Inside Politics

UP elections: What is behind the sinking of the boat?


The third phase of Union Parishad (UP) elections took place last Sunday. Amidst violence, ballot paper snatching, and attempts to infiltrate polling centers, the election ended with various irregularities and controversies. In many districts, boat symbols have been victorious in the third phase, despite facing tough competition due to internal conflicts, rivalries, and power struggles among local MPs, ministers, and top-level leaders.

Critics accuse influential leaders within the ruling Awami League of working against boat symbol candidates. They claim that due to internal disputes, conflicts, and power-based politics at the district and sub-district levels, boat candidates faced difficulties even in the third phase. Nearly 47% of boat symbols were defeated, according to unofficial results revealed by the election commission.
Rebel and independent candidates have gained ground in these UP elections. Local Members of Parliament and influential leaders have played a role in working against boat symbol candidates. Allegations of campaigning against boat candidates and their supporters have been raised by leaders of the local Awami League.

Throughout the election process, approval has been given to identified and disputed individuals, including terrorists, drug dealers, family members of Razakars, and suspects in murder-rape cases. The local Awami League leaders had informed the party's central office about this matter, as stated by the party's general secretary Obaidul Quader.

In these UP elections, boat symbols have been defeated by members of rival parties and independent candidates. Meanwhile, the central Awami League leaders are blaming local leaders for the losses. Allegations of manipulating nominations with money from Dhaka without considering local interests have been raised against them. Besides, there are allegations of issuing threats and creating a hostile environment. Murders and violence are also on the rise, with most victims being associated with the Awami League.

The center accuses the MPs and district-subdistrict leaders. However, the Trinamool leaders accuse the center. They allege that money was used to nominate boat candidates from Dhaka. Amid these allegations of switching sides, there are also threats and intimidation. Murders are on the rise. Everyone is their own opponent. Almost all the victims of violence are Awami League leaders and activists.

However, the Election Commission secretary has stated that the election is going well and will improve further. And the Home Minister says that such conflicts are common in UP elections.

To understand the reasons behind the boat's struggles in these elections, Bangla Insider spoke to SM Kamal Hossain, the organizational secretary of the Awami League. He explained that in UP elections, clan, family, neighborhood, and community influences play a significant role in voters' decisions. To address this, they have started organizing extended meetings at the district and sub-district levels to educate people about the rebel candidates and their agenda. If that doesn't work, they will resort to organizational measures, he added.

In the information available in the media, it has been revealed that among the 992 UP elections held last Sunday, boat symbols won in 525 UPs, which accounts for approximately 52.92% of the total UPs. Rebel candidates from the Awami League won in 249 UPs, which is about 25.38% of the total UPs. The BNP's local leaders won as independents in 108 UPs, constituting approximately 11%.
In UP elections, only the chairman's position is contested on a party basis. Among the 15 UPs in Faridpur's Bhanga and Charbhadrasan upazilas, rebel candidates won in 14. In Natore, Lalpur, and Bagatipara upazilas, only 5 out of the 15 UPs elected boat candidates. In Dinajpur, among the 23 UPs in three upazilas, 16 were won by boat candidates. Among them, nine UPs in Nawabganj upazila, four out of seven in Birampur upazila, and four out of seven in Fulbari upazila were won by boat candidates.

On the other hand, out of the 25 Union Parishad chairmen positions in three upazilas of Netrokona, boat symbol candidates won in only 8, while independents won in 16, and one election is postponed. In Munshiganj Sadar upazila and Tongibari upazila, Awami League-affiliated candidates won in 10 out of a total of 21 Union Parishads. In contrast, independent candidates won in 11 UPs. Besides, in districts like Kushtia, Cumilla, Rajbari, and Satkhira, the boat symbol did not perform well.

To understand the reasons behind the boat symbol's defeats in these areas, Bangla Insider spoke to AFM Bahauddin Nasim, a joint general secretary of the Awami League. He explained that the Awami League will contest UP elections with boat symbol candidates. Since there is no opposition, the Awami League is allowing people to run for elections through commerce. In places where the opposition is absent, the Awami League is indirectly electing its candidates through commerce without fielding them directly.

