Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed the top brass of her ruling Awami League to end all internal feuds and to strictly monitor the admission of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami members into the party.
The move follows a feedback session hosted by party president Sheikh Hasina at Ganabhaban on Saturday at which grassroots AL leaders complained that BNP-Jamaat men were infiltrating the party.
They said clashes and internal feuds among local leaders, lawmakers and associate bodies were becoming “commonplace” as a result.
Hasina heard the complaints and instructed the senior leaders to check the inflow of BNP-Jamaat members and to make all the party workers unite and work together towards winning the next national polls in 2019.
According to reports, several thousand activists of Jamaat and BNP joined the rival Awami League following the 2014 national elections, which led to frequent clashes between rival factions.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said on Monday that the party’s top leaders had agreed a plan to combat the issue which will be presented at the next meeting of the AL Central Working Committee.
“The recruitment of former BNP-Jamaat men for the Awami League will now need permission from the party’s central command,” he said.
Obaidul made the announcement at a press conference on Monday after chairing a meeting of AL Joint General Secretaries Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Dr Dipu Moni and Jahangir Kabir Nanak, and Office Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap, at Sheikh Hasina’s political office in Dhanmondi.
He also said the party would start renewing the memberships of existing members as well as recruiting new ones – an initiative that party chief Sheikh Hasina launched by renewing her own membership.
“I, too, renewed my membership on Saturday,” he said. “All members of the Awami League should renew their membership.”
Obaidul also said religious extremism remained one of the biggest challenges for the ruling party.
“It is like a poisonous tree to us. To be free from such rubbish, we want to reconstruct our grassroots level to build the Awami League as a more disciplined, smart and active political party,” the general secretary said.
“Most of the existing lawmakers in the party are good (but) every member must work together for the betterment of the party.”
The Awami League spokesperson said all the sub-committees of the party would be reformed before Eid-ul-Fitr next month.
Addressing BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s remark that Awami League was practising “nasty politics”, Obaidul said: “BNP introduced destructive politics in Bangladesh, so it is funny that Khaleda would tell us to refrain from nasty politics.”