Awami League leaders have given mixed reactions about party General Secretary Obaidul Quader's remark that when the party would lose power, the AL men would have to be on the run with all the money they have been making.
Several AL leaders in Chittagong said Obaidul “rightly pointed out the ill practices” by some party men, while some central leaders said he should not have made such comments.
It is indecent to talk like that in public, said the leaders in Dhaka, asking not to be named.
Two of the six central leaders The Daily Star spoke with yesterday said Quader, also the road and bridges minister, was talking “rubbish” recently for media coverage.
However, one secretariat member of the AL said grassroots leaders and workers were happy about the comment because they were against making money using the party's name.
At a meeting in the port city on Saturday, Quader warned party men that those who were making money would have to go into hiding when the party would no longer be in office.
“Power doesn't last long. I request you not to abuse power. Money will not be with you for long. You have to think about it,” he said.
One party leader in Dhaka said Quader would be sidelined if he continued to make such “rubbish” comments.
Quader is well-known for his public comments, often triggering debates and criticisms.
On April 17, for example, he told a programme in Meherpur that “farm chickens” have infiltrated into the AL and they have cornered the “local chickens”.
“Local chickens are needed; not farm chickens. Farm chickens are not good for health,” he warned.
Before that, the minister told a programme in Sylhet that “crows” have infiltrated into AL, drawing heavy criticism.
Omor Faruk Chowdhury, chairman of Jubo League, the youth front of AL, said on April 27 that those who were branding AL men as “crows” and “farm chickens” are in fact the patrons of “crows” and “farm chickens”.
Under fire, Obaidul said he made the comment only to cheer the party men up and requested journalists not to write about it anymore.
Asked to comment on Obaidul's latest comment, Khorshed Alam Sujan, vice-president of the party's port city unit, said though Obaidul did not name anyone, it was true that some people were making money using the party's name. This is hurting the party's image.
Ibrahim Hossain Babul, another vice-president of Chittagong AL, said Obaidul was right in making the comment and the people concerned received the message.
"There are people who are making wealth using the party. The party and its leaders have to take responsibility for their wrongdoings. The general secretary wanted to alert us about these people,” said Iftekhar Saimul Chowdhury, city unit law secretary of the party.
Prof Sikander Khan, vice-chancellor of East Delta University in Chittagong, said a harsh truth came out through the comment.
“We got a confirmation of the common perception of the people,” he said, adding that the AL general secretary must have made the comment with proofs.
Mohiuddin Chowdhury, president of the city unit AL, declined to comment on the matter.
The Daily Star tried to reach Obaidul over the phone for comments, but he did not pick up the call.