Analysts suggest that eligible and acceptable leaders are not nominated as candidates but, instead, commerce is used to gain support from the divided public. This strategy often results in boat candidates losing. The lack of enthusiasm from district leadership and a similar disinterest from the central authority contributes to these losses. Critics claim that party leadership is responsible for nominating unsuitable candidates for the chairman positions, which ultimately affects the party's performance in these elections.

UP   Awami League  


Inside Politics

BNP leaders suffer from mental trauma: Quader

Publish: 06:38 PM, 19 May, 2024


Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said BNP leaders are making absurd comments, as they are suffering from mental trauma.

He said this while replying to a question after joining a programme in a city hotel. About BNP leaders claim that AL men also didn’t cast their votes in elections, Quader said, “This
claim of BNP is not true.”

The Election Commission announced that 30-40 percent votes were cast in the upazila polls while 42pc voters exercised their franchise in the national polls.

If 42 pc people cast their votes, then how voters boycott polls, he questioned.

“Actually BNP leaders are suffering from mental trauma. That is why, they are making absurd comments in free style. Their comments are not realistic,” he said.

Asked about BNP’s fresh preparation to wage movement, the AL general secretary said BNP has right to wage movement as a political party.

“If BNP wages movement in a peaceful manner, we will face them politically,” he said. But if they carry out arson attack or make sabotage likewise the past in the name of movement, the government will take actions accordingly and AL will also face them politically, he said.

Awami League   Obaidul Quader  


Inside Politics

BNP leaders are tired, its activists frustrated: Quader

Publish: 01:55 PM, 20 Mar, 2024


Awami League (AL) General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said BNP leaders are talking nonsense as they are tired, and their activists are frustrated.
"The party (BNP) leaders are now criticizing the government blindly in the name of iftar party. In fact, I don't know whether it is 'iftar party' or 'criticise party'. They are organizing those ifatr parties only to criticize the Awami League, not to praise Almighty Allah," he said.
The AL general secretary told reporters after a view-exchange meeting with the leaders of Sramik League and Krishak League of Dhaka south and north units at AL central office in the city's Bangabandhu Avenue.

Quader said, "It is necessary to reply with the rubbish, if the BNP lies. They (BNP) should stop lying, he said.
About an allegation of creating conflict and splitting the BNP, he said, "Why will we create a split in the BNP? We have no weaknesses. Awami League has many leaders and activists. The countrymen witnessed a massive crowd during the collecting of AL nomination forms ahead of the last parliamentary polls. The Awami League has no crisis."

Over the 'Kings' Party', the AL general secretary, said the Awami League has no need to create any Kings' Party. There are many people who want to form a political party before the polls to get gratuitous benefits, he said.
Over the allegation of the joining of Shakib Al Hasan to 'Kings Party', Quader said, "I noticed the issue in the media. I have no idea about the matter. But, Shakib participated in the election with AL ticket and won. He got the primary membership of the party before seeking nomination."
Criticising a comment by a BNP leader, the minister said BNP thinks that some countries will put them in power. But, the reality is that the people are the owners of the country, and they will decide who go into power, he said, adding there is no possibility to change the government without the support of the people.
About a report on democracy of an observer team from the US, "We have our own criteria of democracy. No one is perfect in the world. We also know it. A former president of the US has claimed that if he didn't get elected, bloodbaths would have happened in the country. What type of democracy is it? Even the former president didn't accept the elected president of the USA till now. So, it is difficult to understand the criteria of democracy."
Quader said military rulers and their allies were in power for 21 years in Bangladesh and there were no practices of democracy. Later, a political party had formed the government, but it is regrettably true that they also did farce election on February 15 in the name of democracy, he said.
About the prices of essentials, the AL general secretary said the prices of some commodities have already been reduced. The government is also trying to reduce the prices of other essential commodities, he said.
AL organizing secretaries - BM Mozammel Haque and Mirza Azam, office secretary Barrister Biplob Barua, deputy office secretary Sayem Khan, executive members Sahabuddin Farazi and Anisul Islam, among others, were present.

Awami League   Obaidul Quader  


Inside Politics

Quader suggests BNP make preparations for next election instead of next movement

Publish: 04:24 PM, 16 Feb, 2024


Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Friday advised BNP to prepare for the next general election instead of thinking about the next movement.

