Monday, 17 January, 2022

Awami League Needs to Be Reinforced

Pranab Kumar Panday

Awami League Needs to Be Reinforced
Pranab Kumar Panday

The role of political parties in a democracy is immense because political parties come to power through elections and run the state. After the formation of the government, the party government tries to fulfil all the promises made by them before the electorates through an election manifesto. Achieving these goals requires political parties' support and the government's strategy because the party remains very close to the people. If the political parties keep in touch with the government, consider the welfare of the people and help them adapt and implement various policies, they are deemed to be people-friendly policies. And this is why discipline is so important in political parties.

For some time, the most important issue that has been in discussion within the AL is the party discipline. Particularly at the local level, the party discipline is being wrecked centring the Union Parishad (UP) elections. In other words, the number of independent candidates who fought the UP elections against the nominated candidate has made the central leadership of the AL think. At the same time, the involvement of leaders of different levels of the AL in various misdeeds has also come to the notice of the Hon'ble Prime Minister and President of Awami League. As a result, the strong message that the party's central leadership has been trying to convey for some time is that no one will be spared for contravention of party discipline, no matter how powerful the leader is.

Most recently, Gazipur City Corporation Mayor and Gazipur City Awami League General Secretary Jahangir Alam has been expelled from the AL. He was accused of insulting Bangabandhu and the party leadership. An audio clip of one of his speeches went viral on social media and was published in various print and electronic media, which drew the attention of the central leadership of the party. After this came to his notice, the General Secretary of the party sent him a show-cause notice, and he replied to that notice. The decision to expel him was taken at the last meeting of the AL's executive committee.

At a very young age, he began to think of himself as an undisputed leader by occupying various important positions in the AL and being elected Mayor of the City Corporation. Even before the latest incident, we have seen different kinds of news about him in various newspapers. He acted against the party interests to satisfy his personal interests on several occasions. Those in power forget that power is never permanent. So people can't control themselves when they find themselves in a position of exercising tremendous power. Jahangir's case is no exception. Having gained so much power at once, he became uncontrollable. But it would not be right to blame him alone for his ambitions and misdeeds as he becomes more uncontrollable with the support of a few central leaders of the party.

Now a pertinent question is what would happen with some central leaders who have supported his for a long time. Various media also published news highlighting him. So did all those leaders fail to recognise him? What we usually notice in the context of the politics of Bangladesh is that the leaders of the political parties often work against the interests of the party by giving priority to their own interests. Their main goal is how to strengthen their own circle. Leaders at all levels, from the local level to the center, exercise this practice.

All the leaders who supported Jahangir from behind may have helped him for strengthening their circle or taken unfair advantage from him. So, it is time to find those leaders because Jahangir is not the only leader in Bangladesh behaving arrogantly. From the local level to the central level, many leaders in the party are failing to control themselves due to excessive power. On the one hand, they are busy making money; on the other hand, they are trying to strengthen their circle by abusing power. In many cases, they try to establish their interests by sacrificing the interests of the party. If this process is not stopped very soon, it will ultimately negatively affect the future politics of the AL.

The recent rise in factionalism centring the UP elections is also an omen for the party. Local MPs and local leaders have been setting fire to this faction. Everyone is trying to get his/her candidate nominated. And this is why a large number of AL leaders have participated in the elections as rebel candidates. A news item published in a newspaper a few days ago makes me think. The report claims that 42% of the boat symbol candidates lost in the second round of UP elections. This news is not good news for AL.

This issue can be discussed from two perspectives. The first view is that the loss of so many candidates with the boat symbol established that the rebel candidates were more popular than the party nominees. However, it is also true that the BNP has supported the AL's rebel candidates in most places without participating in the elections to intensify the party's inner conflict. The second view is that the local leadership of the AL has failed to settle the squabble within the party. If the failure of the local leadership is not addressed, bad days may come for the AL in the future.

One thing that we all should remember is that no person or object in the world is essential. No work stops for anyone. Political parties like AL will not be hurt by expelling Jahangir Alam from the party. Instead, with the expulsion of Jahangir Alam, the AL has an opportunity to restore order in the party. When there is no discipline within the party, division within the party and squabble increases, leading to negative consequences for the party. The expulsion of Jahangir could be a great lesson for those who consider them essential to the party. We all hope that if they do not control themselves from now on, the same decision will come to them in the future.

In the last 12 years, under the credible leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has achieved unprecedented development, which has taken the world by surprise. The Hon'ble Prime Minister is already working tirelessly to take Bangladesh to the developed world by 2041. A well-organised AL is needed to implement her plan. At this time, the AL does not need those leaders and activists who remain busy to satisfy their personal interests. It needs dedicated leaders and workers. Therefore, it is time to recognise the reliable leaders and activists of the party. The central leadership requires getting rid of those who put their interests ahead of the party's interests. There has already been a lot of infiltration into the party. By joining the AL from different parties, all these leaders remain busy capitalising on various benefits by discrediting the AL. A group of AL leaders is helping them accomplish their goals. As a result, it's time to reinforce the party throwing away these leaders from the party. Only a well-organised AL can realise the dream of the Prime Minister to enter the list of the developed world in 2041.


The writer is a Professor of Public

Administration at the University of