Bangladesh Awami League is the oldest political party of the country. It has been active in politics before and after the independence of this nation. For over 70 years, this party has been leading the political environment of Bangladesh and being a part of this party itself is a great achievement for anyone who wants to make a career in politics. On top of that, Awami League being in the government for consecutive third term has made a position inside the party like a golden egg which everyone wants to chase. In this process, many leaders and activists for the opposition parties, many of which do not uphold the same principles as Awami League, have enter the party during the last twelve years.
This is becoming a great concern for the party as was evident from the statements of its central leaders throughout the last few years. Awami League hence need to strategically move forward to protect itself from an wrong intrusion while keeping the option of party’s growth open and that is going to be a challenging task for its leaders in the upcoming days.
Recently it was informed that the Awami League is going to remove 18,000 infiltrators from the party in a move to bring the party into harmony. The ruling party will execute its decision of kicking out the intruders in the party before the next national conference. It is claimed that the party has made a primary list of about 18,000 infiltrators. The district units have already sent the lists of infiltrators in their districts to the party. To identify the intruders, the party’s central working committee formed eight committees led by presidium members.
The top leaders made it very clear that they do not want any infiltrator inside the party. They also decided to suspend the rebel candidates and their backers from the party posts for violating party decisions in the upazila elections. After completing these two processes, the eight committees will ensure holding councils in districts, upazilas where the tenure of the committees has expired. They are going to strictly ban BNP-Jamaat leaders or activists and the accused of terrorism and criminal activities. The party sources seriously blamed infiltration of BNP-Jamaat men for the internal feuds in the party units at the grassroots level. Many Awami League leaders also made arrangement for the infiltrators to join the party to establish their authority which had a negative impact on the units.
Awami League even identified that since 2012, the infiltrators continued to enter the Awami League and they are working as the source of opposition. In many areas, many infiltrators were given posts. Awami League leaders stated several times that the infiltrators have become a cause of concern for the ruling party as they engaged themselves in criminal activities but the party became the target of criticism. Hence, from different aspects, the ruling party is facing trouble due to this intrusion and serious measures are expected against them to bring back discipline in the party soon as the party leaders claimed.
Bangladesh Awami League is negatively impacted by these intruders in several ways. Firstly, these intruders are getting inside the party with good posts and positions which making the sacrificing leaders and activists dissatisfied or uncomfortable. Despite their hard works over the years for the welfare of the party, they are being deprived.
Secondly, on several instances, there had been clashes of the ideologies as these intruders are not aligning themselves with the common goal of the party. Thirdly, the inside information is now not safe with these infiltrators – strategies, action plans and everything else may freely flow to the oppositions.
Lastly, these intruders are severely damaging the chain of command inside the party which is giving rise to rebellious attitude inside. In short, these intruders can be very dangerous for safeguarding of the party’s future. But despite these issues, eliminating them might hurt the growth of the party as well as can contradict spreading of party’s ideologies.
To grow as a political entity, any party requires inclusion of new leaders and activists. These new resources can easily come from opposition parties. An activist can switch sides if his old party contradicts his values. Shift of ideologies is not a new thing even in the global politics. It is a party’s core work to create and collect new activists and leaders for its own growth. Being able to take in a good resource of the opposition can be termed as a success for a party. But here this shift should be on the basis of adjustment of principles rather than personal or political profitability.
But even if a former leader of an opposition party shifts to Awami League principles and uphold the ideology of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, there is no harm in taking him in as he might add significant value. If an opposition leader wants to shift because he thinks he can serve the fellow countrymen better from his new party, then also he can be a great asset for his new party. But personal benefits or sabotaging mentality can be a fierce problem.
Hence, Awami League should be very careful in removing intruders keeping the party’s growth in mind. Moreover, while making the list of 18,000 intruders, vindictive attitude of the party’s own leaders might also cause elimination of the good but migrated leaders. So, it cannot be a hasty process rather should be a slow and steady one.
Not only the intruders but also the original leaders of the party should be evaluated to secure the future of Awami League. To attain the goals set in Vision 2021 and 2041, it is required to build future leadership. If good future leaders are not developed, the party will not be able to continue marching forward. Moreover, scopes have to be created for new leadership to come forward but that must be based on few criterions.
Today is a good period for the ruling party as they are enjoying the power of the government for the consecutive third term with evidently no proper opposition. Today’s position of Awami League is a complete contribution of party president Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She has been remarkable in solely taking the country forward. She has transformed herself into a global leader during the last decade. Her blend of strong uncompromising leadership along with tremendous humanity has been exemplary. But she cannot pull the party forward for a very long time alone. Hence, it is highly required that proper leadership in different tiers is nurtured and developed. For that, the works of current leaders and activists during the bad times of Awami League needs to be evaluated.
The evaluation of Awami League leaders should be done based on their works, contributions and efforts during three periods – during the liberation war period; after 1975 till 1996; and from 2001 till 2008. Those periods are crucial to identify the dedication of the leaders and activists.
Added with that, evaluation of political background and ideology must be considered. But a leader should not be disrespected due to different political ideology of his family members as even the son of a Jamaat leader might uphold the principles of Bangabandhu and he should not be deprived.
Most importantly, contribution of a political leader or activist to the society must be evaluated. That, what he has done for his community during the times of need must get priority. Like; during the dengue outbreak, if a leader or activist has conducted a cleanliness drive, he should be recognized for his effort for social welfare. If a leader is not committed to the people and the society, there is no point of being from a great political background. This should be an integration of past, present and future of a leader or activist.
After evaluating the party leaders and workers, the party must focus on spreading its ideology inside and outside the party. Awami League wants to achieve the dream of Bangabandhu–‘Golden Bangla’ and the party must ensure that all its leaders and workers are committed to this goal. To ensure that, arrangement of regular councils is very important. The council must take place centrally as well as at divisional, district, Upazilla and even unit levels. Good leaders based on the above mentioned criterion must be brought forward as Awami League now must focus on getting closer to the people.
Moreover, the principle of Bangabandhu must be reinstated in the hearts of all leaders and workers through arrangement of different workshops–a great tool to spread knowledge. The workers and leaders must be well aware of party’s strategy and vision and these workshops can be very helpful in that. Creating a solid political human resource pool is important in current context. We can learn from Congress or BJP of our neighbouring country India who put proper focus on developing political workforce and creating leadership. If we also cannot do so, then progress of Bangladesh will face barriers in the future years.
It is not a matter of eliminating intruders rather it is to create future leaders on which not only Awami League but also any other political parties of the country should concentrate on.
Bangladesh Awami League during the last decade has written its name in golden letters in the history of Bangladesh. As we as a country have experienced huge developments, seen improvements in human indices and reached new heights globally during that period. To serve this country in a much better way, Awami League should not limit its scope in terms of human resources though protecting ideologies must be a priority. We hope they will focus on creating leaders rather than eliminating intruders as it is time to set the right priorities.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)