Oikyafront eyes AL allies' seats
12:00 AM, November 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:41 AM, November 17, 2018

Oikyafront eyes AL allies' seats

To take full advantage of discontent in ruling alliance

Jatiya Oikyafront wants to take full advantage of growing discontent among nomination seekers from the Awami League and its allies and gives special attention to the constituencies where the 14-party alliance, led by the ruling AL, is facing the problem.

The AL has hinted at setting aside around 70 seats for the Jatiya Party and other partners. With the election approaching, the opposition alliance, consisting of the BNP, is keeping a close eye on those constituencies as row over the seat sharing is brewing up. Besides, there are intra-party conflicts in the ruling party in many parliamentary areas.

Keeping these factors in mind, Oikyafront will field strong and competent candidates in those constituencies and carry out rigorous campaign to ensure victory, said its insiders.

In around 100 of the 300 constituencies, AL MP aspirants and their supporters are reluctant to share seats with the alliance partners. The aspirants are likely to stick to their position and contest as independent candidates if leaders from the partners secure nomination, party sources said.

Jatiya Party (JP), Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) and Workers Party of Bangladesh (WPB) are among the key partners of the Awami League.

Discontent among leaders from the AL and these parties is already evident in many places. A number of ruling party MP hopefuls is already campaigning at full throttle in their respective constituencies, although candidates from the party's alliance partners are likely to get the tickets for contesting the election under the combine's banner.

For example, JP presidium member Anisul Islam Mahmud and JSD leader Moin Uddin Khan Badal were elected from the then Chattogram-4 and Chattogram-7 constituencies in the 2008 elections. Both of them are campaigning this time as well. However, local AL men oppose this move.

"We are fed up with what Anisul is doing. He has deprived Awami League men. We want our candidate this time," said Sohrab Hossain Chowdhury Noman, general secretary of Hathazari AL.

In Rajshahi-2, WPB General Secretary Fazle Hossain Badsha was elected in 2008. Now, at least seven AL leaders want to contest the polls.

"Rajshahi-2 is a very important constituency for enhancing our party's organisational strength because the divisional headquarters is located here. So, we want to see an Awami League lawmaker here,” said nomination seeker Nurul Islam Sarker Aslam, organising secretary of Rajshahi city AL.

In the ninth parliamentary polls in 2008, a total of 32 candidates from the three political parties were elected under the banner of the AL-led grand alliance. Of the winners, 27 were from JP, three from JSD and two from WPB, according to statistics of the Election Commission.

The AL-led alliance secured a landslide victory in the 10th parliamentary polls in 2013 as the BNP boycotted the election.

JP leaders Hossain Makbul Shariar, Anisul Islam Mandal and Raushan Ershad were elected from Rangpur-1, 2, and 3 constituencies in the 2008 polls. Currently, at least 11 AL candidates are competing for nominations in these Jatiya Sangshad seats.

"In Rangpur, we have been deprived for years. Now we demand our party get nomination to end our deprivation," said Rezaul Karim, publicity secretary of Rangpur city AL.

Against the backdrop, Oikyafront is analysing the voting pattern of those constituencies and also scrutinising the names of the prospective contenders, said sources.

The newly formed alliance is also examining the minor details of the intra-party conflicts of the ruling alliance. The opposition alliance believes it would benefit from the situation, the sources said.

"We want to take advantage of the intra-party conflict. Many of them who joined the Awami League in the last 10 years will not accept if the party nominates leaders from its partners,” a senior BNP leader told The Daily Star.

Oikyafront leaders are already focusing on areas, including Rangpur division which is considered a stronghold of the JP.

Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu, organising secretary of the BNP, said, "Intra-party conflict has already brewed up in Awami League. There are constituencies where the party has five to six possible candidates. We want to take that advantage.”

The opposition alliance said it would announce the names of its candidates after the AL-led combine. The Oikyafront would have at least two candidates as backup in each constituency in cases of emergencies, said its leaders.

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