At least 4,000 nomination papers were sold in the last three days earning the Awami League around Tk 12 crore. But that's also a source of worry for the party.
With such a large number of nomination seekers on the list, AL high-ups now brace for the tall task of picking a single candidate for each constituency in the upcoming national election.
Then there is the fear of internal feuds as some aspirants being denied party tickets may run as independent candidates.
Around 12 to 13 AL hopefuls have bought nomination papers against each of the 300 constituencies so far, creating concerns among the party high command on how to tame the rebels.
Political analysts think conflicts may erupt among the nomination seekers if the AL policymakers fail to handle the matter smoothly.
In the last four years, leaders of the AL and its associate organisations got involved in internal feuds that often turned violent.
At least 100 were killed and 8,690 injured in 634 incidents of this nature, according to Ain o Salish Kendra, a leading rights body. On Saturday, two people died as a result of an intra-party clash at the capital's Adabor.
Amid this situation, the AL Parliamentary Board met yesterday to fix how to tackle the issue.
With AL President Sheikh Hasina in the chair, the meeting was held at the party central office on Bangabandhu Avenue.
In her introductory speech, she said competent candidates will be given the party nomination for the upcoming national election.
Hasina, also the prime minister, welcomed the decision of the BNP and other opposition parties to participate in the national polls, saying the election will be held in a democratic environment.
The mega event of nomination paper sale that began on Friday at the AL chief's Dhanmondi office ends today, as decided by the party's parliamentary board.
The party sold 2,758 nomination forms for the 2008 national election.
Talking to The Daily Star, a top AL leader said such a huge number of nomination seekers this time could become a cause of trouble if the party fails to convince the aggrieved aspirants to work for the party nominees.
Things may get messy once the AL announces the names of nominees, he further said, wishing anonymity.
More than a dozen AL dissidents won in the last parliamentary election. One of them even beat a presidium member.
"This time the election would be a challenging one as the BNP and other parties will be contesting it," the AL leader said.
AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, however, told this correspondent that picking a single competent candidate for each seat would not be a problem.
“The Awami League is the biggest political party in the country. It is quite normal that there will be so many nomination seekers,” he said.
Hanif said the AL president has collected information about prospective candidates from different sources. “Our Netri [Al chief] will select the competent candidates having maximum possibility of winning.”
Obaidul Quader on November 10 reissued the warning that rebel candidates would be expelled permanently from the party.
He said anyone can aspire to be an AL lawmaker as it is his or her democratic right. But everyone has to work in favour of the party-nominated candidates.
In the nomination form, a nomination seeker has to give the undertaking that if denied party ticket, he or she will obey the decision of the AL parliamentary board and work for the party-nominated candidate and not stand for the election.
The aspirant also has to agree on the condition that he or she will be expelled from the party for violating this undertaking.
14-PARTY TO RUN WITH BOAT
After the meeting of the parliamentary board, Obaidul Quader said the candidates of the AL-led 14-party alliance will contest the upcoming election with “Boat”, the election symbol of Awami League, UNB adds.
He also hinted that AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury-led Juktofront may join the ruling coalition.
"There may be an alliance with Juktofront. But the decision has not been taken yet whether they'll contest the polls with Boat or their own symbol. We think they'll run for the polls with their own symbol," he said.
About sharing constituencies among the components of the grand alliance, Quader said aspirants from other parties of the alliance alongside the AL hopefuls will submit nomination papers for the election, but the competent aspirants will finally stay in the race.
The grand alliance is comprised of the 14-party combine and Jatiya Party.
Quader said, "The 14-party alliance will contest the election with boat. The remaining parties will run with their own symbols.
"We've survey reports in hands. We'll sit with alliance partners. We'll select competent candidates through discussions."
Quader said the parliamentary board will take interviews of all the aspirants at 11:00am on Wednesday.