Wrong selection of candidates, ignoring the opinions of party grassroots, infighting and waning popularity of the government are blamed for the defeat of a number of Awami League candidates, including a number of sitting MPs, in the virtually one-sided 10th parliamentary elections.
Many AL leaders think people in the constituencies where the dissident candidates won were actually dissatisfied with the government and they had no option but to vote for the rebels as the opposition parties including the BNP boycotted the polls.
As many as 13 independent candidates won in the January 5 elections and only one of them was from Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) while the rest were AL dissidents.
Though a total of 50 AL dissenters contested the polls, many of them boycotted the polls alleging vote rigging.
Talking to The Daily Star, a number of central leaders of the ruling party have admitted that the successes of the rebels proved that the AL could have faced a tough situation had the BNP and other opposition parties joined the polls.
They also have blamed the party high-ups for not taking a tough stand against the dissidents, saying that this may encourage party men to ignore party decisions in future.
However, sources in the AL said the inaction was part of the party's strategy to increase voter turnout. However, party high-ups were disappointed as the strategy hardly worked.
Despite efforts to bring more voters to the polling centres, the turnout was very low. Senior AL leaders think this proved party's organisational weakness, sources said.
Besides, the AL concentrated more on holding the polls amid threats by the opposition parties to "resist" the elections, rather than on increasing the turnout as the party was already sure of securing the majority.
The AL rebel candidates who have won are Salim Uddin Tarafder of Naogaon-3, Makbul Hossain of Meherpur-2, Tahajib Alam Siddique of Jhenidah-2, Rustom Ali Faraji of Pirojpur-3, Haji Mohammad Selim of Dhaka-7, Sirajul Islam Mollah of Narsingdi-3, Mujibur Rahman Chowdhury alias Nixon Chowdhury of Faridpur-4, Abdul Matin of Moulvibazar-2, Yusuf Abdullah Harun of Comilla-3, Raji Mohammad Fakhrul of Comilla-4 and Rahim Ullah of Feni-3. Apart from them, independent candidate Kamrul Ashraf Khan, younger brother of AL lawmaker Anawarul Ashraf Khan who failed to secure party ticket for the polls, won in Narasingdi-2 and PCJSS leader Usaton Talukder in Rangamati constituency.
AL top leaders Kazi Zafrullah, Abdul Mannan Khan, State Minister Dipankar Talukdar and Mostofa Jalal Mohiuddin tasted defeat. Zafrullah and Mostofa Jalal were defeated by rebel candidates while Mannan Khan was beaten by Jatiya Party leader and State Minister Salma Islam and Dipankar by PCJSS leader Usaton Talukder.
Sources said not enough development in Faridpur-4 constituency during the current government's tenure and young voters' support to AL rebel candidate Nixon helped him beat Zafrullah, while the declining popularity of the government and popularity of Haji Selim was the reason behind Mostofa Jalal's defeat.
In Dhaka-1, party infighting and public disapproval of Mannan Khan made Salma the winner. Majority of the AL leaders and activists in the constituency directly supported Salma.
Local leaders of Rangamati claimed that organisational weakness and lack of development activities caused Dipankar's defeat.
The sitting MPs, who contested the polls despite failing to get the party nod and failed, are Meraj Uddin Mollah in Rajshahi-3, Shafiqul Azam Khan in Jhenidah-3, Sheikh Abdul Wahab in Jessore-4, Nani Gopal Mandal in Khulna-1 and Mostaque Ahmed Ruhi in Netrokona-1.