The Islamic parties in the country want to be a factor in the next parliamentary elections slated to be held between 2018 and 2019, making alliances with big parties.
Talking to daily sun, leaders of some Islamist parties said their parties always play role in country’s electoral politics.
The big political parties plan before every election to utilise the vote bank formed by Alem-Ulamas (Islamic scholars) across the country, they added.
They further said though ideology of the Islamist parties doesn’t reflect in the charter of other big political parties, the Islamist party leaders join other alliances to participate in parliamentary and other local government elections for getting either seats in parliament, or other representation posts of the local government.
The number of Islamic religion based political parties and groups has been increasing in Bangladesh day by day.
And these Islamist parties want to show their existence formally in the country’s political arena through joining different alliances ahead of the next parliamentary polls.
Though these Islamist parties have been working in the country for decades, their number has increased remarkably in the last few years and they are also participating in parliamentary polls regularly, political experts said.
Apart from the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, which was against the country’s liberation, more than 50 religion-based Islamic political parties and groups, including around 10 registered Islamic political parties are active in Bangladesh now, they said.
Khelafat Majlish, Bangladesh Islami Front, Islami Andolon Bangladesh, Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish, Islami Oikya Jote, Islamic Front Bangladesh, Jamiyate Ulamaye Islam Bangladesh, Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation and Zaker Party are registered Islamist parties with the Election Commission while many others are unregistered.
Sources said the parties and groups based on Islamic religion this time are trying to expose their existence formally through forming new alliances and joining existing major political alliances of the country.
They said already many Islamist parties and organisations have started internal discussion to form separate Islamist coalition to contest the next parliament election and many others are discussing to join the existing big political parties like the ruling Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jatiya Party (HM Ershad).
Ruling Awami League sources said the party which had redefined itself as a secular force under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has only one Islamist party in its 14-Party coalition, the Sufi-based Tariqat Federation, while many Islamist parties, including Syed Bahadur Shah Mojaddedi-led Islamic Front Bangladesh, are trying to join the alliance.
BNP sources said some Islamist parties are now components of the 20-party alliance while the party is maintaining contact with many other Islamist parties and organisations to join their alliance or stay in touch against the current Awami League government ahead of the next national polls as the party wants to cash vote bank of Islamic minded people.
Main opposition in parliament HM Ershad-led Jatiya Party also formed a new political combine, namely United National Alliance with 58 political parties in May this year. Bangladesh Islami Front, led by MA Mannan, and components of Jatiya Islami Mahajote have also joined the alliance.
Abdul Latif Nejami, chairman of another faction of Islami Oikya Jote, formed alliance with Nejame Islam, Khelafate Islami, Olamaye Committee and Farayeji Jamaat, who has left the BNP-led alliance, said they are now discussing to form a separate alliance with more four Islamist parties including Khelafat Andolon and Khelafat Majlish to contest the next polls.
“Already Islamist parties had participated in the previous national elections of the country and they were also elected.
Now Islamist parties have potentiality. If they unitedly participate in election they will do well,” Abdul Latif Nejami claimed.
Sources said Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, chairman of a faction of Islami Oikya Jote, is expected to become the chief of a new alliance which will be formed with 10 political parties including a number of Islamist parties.
Hefazat-e-Islam, a ‘non-political’ organisation of the Islamist leaders of different Islamist parties and organizations, may also play notable role in the next parliament election, the sources added.
Sources at Islamist parties said there is a plan to form separate Islamist alliance with Islami Andolan, headed by Chormonai Peer, Zaker Party headed by the Atrashi Peer, and Khalefat Andolan while the alliance may be headed by Chormonai Peer.
Asked about joining big political alliances and formation of Islamist alliances by the Islamist parties, Gyasuddin Molla, professor of Dhaka University and president of Rastrabigyan Samity said, “The 1972 constitution of Bangladesh didn’t allow politics with religion but this provision is weak in the current constitution for which the Islamist parties and groups have got scope to practise the religion based politics in the country now.”
He said now it is vital fact that how the Islamist parties join other alliances whether they join the secular parties leaving their own ideology or not.
“If the unregistered Islamist parties join other alliances of secular parties, they have to participate in polls accepting ideology of the leading secular political party. So, we have to wait till formation of alliances to see the existence of the Islamist parties in next elections,” the political scientist added.