Bangladesh Awami League is the largest political party of the country and being the ruling party for the consecutive third term and its chairman Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken this party to such a level that any politically involved person now wants to be a part of it. The easiest way to be a part of Awami League is to be a member of any of its affiliated organizations or wings. There are hundreds of affiliated organizations of this party and hundreds more are in line.
People are rushing to be a member of these wings to be in the good book of the government as well as to use that identity for their benefits. Even the activists and leaders from oppositions are opting for such membership in light of the current context where Awami League literally has no capable opposition party.
But unfortunately it is being evident that these affiliated organizations have no political goals or it is very unclear if they have any control from the central Awami League which has facilitated the involvement of the members of this organizations in different types of crimes like; gambling, extortion, vandalism etc. If this continues, the party itself will get detached from the people at a certain point of time and hence, the central think-tanks of the party have to take some drastic steps right now to eliminate such problems.
Many of these affiliated organizations do not hold any council on regular basis. Though active for a long time, ruling party affiliated organizations Bangladesh Mohila Awami League, Jubo Mohila League and Bangladesh Tanti League had their full central committees formed in 2017.Bangabandhu Awami Ainjibi Parishad was formed in 2017 too, but the organization is yet to get a full-fledged central committee. It currently only has a central convener committee.
The last time Awami Swechchhasebak League’s central committee was formed was seven years ago and the same panel is still in charge. The ruling party volunteer wing’s Dhaka city south and north units are also running with 13-year-old committees, since they were formed on May 31, 2006.Six years after the convention, Swechchhasebak League central committee had asked the two units to form 101-member new committees. Around 13 years have passed, but the leaders are yet to form the new committees. Not just these organizations, several thana units in the capital have not seen new committees for more than one and a half decades.
Moreover, Awami Jubo League’s last central committee was formed on July 14, 2012, and its tenure expired on July 13, 2015.The old committee members are regularly including new members as per their own interest without any strategy for the welfare of the party. Bangladesh Krishak League’s central committee was last formed seven years ago, and it expired in 2015, but it is still running the organization.
This is important for the party because if there is no democratic practice in these affiliated organizations, then good leadership cannot come up and crimes and corruption will be the bread and butter of these organization’s members which is very much visible right now.
Sometimes the purpose of these affiliated organizations becomes very confusing. Like; Bangladesh Krishok League. They are supposed to work with the farmers and agricultural experts and their operations should be based in agricultural areas but that is rarely the case.
They are never found active in securing the interest of the people involved with agricultures. Neither they spread their party’s ideology among those people nor are they politically active other than the party meeting. They only hold meetings and discussions with people who have nothing to do with agriculture. Moreover, their members are also often found involved in money laundering, extortion and misuse of party’s name. It is similar with organizations like Tanti League, Swechchhasebak League and many others. This scenario is not at all good for the party.
On top of that, we sometime wonder if there is any farmer or weaver in cities like Dhaka that they have to maintain a large Mahanagar committee even in two sides – north and south of the capital. It was reported that there are over eight thousand members of Krishok League in Dhaka with no farmers or agricultural land in the capital.
There is no need to unite the farmers in the capital to protect their interest. Even the top leaders of this organization cannot explain why they need Mahanagar committees for their organization. Moreover, the top leaders of Krishok League are either businessmen or lawyers and have no affiliation with agriculture. The central leaders of Awami League also raised questions several times over their existence and presence in the capital.
The scenario is same with the Tanti League. There is almost no weaver in the capital but they also hold even ward based committee in the capital, which is highly absurd. This scenario itself portrays a scope for irregularities and corruption using the name of the ruling party.
The activities of these organizations are only limited in holding day-based programs and participating in different rallies or meetings of Awami League. They are completely off course in terms of their organization’s goals and mission. These organizations might have a very small central committee based in the capital to form liaison with the party but other than that they have no business in the capital rather they should be completely based in the rural areas where agriculture or waving is found in a profession.
The ruling party is in severe problem with its students and youth wings. The leaders of these affiliated organizations are found involved in every possible crime. The top leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League recently resigned over the allegations of extortion. They were often found involved with vandalism and violence which reached to the extent of murder and rape. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina often expressed her disturbance over the activities of BCL and by removing the president and general secretary was the first ever drastic step against their misdeeds.
The youth wing – Jubo League leaders seems to control the illegal business throughout the country. During the current purification drive, leaders from this organization are mostly found in running the illegal gambling, money laundering, drugs, prostitution, arms and other business. Even the tenders of the government works were also controlled by them. Though the central leaders are denying their involvement with them which might be a sheer lie, at least this has put them in a very tight and uncomfortable spot.
Along with the established affiliated organizations of Awami League, many other organizations are coming into the scene like; Projonmo League, Torun League, Bangabandhu Shishu Parishad and many more. It is not wrong to create an organization affiliated to a political party, especially the ruling party but some basic things must be followed. Otherwise, these affiliated organizations will only take the party away from people.
Every affiliated organization of Awami League must get approval from the central leadership before they even apply for their registration. That approval should be one of the mandatory documents for organization’s registration. All affiliated organization should be run under the guidance of one or more central leaders assigned by the party chairman as they will hold advisory position.
It will create a relationship of accountability between the party and the organization. All affiliated organization must have a clear and detail manifesto which must be submitted during their registration and the relevant authority must check the manifesto properly before assigning registration. The manifesto must be aligned with the overall party goals and ideology.
The affiliated organizations must clear out their scope of work before applying for registration and only the relevant people from their working area should be the members of these organizations. Most importantly, these organizations must regularly hold councils to align its activists or members with the philosophy of the party as well as to promote new leadership through democratic process.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working restless to achieve the dream of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – the dream of a ‘Golden Bangla’. She has taken some bold steps in this process. Her effort should touch every citizen of this country. But due to irregularities in these affiliated organizations, people are getting annoyed everyday and the safety and security of the citizens are under serious question. The law enforcers especially the police are also playing an associative role with the members of these affiliated organizations. This must change as so many initiatives for development of Bangladesh by Bangabandhu’s daughter will go in vein due to the ill activities of these so called leaders, activists and workers.
We hope the purification drive will bring good results for Awami League as well as for the people. A total reform is required in this process and the drive should be a continuous process. If PM Hasina with her strong leadership can eliminate the malpractices inside her party and especially these affiliated organizations without keeping any knots lose, she will definitely become a historic leader for this country and the people will be always behind her. We wish for a ‘Golden Bangla’ – a dream of every citizen of this country.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)