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Herculean task ahead for Awami League’s convention

Ayub had no accountability to the public so he could do whatever he wanted with public money, but Awami League is a people's organisation committed to people
Abdul Gaffar choudhury
Herculean task ahead for Awami 
League’s convention

It is expected that after remaining in power for three terms Awami League's 21st convention will be celebrated with pomp and glory. In the next month (December) Dhaka will transform from a pauper to a princess.

Awami League formed 11 subcommittees to prepare for this convention. The budget is huge which will surpass the expenditure of the last national convention. Only one subcommittee— publicity and publication had spent 1crore 85 lakh taka in the last national conference. This time it will be increased manifold. Member secretary of the food subcommittee Kamrul Islam disclosed to a Bangla newspaper that for this convention of the main party and associate parties the food subcommittee has taken grand preparation. Food packets are prepared as following: for Krishok League 10,000 packets, for Sramik League 15000 packets, for Juba League and other associate parties 15000 packets, for Awami League 20,000 packets, for the central conference 30,000 packets. The publicity and publication subcommittee has arranged for the conference attendants jute bags consisting of the publication of Awami League with two chocolates, one water bottle, one writing pad and pen. Moreover, it will contain two CDs— one with the description of the economic development of the country, the other will contain BNP's destructive political activities. It is natural that the Awami conference will be a big event after their glorious rule of three terms. It may extend to a fourth term if people wish.

I am an octogenarian journalist. In my long life I have witnessed the beautification of Dhaka to make it a Tilottoma city. The most lavish and extravagant Dhaka I have seen was at the time of the dictator Ayub. To celebrate his 'decade development' a grand conference of basic democracy was held in Dhaka, perhaps in 1967 where President Ayub was present. The whole Dhaka was adorned with colourful lights. Although there was load shedding almost every day and night, the lighting that adorned all official buildings were not disturbed. Food wrapped in leaves was openly distributed in Dhaka Race Course (Suhrarwardy Uddayn). It took 7 days for Dhaka City Corporation to clear the racecourse after the event. The Awami conference will of course not have this extravagant luxury, but all members of the party and associate parties will assemble in Dhaka and an open conference will be held in the Suhrawardy Uddayn and we can expect a few lakh people's presence there along with Awami workers and leaders. Dhaka will take a new look.

The imminent Awami League conference will not be lavish and extravagant like Ayub's basic democracy conference. Ayub had no accountability to the public so he could do whatever he wanted with public money, but Awami League is a people's organization committed to people. So they cannot become extravagant with public money. Awami League's 21st national convention will be a remarkable one and decide the nation's future. It will not become a convention like Ayub's. It is not only my expectation but the expectation of the whole country. For a long time Awami League is in power under the prime ministership of Sheikh Hasina. Under this government economic progress of the country is tremendous. But the social development is not noticeable. What is noticeable is the decadency in every sphere of social life, especially the moral decadence in the new generation.  

Juba League and Chatra League (who gave blood in the war of independence) - the two student parties were once the van guards of educational and social progress and fought to save humanity, have now turned into a disgrace to the society. Recently a conference was held in the House of Commons in London where the MPs and eminent people assembled and demanded banning of student politics from Bangladesh if other measures failed to reform them. The main task of the national conference of Awami League this time will be a Herculean one. Of course, Awami League has already started anti-corruption drive primarily on Juba League and Chatra League and on itself. It created sensation in the country and Sheikh Hasina declared her intention to wipe out corruption not only from her parties but the entire country. But the most corrupted part of the main party, the MPs and the upazilla chairmen are still untouched.

A large number of infiltration by BNP and Jamaat leaders and workers have took place in Awami League and its associates especially Chatra League and Juba League. The party secretary Obaidul Quader declared that he is not worried about other parties, but these infiltrators. These infiltrators are so rich and influential in the society that it will be difficult to curb them instantly. A drive for purification of the party in power and its associates should continue for a prolonged period of time. Along with it, the bureaucracy which has become most powerful now should come under these purification drive. Undoubtedly, Sheikh Hasina is now an absolute leader in Bangladesh without a challenger and people trust her honesty and sincerity. But her party is neither popular nor powerful. They are in a disarray for their own misdeeds, especially the allegation against a large number of MPs of Awami League has tarnished the image of the party which was once deep-rooted in people's mind as their own party. Still Awami League is in power due to Hasina's leadership and popularity. This conference must find the path to restore the party's popularity and follow it sternly.

Awami League declared that corrupt and controversial leaders will not get a place in the new central executive committee. In their place young leaders will be taken, who has honesty and a clean image. In that respect there is also problem. Ordinarily, the new leaders were trained in Chatra League and Juba League and they came into the mainstream party. But it is now proved that these two youth organizations are also full of infiltrators, most of whom are dishonest and non-students. The removed president of Juba League was a 72 year old man. Awami League does not need this type of leaders. The new leaders should not be only recruited from the list of whom intelligence department has given clearance but they should be chosen by the people's approval. It will be very difficult to free the party from the nouveau riche classes. They have polluted the entire socioeconomic structure of the country from business to politics which are now under their grab. It is a world phenomenon. The global capitalism is their patron.

Sheikh Hasina should devise a way like Mahathir or Le Quan on how to fight the demon. I do not believe that hundred percent purification is possible of any political party in any country including communist countries in this present world situation. In Bangladesh at least these evils should be halted and Awami League should be rebuilt as a strong and popular one which cannot be dominated by a section of corrupt bureaucracy. The bureaucracy was thoroughly polluted during the Zia and Ershad era. Zia opened the gate of corruption by declaring 'money is no problem'. Ershad followed that policy more nakedly. To clear this Augean stable needs a corrective measure from Awami League taking people into confidence. This conference is the most important one for the nation because this is a crucial political time and if the national convention of Awami League failed people's much expected aspirations this time, then the country will plunge into a dark future.

London, Thursday 14 November, 2019

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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