AL grassroots in N dists oppose electoral alliance with JP | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 13, 2008

AL grassroots in N dists oppose electoral alliance with JP

Most district-level and grassroots leaders of Awami League in greater Rangpur and Dinajpur oppose any possible electoral alliance of the party with Ershad's Jatiya Party as they think this will block their nomination in the next parliamentary election.
Ershad's recent announcements and comments about a possible alliance has created disappointment and frustration among the AL leaders.
Ershad, now on a visit to districts, is saying that he would be in the AL-led 'grand alliance' in the upcoming national polls and asking his party men to participate in the proposed upazila election even if is held before the parliamentary election.
His comments have not been rejected by central AL leadership, which makes AL leaders in northern districts to think that the prospect of alliance is becoming brighter, many AL leaders told this correspondent.
They apprehend that such a step would deprive AL's nomination aspirants who faced torture on streets in agitations against the BNP-led government in last five years.
Though both AL and JP refused reports of a meeting between Sheikh Hhasina and Ershad abroad, this can not satisfy local party leaders as a number of central AL leaders termed Ershad's statement as 'positive'.
Talking to this correspondent, many grassroots level AL leaders and workers said, in the name of 'grand alliance' AL had sacrificed 19 seats out of 22 to JP in greater Rangpur in the proposed ninth parliamentary election which was to be held on January 22, 2007. The election was postponed later.
Only three seats were kept for Awami League. Those were Rangpur 6 (for Sheikh Hasina), Nilphamari 2 (for Asaduzzaman Noor) and Lalmonirhat-1 (for Motahar Hossen).
In greater Dinajpur, out of 11 parliamentary seats, one was given to JP candidates. But JP directed its party candidates to file nomination papers for the rest 10 seats, they said.
As a cost for forming alliance with JP, a number of central AL leaders were then deprived of party nomination from this region, the AL leaders said. They are central AL advisory body member Maj. Gen. (Rtd) AMSA Amin from Kurigram 2, central AL treasurer HNAshiqur Rahman from Rangpur 5, central executive committee member Sharfuddin Jhantoo from Rangpur1, former state minister Anisul Haque Chowdhuary from Rangpur2 and former lawmaker from Nilphamari1 Hamida Banu Shova.
Traditionally, eight northern districts are regarded as AL's stronghold, enjoying support of minority communities, indigenous people and local big and middle income farmers.
They said they are now trying to persuade central leaders not to make any electoral alliance with JP.
They said that in 2001 parliamentary election, JP won 13 seats out of 22 in greater Rangpur. Though AL got four seats, its candidates ran an neck with JP candidates in 10 seats, they argued.
But in 1996 election, JP won 18 seats and AL bagged three only. In 2001 election, AL bagged two seats and JP got one out of 11seats in greater Dinajpur district. The rest eight went to BNP-Jamaat alliance.
AL candidates fought with close margins in all the seats in its position is far better now in the changed political scenario, they said.
Lalmonirhat district AL president Mpotahat Hossain said, “We are against any electoral alliance with Jatiya Party”.
The question of any alliance may come after the polls, depending on parties' strength in parliament, he said.
Rajarhat upazila AL secretary Abu Nur Md Akhtaruzzaman in Kurgram said if the party sacrifices seats to JP this time, local party leaders would not be willing to work for the party.
Ansarul Islam Minto, president of Jaldhaka AL in Nilphamari, said Ershad has become adamant for an electoral alliance now because he can well guess that nationalist forces led by Awami League will have a comfortable win in the next parliament election.
AL central publicity secretary Asaduzzaman Noor however told this correspondent that AL considered Jatiya Party as a nationalist and secular force and could make an alliance with it if necessary.

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