He made the suggestion at a joint meeting of the party held at the Awami League central office in the capital this morning.

Regarding BNP's movement until victory, Quader said Mirza Fakhrul has become overwhelmed with daydreams after getting out of jail.

At the time, the AL leader stated that, “BNP should recognise that the issue of issue-based movement in the country cannot be found while the people's administration is in power.”

In his introductory speech at the joint meeting, Quader said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu, has brought great honour to the country by participating in the Security Conference in Germany. Today, the democratic world has unhesitatingly accepted the importance of Bangladesh.”

"The geopolitical position of Bangladesh is fertile ground for many of our enemies. Many falcons have eyes on the Bay of Bengal and St. Martin. However, Sheikh Hasina's government has led to the success of balanced diplomacy", he added.

At this time, Quader said that the party president instructed the divisional in-charge to resolve the internal disputes of the party, including the formation of the expired committee.

Obaidul Quader   Awami League   Mirza Fakhrul   BNP  


Inside Politics

2024 election was the fairest since 1975: PM

Publish: 10:45 AM, 08 Feb, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said this year's January 7 polls were the freest, fairest and most credible in Bangladesh after 1975.

"I think the election that was held in Bangladesh on January 7 this year was the freest, fairest and most neutral since 1975," she told a view exchange meeting with Tungipara Awami League leaders and activists at her official Ganabhaban residence.

Sheikh Hasina said the BNP-Jamaat wanted to foil the January 7 polls by doing various misdeeds. But the most important thing of the election is that the people spontaneously went to the polling stations and cast their vote, she said.

Mentioning that the journey ahead is not so easy, the Prime Minister said "Many obstacles have to be overcome. Many conspiracies surround this Bangladesh."

The people of Bangladesh have become financially secure today, she said, adding, people of Bangladesh are getting food today and are receiving treatment easily.

She went on saying, over 30 types of medicines are given free of charge through community clinics and today there is no need to bring old clothes from abroad.

Sheikh Hasina said that they have arranged rice and clothes as well as ensured medical treatment and education for the country's people. "In this way we are working for the welfare of people."

Regarding the commodity prices, she said that global food prices have increased, and that is why the government has to pay a huge amount of money to buy fertilisers, seeds, wheat, fuel oil, edible oil and gas.

"We have to buy many things from abroad. As the price of everything has gone up, the cost of transportation has gone up because of the Ukraine-Russia war," she added.

The head of government noted that there is a little difficulty for those who have a fixed income, saying "if we all cultivate the uncultivated lands, then there will be no shortage of this food. Moreover, we can make more surplus, we can also give to the people."

Laying emphasis on brining uncultivated land under cultivation, she said "wherever there is fallow land, we should bring it under cultivation. We will do whatever we can to help. At the same time, we will make arrangement for marketing through cooperatives."

 Sheikh Hasina said, "We have a plan to store food grains in every district; When there is a surplus. We have already made arrangements to this end."

She urged everyone to be frugal in the use of electricity and water.

Addressing the chairmen and members of Union Parishads, the Prime Minister said that the government gives many projects and works, and those should be implemented properly.

"People should not be ticked off (seeing the bad work), rather they can bring confidence by seeing the work, and this trust is most needed," she added.


election   fairest  


Inside Politics

PM for patience regarding war-like situation in Myanmar: Law Minister

Publish: 10:01 AM, 06 Feb, 2024


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed the armed forces and paramilitary border guards of Bangladesh to have patience regarding the recent war-like situation in Myanmar between their government forces and insurgents.

Law Minister Anisul Huq, in absence of Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, on Monday said this while responding to a supplementary question from Opposition Chief Whip Mujibul Huq Chunnu in the parliament.

“Bangladesh is observing the situation closely and steps will be taken,” he said.

He said that today (Monday) some 78 Myanmar Border Police members entered Bangladesh, some of them with injuries.

He mentioned that these personnel have been kept in a school there and the injured persons were given treatment.

The law minister said that Instructions have been given to initiate dialogue with Myanmar through foreign ministry and send them back.

“If they are not able to send them back the next course will be taken,” he said.

The minister said that government is aware of this matter in Myanmar and steps have been taken to close down schools in areas close to Myanmar frontier.

Myanmar   Law Minister