No place for reformists | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 04, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 04, 2013

New AL Committees

No place for reformists

Despite hectic lobbying, reformist leaders of the ruling Awami League could not find a berth in the AL Central Working Committee (ALCWC), the highest decision-making body of the party.
On the other hand, AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's younger sister Sheikh Rehana and son Sajeeb Wazed Joy declined to be included in the committee announced on Wednesday.
AL insiders said a number of former central leaders lobbied with the party high command in the last few weeks to return to the party leadership through its 19th council held on December 29.
These reformist leaders were removed from the ALCWC through the party's 18th council held on July 24, 2009 for what the other AL leaders say their dubious role during the tenure of the last military-backed caretaker government.
After winning the last parliamentary elections on December 29, 2009, the AL chief announced that she would forgive the reformist party leaders but would not forget (what they did). AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif had told The Daily Star ahead of announcement of the new ALCWC that the reformist leaders would find no room in the party central leadership.
Reformist AL stalwarts Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta and Abdul Jalil were placed in the AL Advisory Council while mid-ranking leaders Mukul Bose, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Sultan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, AKM Jahangir Hossain, Abu Sayeed and Nazma Begum were removed from party committees.
Sources said some of these leaders were in touch with close associates of the AL chief for several weeks prior to the party council. They even sat at different places to devise how to get back into party bodies. One or two of them also had contacted Sheikh Hasina and her family members and relatives.
Some senior leaders also discussed the issue with the party chief. And there was a possibility of bringing back Amu, Tofail and Saber, among others, in the ALCWC, but the party high command could not do so amid opposition from different quarters in and outside of the party, said sources close to the AL chief.
They mentioned that Tofail's refusal to be a minister a few months back was another obstacle to his return to party leadership. But they could not say anything when asked about Amu and Saber.
Some sources, however, said the possibility of their return to party leadership is still there as four posts -- two in the presidium, one post of departmental secretary and one of member-- have been kept vacant and are to be filled up gradually.
AL insiders said there was a move from party leaders to include Rehana or Joy in the central committee. Prior to finalising the committee on Tuesday night, both Rehana and Joy were approached to join it. “But both humbly refused to be in politics directly right now,” a senior policymaker of the party told this correspondent.

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