Odds in favour of selection
The new BCL leadership are likely to be picked by the Awami League high command, not by voting in the 28th council to be held in the capital today, say AL and BCL sources.
If this happens, it would be a break from the last three councils of Bangladesh Chhatra League.
According to the BCL constitution, its president and general secretary are elected by councillors from across the country.
The ruling AL top brass are to make the selection on the basis of the candidates' track record, as there are allegations that some ex-top BCL men and powerful AL leaders always try to influence the election of top two leaders in the pro-AL student body, said the sources.
On Thursday, AL President Sheikh Hasina asked incumbent BCL President HM Badiuzzaman Sohag and General Secretary Siddiqui Nazmul Alam to give her curriculum vitaes of the candidates, added the sources.
The new committee is likely to be announced tomorrow, the second day of the council. Hasina will attend the inaugural session as chief guest at Suhrawardy Udyan.
She might choose the top two BCL leaders on the basis of the aspirants' track record over the past few years.
Former BCL General Secretary Mahfuzul Haider Chowdhury Roton said whoever the party chief considered bright and competent would get the leadership of the BCL.
Nazmul said the process of getting new top leaders of the country's oldest student organisation was yet to be finalised.
Asked, Sohag said, “If Chhatra League leaders cannot reach a decision, the new committee will be formed through voting. Preparations have also been made for casting of ballot.”
To the surprise of many in the BCL, Sohag and Nazmul announced a total of 40 district and upazila unit committees only a couple of days ago.
Many BCL leaders believe the new committees were announced to make sure that those unit leaders vote in the council for the panel backed by Sohag and Nazmul.
There are also allegations that a section of present and ex-top BCL leaders got the names of their loyal men on the list of councillors -- 25 from each district unit -- to influence the election of the two top BCL leaders.
“The list contains the names of only those loyal to the presidents and general secretaries of the unit committees. They will cast votes on their superiors' instructions,” alleged a BCL leader.
Nazmul said they couldn't announce many unit committees for long due to opposition from local AL leaders. “Now committees have been announced to bring dynamism in the units.”
Over the last four years, the BCL saw several hundred internal feuds that left at least 41 BCL men dead and several hundred injured across the country.
The present central committee was formed on July 11, 2011 for two years. Though the BCL was supposed to hold its council in 2013, it couldn't do so.
“Many competent Chhatra League leaders will not get the chance to vie for the posts of BCL president and general secretary for the delay,” alleged a BCL leader.
On the allegations that ex-top BCL leaders influence the committee's formation, former BCL president Liaqat Sikder said, “We don't influence or control Chhatra League, rather we as former leaders help the organisation, and will continue to do so.”
He said some former BCL leaders, who remained inactive for years and had no role in party activities, became vocal before the BCL council and spew propaganda.
BCL sources said several names had come up as strong contenders for the posts of president and general secretary.
They include BCL Joint General Secretary Shamsul Kabir Rahat, Environment Affairs Secretary Saifur Rahman Sohag, Deputy Law Secretary Biplob Hossain Polash, Assistant Secretary Zakir Hossain, central committee member Enamul Haque Prince, and BCL leaders Shahidul Islam Shahed, Anwar Hossain Anu and Azizul Haque Rana.
Talking to The Daily Star, AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said they wanted to see dedicated, honest and competent students as top BCL leaders.
“Those who are involved in anti-organisational activities and don't have good image among students should not be Chhatra League leaders,” he said.
BCL Election Commissioner Sheikh Rasel said they sold 241 nomination forms for Tk 3,000 each for the posts of president and general secretary.
He said the names of 14 aspirants for BCL presidency and 21 for general secretary's post were dropped from the list of candidates upon scrutiny of the candidates' age, studentship and marital status.