The number of Awami League rebel candidates for the mayoral posts in the upcoming first-phase municipal polls has decreased than previous occasions due to the party’s tough stance against those who fail to comply with the organisational discipline.
Comparing to the previous local body elections, there was a huge fall in the number of rebel candidates this time as only 10 dissident contestants are vying for the mayoral posts in eight municipalities.Twenty-five municipalities are set to go to polls on Monday (December 28).
It was learned that 2-4 ruling party rebels used to participate in each municipality in the polls previously. But the number was apparently lesser this time than any other local body election.
“It’s a good sign for the party that the number of rebels in the municipality polls is decreasing and hopefully it’ll last long,” Awami League Presidium member Muhammad Faruk Khan told the Daily Sun.
Talking about the party’s tough stance against the violators of the party’s decisions, he said such move will continue not only for municipality polls but also for all upcoming elections. “Awami League took the move to bring organisational discipline in the party. All leaders and activists except intruders have hailed the decision,” he said.
Apart from interference by the Awami League high-ups, the issuance of warning to take stern action against patrons of rebels, scrapping their party posts and barring them from getting party ticket in any future election helped the ruling party contain the rebels, insiders say.
The party-backed candidates in 17 municipalities and their supporters have breathed a sigh of relief as there is no rebel there.There is, however, no visible cooperation from those deprived of nomination.
Earlier, some 17 rebels submitted their nomination papers in 11 municipalities.
But the number later came down to 10 due to the withdrawal of candidature and cancellation of nomination papers by the Election Commission.
According to the sources, there are three rebels in Shayestaganj municipality of Habiganj while one each is in Betagi of Barguna, Pirganj of Thakurgaon, Katakhali and Puthia of Rajshahi, Chatmohar of Pabna, Dirai of Sunamganj and Kuakata of Patuakhali.
AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader repeatedly hinted at taking stern action against party rebels, saying the party would no longer nominate candidates who went or will go against party directives, regardless of their popularity. “The party chief is very strict on maintaining organisational discipline. Those who have already violated party decisions will in no way be given nomination in future,” he said.
To implement the party’s tough stance against rebels, the ruling party changed the mayoral candidates in three municipalities.
The party first picked Al Masum Murshed for Khoksha municipality, Reazul Islam Joardar for Chuadanga and M Abdul Hannan Talukder for Madan municipality as mayoral candidates. All of them came out victorious in previous polls as rebels.
Later, it changed party nomination to Tariqul Islam, Saiful Islam Saif and Jahangir Alam for the mayoral race in the municipalities respectively as part of its move not to nominate any rebel.
Awami League high-ups also hinted at taking action against those who will participate in the polls in violation of the party discipline.
A meeting of the Awami League Central Working Committee will be held in January to decide about action to be taken against rebels and their patrons.
Mentioning that the number of rebels is lesser this time than any other time, Awami League Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim expressed the hope that the party will yield better results in elections. “Organisational action will be taken against rebels after serving show-cause notices on them,” he told the Daily Sun.