and Chowdhury Emdadul Haque as general secretary through the 2004 councils. Abu Miah died the same year and Raja Miah Batu has been acting president of the district chapter ever since.
Contacted, Chowdhury Emdadul Haque said they were ready for the council. "But we can do nothing without the directives of our leaders Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim."
Apart from Gopalganj and Kishoreganj, no councils were held in Faridpur, home district of AL leaders Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Kazi Zafarullah and Khandker Mosharraf Hossain; Sunamganj, home district of Suranjit Sengupta; Bhola, home district of Tofail Ahmed; Jhalakathi, home district of Amir Hossain Amu; Comilla (North and South), home of Railways Minister Mujibul Huq, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and AL Law Affairs Secretary Abdul Matin Khasru; Gazipur, home of Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mojammel Haque; Chandpur, home of Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Dipu Moni and Sujit Roy Nandi; Gaibandha, home of Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah; and Tangail, home of former food minister Abdur Razzak.
Councils are due in Narayanganj, Mymensingh, Cox's Bazar, Shariatpur, Chuadanga, Pirojpur, Netrakona and Rajbari as well.
Asked why no council was held in Faridpur, LGRD Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said, "It's the central committee, not me, that decides when a district unit will hold its council."
There are many AL big shots from the districts, he said. "So it is a very tough job to hold council in Faridpur ... Too many leaders create too many problems."
As for Jhalakathi, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu said he was no more involved with the council process. He, however, said that all the pending councils in Barisal division would be held before the national council.
The last council in Sunamganj was held in March, 1997 with Abdus Jahur elected the president and Ayub Bakht Juglu the general secretary.
After the Jahur's death in 2008, Matiur Rahman filled his shoes. Juglu was expelled from the party in 2001 and since then Nurul Huda Mukut has been the acting general secretary.
Ten of the 54 members of the district committee are dead and six have been staying abroad for a long time.
Nurul Huda Mukut blamed Suranjit Sengupta for no council being held there. "We had fixed two dates for the council in the past. But we failed to hold it both the times due to Suarajit Sengupta's interference."
Suranjit, however, denied the allegation, saying he was not interested in district politics.