The Awami League has initiated a process to identify the BNP, Jamaat and Shibir men who have allegedly infiltrated the ruling party in the last few years to make a fortune or to avoid lawsuits.
The AL high command has asked its grassroots not to further allow any BNP or Jamaat men to join the party. It has also verbally communicated to them that approval from the party’s central committee is mandatory for anyone joining the AL from other political parties, say party insiders.
The party made the move following its Central Working Committee meeting on April 19 where party President Sheikh Hasina expressed anger at the infiltration of BNP-Jamaat men, according to party sources.
The AL high command asked the grassroots leaders to find out the “bad elements” in their local units and oust them from the party.
Besides, the AL is closely monitoring the activities of the new members to identify those who could do harm to the party, they said.
Even those AL leaders, who helped the “bad elements” join the party, will face ac-tion, added the sources.
The infiltration issue has been in discussion in the party forum for quite a while.
But the involvement of an AL leader in the murder of madrasa student Nusrat Ja-han Rafi in Feni’s Sonagazi upazila prompted the party to take immediate measures to address the issue.
Ruhul Amin, Sonagazi upazila AL president, joined the AL from the Jatiya Party in 1997 and later left the country for Saudi Arabia. He returned in 2009 and got actively involved in AL activities. He became president of Sonagazi AL unit last year.
“It is a disgrace for the party. The Awami League has enough supporters. There is no need to bring in more people from other parties to strengthen it,” an AL cen-tral committee member told this newspaper, seeking anonymity.
The leader claimed that at least 20 percent of the infiltrators got party posts at the grassroots level. They also managed to get the party symbol to contest the local government elections and eventually won the polls.
Last week, Yusuf Ali, Gohail union AL president in Bogura, was assaulted by Atoar Talukder Fazu, chairman of Gohail union. Atoar joined the AL in 2016 after failing to get BNP nomination for chairman post in local government polls.
“I have never been harassed like this in my long political career. The most regretful thing is that I was assaulted and humiliated by those who joined my party from the BNP,” said an emotional Yusuf Ali while talking to local journalists recent-ly.
Atoar drew the media’s attention in October last year when his men removed around 10,000 bricks from a 200-metre stretch of a road in his union and used those to build his own structure.
Talking to The Daily Star, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, acting general secretary of the AL, said his party is identifying the bad elements.
“We will identify them and then go for action,” he said.
BNP and Jamaat men started joining the AL after the party came to power in 2008. But it became more frequent after the AL won the 2014 national polls, which was boycotted by most of the political parties, including the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami.
According to media reports, around 25,000 leaders and activists from the BNP, and about 5,000 from the Jamaat joined the AL since 2009.
The AL has no specific data on how many opposition men joined the party.
They joined the ruling party apparently to get their names off “politically motivated cases” and avoid police harassment as numerous cases were filed against them over street violence during the BNP-led alliance’s demonstrations since 2013.
But now AL leaders are sceptical about the motives of these new members, especially former Jamaat and BNP men. They think these people joined the ruling party for personal gains.
Some ruling party leaders said these former BNP and Jamaat men may try to harm the party unity.