Now Islamist parties crave Awami League’s attention

Salman Tareque Sakil
Published : 07:45, Jul 14, 2018 | Updated : 22:25, Jul 14, 2018

Logo of different Islamist partiesWith the national election due late this year, Islamist parties have moved to form alliances among like-minded parties or come on a negotiation to get the attention of ruling Awami League, people familiar with the matter said.
Some Islamist parties may do otherwise mulling the possibility of joining the Opposition Jatiya Party-led alliance.
Leaders of four Islamist parties – Islami Okya Jote (IOJ faction), Bangladesh Islami Okya Jote, Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan and Tarikat Federation are trying to get closer to the ruling AL.
Of them, IOJ faction Chairman Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury is going to form an alliance on July 21 while the Islami Andolone opts for no-alliance policy, party insiders said.
New alliance led by IOJ’s Misbahur Rahman
The new alliance is likely to be called ‘People’s Democratic Alliance’ and 10 more like-minded parties gave their consent to join in the alliance, said advocate Nurul Islam, who is coordinating the formation of the alliance.
Islam is also the possible secretary general of the alliance.
Joining of four more registered parties in the alliance hangs on the balance for now.
If formed, its leaders will seek the appointment with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and they will decide whether to include these four parties.
The new alliance will, however, be pro-government and uphold the Liberation War spirit. “We will act as pro-liberation forces and our declaration is nearly finalized,” said Nurul Islam, who is the Chairman of Democratic Islamist Movement.
Khilafat Majlis may ally with Jatiya Party
Founded by late Allama Azizul Haque, Bangladesh Khilafat Majlis (BKM) is strongly mulling to ally with the ‘United National Alliance’ led by incumbent Opposition Jatiya Party (JP), according to party sources.
The party already had talks with the JP on the matter.
But several party leaders don’t want the BKM joins the alliance alone rather they want to walk with some other like-minded parties to fall under the JP’s umbrella.
Speaking to Bangla Tribune, JP Presidium Member Sunil Shuvo Roy said, “BKM allying with us is a positive side, but we can’t specify the date when they will come.”
“However, their talks with JP were very positive,” said Roy, who is Political and Press Affairs Secretary to JP President HM Ershad.
Islami Okya Jote for greater negotiation on polls
The IOJ, who left the BNP-led 20-party alliance in December 2016, wrote to AL President Sheikh Hasina on February this year seeking 20 seats to contest in the national polls.
The IOJ leaders said they have been trying to form a greater alliance among the Islamist parties, but yet to get any positive response.
Now they are trying to negotiate for a poll-time Islamist alliance. If they failed they may join the JP-led alliance, according to the party insiders.
Citing IOJ following a moderate way, its Chairman Abdul Latif Nizami told Bangla Tribune, “We are trying to give at least one representative of the Islamist party at 300 parliamentary seats.”
“Time hasn’t come yet to compromise with others, if any party can take IOJ then it would be considered,” Nizami said.
Tarikat Federation for alliance too
Former secretary general of Tarikat Federation lawmaker MA Awal has been working over the past one year to form an alliance in favour of AL.
To his efforts, he had for five parties including on registered political party.
Speaking to Bangla Tribue, Awal said, “It is a demand of the time to form an effective alliance by Islamist parties that uphold the spirit of religions, non-communalism and Liberation War,”
“I have talked to leaders of pro-Trikat and other parties, which are based on madarasa and majar (shrine), and they have given a positive feedback,” Awal said.
Islami Andolon says no to alliance
The Islami Andolan Bangladesh chief Syed Md Rezaul Karim has finalized its candidates for all 300 constituencies in the next general election taking a ‘no-alliance policy’.
IAB spokesperson Moulana Gazi Ataur Rahman told Bangla Tribune, “We, on behalf of the people, want a transparent and qualitative change in politics.”
“Those who repeatedly made the country champion of corruption in the past, those are now up to the chin in corruption and those are abetting them, why should we ally with them?” said the IAB secretary general.
Other Islamist parties on alliance
Bangladesh Islami Front – a member of the JP-led alliance, wants to move to AL-led 14-party alliance. Jamiat Ulama (Kasemi) may leave the BNP-led 20-party alliance ahead of the polls while Nizam-e-Islam Party (Izhar) agrees to ally with BNP.
Speaking to Bangla Tribune, AL Presidium Member Dr Abdur Razzak said, “If any religion-based party that upholds the Liberation War spirit wants to join our alliance we will welcome them.”
AL Religious Affairs Secretary Abdullah said, “Our leader (Sheikh Hasina) says the 14-party alliance will be extended more with all parties that uphold the spirit of Liberation War and believe the ideology of Bangabandhu ahead of the national election.”
Since then, Islamists parties have been contacting to us and we are keeping touch with them too.” Abdullah said.
On Jul 7, HT Imam, the political affairs adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at an interaction with senior fellows of a Delhi-based think-tank, quashed an allegation on the AL government bending to Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam’s pressure.
Imam said, “(You people) see, the number of the followers of Hefazt. Hundreds of thousands of Qouami students are involved with the organisation. So, they can’t be dealt with force it brings the opposite result.”
“So, we have dealt with the Hefazat tactfully and started getting the outcome. Now, many Quami students have started supporting Awami League now,” he said.