AL-led 14-Party Alliance: Seat-sharing stuck with JSD, Workers Party
The decision on Awami League's seat-sharing with the 14-party alliance partners seems to be stalled over the demands from Bangladesh Workers Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD).
According to sources, the AL wants to share two seats with each of the parties, but Workers Party and the JSD seek to have the same number of seats they were given in the 2018 national election.
Currently, both the Workers Party and the JSD have three MPs each. The AL had shared five seats with the Workers Party and four with the JSD ahead of the 2018 polls.
A day after a meeting with AL President Sheikh Hasina, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon and JSD President Hasanul Haq Inu yesterday met AL leader Amir Hossain Amu, also the alliance coordinator, at the latter's Eskaton home and put forward their demands.
Menon and Inu also pressed the ruling party for withdrawal of the "AL independent" candidates from the race in the seats to be shared with the alliance partners, said meeting sources.
Hasina in the meeting on Monday night almost confirmed that her party would share five seats with the 14-party alliance partners. The seats are Barishal-3 for Menon, Rajshahi-2 for Workers Party General Secretary Fazley Hossain Badsha, Kushtia-2 for Inu, Pirojpur-2 for Jatiya Party (Manju) Chairman Anwar Hossain Manju, and Chattogram-2 for Bangladesh Tarikat Federation Chairman Syed Najibul Bashar Maizbhandari.
The AL chief also ruled out the possibility of withdrawing the "independents of her party" from the race.
Sources in AL said the ruling party may share Bogura-4 with the JSD for its leader Rezaul Karim Tansen MP.
Workers Party and the JSD are bargaining for more seats, including Satkhira-1 for Mustafa Lutfullah MP of Workers Party and Feni-1 for Shirin Akhter MP, also the general secretary of JSD.
The ruling party has already conveyed the message to the JSD that it will not share Feni-1. The AL, however, offered that Shirin would be made MP from a reserved seat for women.
When the issue of sharing Shirin's seat came up for discussion in yesterday's meeting, Amu said that AL nominee Alauddin Ahmed Chowdhury is Hasina's preferred candidate for Feni-1, said meeting sources.
Amu said the alliance partners will run with "boat", the AL's electoral symbol, from the seats to be shared. The partners will participate in the polls with their respective electoral symbols in the rest of the constituencies.
Emerging from the meeting, Inu told reporters that there were 10 candidates from the alliance partners in the last general election. He hoped the number would double in the January 7 national election.
"The candidates of the 14-party alliance will run with the electoral symbol 'boat'. So, if Awami League leaders take part in the polls as independents against the alliance candidates, it may create problems," he said.
He hoped the ruling party will consider the issue.
Earlier in the day, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader at a briefing at the party president's Dhanmondi office said the final decision on seat-sharing would be taken within a day.
He said the AL's allies can raise demands, but adjustments have to be made through reaching an understanding, and the main spirit of seat-sharing is the possibility of win.