Thursday, September 10th, 2020
The Awami League and its politics
September 10th, 2020 at 12:55 pm
The Awami League and its politics

by Omer Selim Sher in Toronto,

As a party, the ruling Awami League is one of the oldest political parties in Bangladesh. The Communist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami are also old parties, but the Awami League has been recognized as a people’s party even before independence of Bangladesh. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took the party to the root level to make it a people’s party.

In the 1970 election, the Awami League proved that people have confidence in the boat, the party’s election symbol.

After independence all the parties became active. Among them were the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), but none of them were involved in the formation or rebuilding of the country and started a campaign to overthrow the government of Bangabandhu.

After the assassination Bangabandhu in 1975 and most of his family by the “reactionary groups” within the Awami league (Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed and cronies) with the aid of a group within the Army and indirectly led by Major General Ziaur Rahman, they also killed four national leaders inside the jail.

Many lawmakers and sitting ministers raced to join the killers and other political parties abandoning the orphaned Awami League. There was none at that time to lead the Awami League.

Bangladesh, politics election
Boat, Bangladesh Awami League’s election symbol

The infightings and bickering over for top position swallowed the oldest party of the country and continued until 1981. Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina returned to Bangladesh from exile in India in May 1981 and took the helm of the party.

After a long struggle of 21 years, she formed the government in 1996. In 2001, the Awami League was defeated by a conspiracy and those linked to the 1975 killings regained power. Somewhere or other the leaders of the party were also involved.

Currently, the same trend is being observed within the team again everywhere. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken the country to the forefront of development. She has also changed politics. There is no possibility of any other party coming to power in the recent future with the support of the people. Politics is considered to be a stepping stone to change one’s own fate by the selfish and corrupt people, who have infiltrated the party.

Leader of the people Sheikh Hasina as the president of the party has also realized the burning problem. She has been warning all from top to bottom of the party but none heeded.

Shahed and Papiya likes penetrated the team and has harmed the Awami League.

Now an attempt is being made by psychophants to make the party president happy to grab leadership positions.

Bangladesh election politics
Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

The purification and cleansing of the party has started under the direction of Sheikh Hasina. This cleansing campaign was urgently needed.

Supporters and activists are not same. The activists take the party’s program to the people, and the supporters votes based on the programs offered. The conduct of the party workers is to promote the image of the party to the people. A dedicated worker will never tarnish the reputation of the party. This is the best way to identify opportunistic workers.

The real and dedicated party workers never rebel against the leadership and a worker gradually climbs the ladder to become a leader.

In the upcoming local elections priority must be given to the dedicated and honest party workers from each district.

Some candidates in recent local elections failing to get nominated opted for their independent campaign with some trying to draw the attention of the party chief using different strategies.

The people have always correctly chosen the dedicated and capable leader and they will follow suit this time also. The party and the leadership must remain steadfast.

The ruling Awami League will change for the better if the grass root leadership is recognised and given priority. As a party worker, I welcome this initiative in selecting dedicated and deserving workers as a candidate for local elections.

Omer Sher is a retired Professor of Economics at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada and a researcher on politics in South Asia.