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Former bureaucrats, army officers queuing up for AL ticket in next polls

  • Published at 08:07 pm August 16th, 2017
  • Last updated at 01:05 am August 17th, 2017
Former bureaucrats, army officers queuing up for AL ticket in next polls
The Awami League is set to hand tickets to compete in the next parliamentary election to a number of businessmen and former bureaucrats and military officers, party sources have revealed. Many of the aspiring candidates are so confident of receiving the ruling party’s nod, they have already started unofficial campaigning around the country. Several sources of the Awami League have confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune that the party will bring at least 60 to 70 new faces into politics ahead of the 11th national polls due between late 2018 and early 2019. However, an Advisory Council member who wished to remain anonymous said they would only give nominations to those candidates who can prove their commitment to the party and who fully support the 1971 Liberation War. “We could nominate around 100 or more (candidates),” the source said. “That’s not yet certain, but it’s quite sure that at least we will see 60-70 new faces in the next election.” The Awami League has a tradition of nominating businessmen, former bureaucrats and defence personnel to stand in parliamentary polls. Currently, the party has 170 Members of Parliament (MP) from these backgrounds. A member of the party’s Central Working Committee, asking not to be named, told the Dhaka Tribune that these new faces will replace lawmakers who have “generated controversies and failed to work properly for the Awami League and the people”. “A recent survey has found that there were accusations of corruption and irregularities against at least 50 lawmakers,” said the Awami League leader. “Not nominating them again will be their punishment. We are looking for their replacements in the next election.” Speaking with the Dhaka Tribune, Presidium Member Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya was unable to say how many businessmen, former bureaucrats and military officers will get the nominations. “The number of good candidates is increasing day by day. Only good and prominent candidates will get the nods,” he said. Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, one of the organising secretaries of the party, said businessmen are playing a role in taking the country towards progress. “If they want to join politics to serve the country more, we’ll welcome them,” he said. “(But) not just them. The Awami League will also welcome former bureaucrats and military personnel with the highest commitment.” Many aspiring candidates from these backgrounds have already started unofficial electoral campaigns in their areas of the country in a bid to convince the party’s high command of their acceptance among the voters. Those who have recently launched their campaigns include Square Hospital Director Dr Sanowar Hossain in Tangail; Brig (retd) Shahjahan Mandal in Panchagarh; former Agrani Bank Ltd director Balram Poddar in Barisal; and Abdul Mabud, the former director general of the passport division, in Jessore. Khalid, also the Dinajpur-2 MP, said: “Awami League’s parliamentary committee will evaluate every one of them before handing out nominations. If they are popular among the voters, they will get the nod. The number might even increase from 70 if we find more good candidates.” However, the party’s information and research secretary, Afzal Hossain, played down the importance of an individual candidate’s professional credentials. “It doesn’t matter who is from what background. If they believe in the Liberation War, work for the party and are popular among the voters, then they will get nominations,” he said. “In every election, we introduce some fresh and new faces as party candidates. It’s a normal process. If someone works for Awami League with commitment, then party chief Sheikh Hasina and the nomination board will consider them for nominations.” Afzal did not give the exact number of people who will be nominated to contest the next polls. Both Afzal and Khalid hinted that many of the present lawmakers who have not been working for the party and their constituencies properly might not receive nominations for the next election.
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