Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Split in Rajshahi AL surfaces: Liton loyalists demand expulsion of Tajul followers fo r violating party decision in city corporation polls

After the victory in Rajshahi mayoral elections, the feud in Rajshahi Awami has come into the open while some bigwigs in the local committees are publicly saying about change in the leadership to 'ensure victory in next polls'.

The split will certainly affect the party's vote bank in next upazila and parliamentary polls, a number of party insiders told this correspondent. The party's fate in the two elections will be uncertain without changes in leadership, they added.

The difference between the groups loyal to city AL general secretary AHM Khairuzzaman Liton and district AL president Tajul Islam M Faruk surfaced during campaign for the August 4 city corporation polls when Tajul backed the 'rebel candidate' and city AL president Masudul Haque Dulu instead of Liton.

After Liton won the polls, the split became quite open as grassroots leaders and workers loyal to him demanded action against those who worked against him (Liton) defying party decision.

At two meetings of Liton loyalists held on August 8 and 10 in the city, party leaders and workers identified Tajul, Dulu, city AL vice-presidents Mir Iqbal, Bazlar Rahman, Tabibur Rahman and Mostak Ahmed Labu as 'violators' of the party's decision as regards the mayoral polls.

They demanded expulsion of those leaders branding them 'unnecessary' and 'conspirators'.

Senior AL leaders including Sardar Amjad Hossain and AL adviser Prof Abdul Khaleque expressed solidarity with the grassroots claim and said those who conspired against AL should be identified and brought to book.

After the meetings, acting city AL general Secretary Shafikur Rahman Badsha told newsmen, "A recommendation for expulsion of conspirators inside the party will be sent soon to Dhaka for approval".

He said, a change in the leadership may occur any time as the demand is growing from inside the party.

He said the 'rebel' candidate and his men spoiled over 5000 votes though Liton won the election.

On the other hand, feeling somehow cornered, Tajul blamed Liton and district AL general secretary Omar Faruk Chowdhury for 'creating intra-party rivalry'.

At a press conference on August 10, he claimed that he did not work for or against any one in the city corporation polls and so the demand for his expulsion for working against party's candidate is illogical.

He also blamed Omar Faruk for using influence of Liton against him.

The feud between Liton and Tajul began years ago over establishing supremacy in leadership.

Tajul blamed Liton and Omar Faruk for working against him in January 22, 2007 general election in Rajshahi-4 (Puthia-Durgapur). The election was cancelled later.

Party sources claimed that there were two other reasons behind the rivalry between Liton and Tajul. These are murder attempt on Tajul on February 2004 at Bagha and false case against his son-in-law and journalist Jahangir Alam Aakash.

"For these very reasons, I did not work for Liton or any one else in last poll", Tajul said while talking to this correspondent.

Liton said, "I have no personal enmity with him (Tajul). He took me as a rival when I was trying to organise the party in BNP-Jamaat dominated areas in different upazilas",

Some Liton loyalists claimed that Tajul's men have no support among grassroots workers, which was proved in the last city corporation polls.

However, Tajul's supporters claimed that presence of presidents and secretaries of 15 upazila committees out of 18 in the district in a post-election party meeting called by them proves that they enjoy majority support.

Liton's supporters brushed aside the claim, saying those who showed up at Tajul's meeting are members of his pocket committees.

Party insiders however think the crisis in the party started since Tajul and Omar Faruk was elected district AL president and secretary respectively in September 2005.

Although Tajul and Omar Faruk were responsible for forming district and upazila committees within three weeks, they could not do it so far except some pocket committees formed by Tajul, they said.

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