In recent times, there is a tendency among different organisations to use the word "League" with their names to manifest that they are associate or affiliate organisations of the Bangladesh Awami League (AL). A news story about the emergence of various organisations of this type has already gone viral on social media. In that news, a list of about 73 organisations has been published that are not recognised as affiliate or associate organisations of the party. This issue has come to the fore in the last few days based on the several statements of a member of the Central Sub-Committee on Women's Affairs of the AL. Although the leader has already been expelled from the women's sub-committee, reports in various media outlets have shown that she has received assistance from the top political leaders of the ruling party during the tenure of various governments. This means that such beneficiaries are always members of the ruling party, and as members of the ruling party, they try to sort out their own benefits.
Since the AL has been in power for a decade, it is not easy to find the existence of political parties other than the AL in the country. Besides, the activities of different political parties are progressing at a slow pace due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been going on for the last one and a half years. Therefore, there is a rush to join the AL from different political parties. The AL President and the General Secretary have sent a strong message about the infiltrators and hybrid leaders and workers in the party and cautioned the leaders and workers to remain away from these groups. Therefore, the infiltration of these hybrid leaders must be stopped in the party at any cost.
Such infiltration affects the party negatively in the long run and creates a sense of deprivation among the dedicated leaders and workers of the party. When the dedicated leaders and workers of the party feel deprived, it cannot bring positive results for the party. These deprived leaders and workers are the main strength of the party as they often stand by the party during bad times. If we compare the current situation of the AL with the BNP from 2001 to 2006, we will get an impression that the BNP did not pay the required attention to the dedicated leaders and workers of their party. Instead, they provided opportunities to hybrid leaders and workers of the party.
As a result, in the last 12 years, the BNP as a political party has reached the level of destruction. They could not motivate their leaders and workers to come to the street in the movement organised in demand for the release of their supreme leader. It is needless to mention that the BNP has gone bankrupt politically because of their misdeeds. Therefore, the AL should learn a lesson from their experience because hybrid leaders and followers would never uphold the party's ideology; rather, they join the party to reap their own benefits.
Therefore, it is time to identify all the opportunists trying to maximise their benefits using the word "league" with the name of organisations. We all know that there is usually overcrowding of party leaders and workers when the party remains in power. On the one hand, there are dedicated leaders and workers, while on the other hand, there are leaders and workers from different parties who join the party to take advantage of different opportunities. These selfish quarters are extremely harmful to the political party. The AL President and Hon'ble Prime Minister-Sheikh Hasina has been working relentlessly for the last 12 years to take Bangladesh to the next level of development. However, the time has come to ascertain how much the AL as a political party has contributed to this development process.
A group of political leaders of AL, from the local to the central level, are supporting the emergence of these new-born organisations and patronising the process of infiltration of leaders and activists in the party. These leaders need to be identified and punished immediately. We must remember that the party and the government will be held responsible for all the misdeeds or corruption that these leaders and activists will be involved in. Therefore, to keep the party's image and the government intact, these hybrid leaders must be thrown out of the party. If immediate actions are not taken against "League" dependent organisations and hybrid leaders, this will demolish the party's credibility in the days to come.
We know that the AL is the name of an ideology that was led by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman since its inception. Now it is time to take action against those who use the name of that organisation to commit various kinds of misdeeds. Committing such misdeeds is difficult for those who uphold the ideology of the AL and the philosophy of Bangabandhu in mind, as they value the interests of the party and the party's ideals more than their own interests. However, with the party in power for so long, many of these ideological leaders and workers are becoming side-lined in the party, which should be considered seriously. In various cases, the supporters of the controversial and anti-independence forces of 1971 are occupying important positions in the party and the state. Some leaders of the party are backing them to attain these positions. These leaders should also be identified as neither the norm nor the value is the main issue for them.
The sooner this can be done, the better for the party. As I mentioned earlier, the AL is the name of an ideology. Therefore, it is high time to take action against those who use the name of this ideology to pursue their interests. The AL has millions of devoted leaders across the country. It is time to identify them and appraise their contribution. If this can be done, the AL will be much stronger organizationally and would be able to win the next election. We expect that under the credible leadership of the Hon'ble Prime Minister, we will emerge as a developed country by 2041. Therefore, to achieve this goal, the government and the party must be strengthened by eliminating hybrids.
The writer is a Professor
of Public Administration at
the University of Rajshahi.