Vol. 5 Num 400 Tue. July 12, 2005  

Rift in Rajshahi AL over Amjad issue

The rift in Rajshahi district Awami League widened as some 30 top leaders of the 51-member district committee on Sunday threatened to quit the party protesting what they said 'arbitrary activities' of its general secretary Tajul Islam Md Faruk.

Some of the disgruntled leaders at a press conference here on Sunday said Faruk violated the party high command's directive to welcome veteran politician Sardar Amjad Hossain and his followers at the Bagmara upazila AL council, scheduled to be held on July 17. Sardar Amjad left Jatiya Party (Ershad) and joined AL recently.

Talking to this correspondent, some party sources claimed that Sardar Amjad would be the best AL candidate to contest in the next general election from Bagmara-Mohonpur constituency, where Faruk is also an aspirant.

But Faruk and his followers cold-shouldered Amjad, they alleged at the press conference.

They said a team of party leaders called on AL chief Sheikh Hasina on Saturday night and handed over a letter demanding immediate dissolution of the district committee.

The party in Rajshahi now faces an 'image crisis' under Faruk's leadership, they alleged.

They told newsmen that they would step down from their posts and quit AL if proper action is not taken against Faruk.

The 30 leaders include acting president of Rajshahi AL Meraj Mollah, vice-presidents Mizanur Rahman, Quazi Abdul Awal, Saiful Islam Dulal, Badiuzzaman Robu, joint secretaries KM Shafikul Islam Naofel, Amanul Hasan Dudu and publicity secretary Monirul Islam Tajul.

In the letter submitted to the party high command, they alleged that Faruk, violating party constitution, formed different ward and municipal committees at his will, thereby dividing AL into many groups at Puthia, Durgapur, Bagmara, Tanore, Godagari, Paba, Bagha, Charghat and Mohonpur upazilas. He is also influenced by local BNP lawmakers, they alleged.

They said AL workers in Bagmara upazila welcomed the joining of Sardar Amjad in the party. But their spirit was dampened by "unwanted intervention" by Faruk.

"To undermine Amjad in the party, the general secretary (Faruk) asked party men not to select his followers as councilors. He even directed them not make Amjad a special guest at council preparatory meetings", said a senior AL leader.

The last council of bagmara AL was held in December 1996. Since then council could not be held for different reasons including intra-party feud, party sources said.

Talking to The daily Star, Tajul Islam Md Faruk, however, denied the allegations and said that certain groups in the party backed by the ruling alliance were spreading propaganda against him.

"I had talks with many of those 30 leaders who told me they do not belong to the protestors", he said.

On alleged irregularities in formation of party committees, he said those were formed in presence of central leaders and as per the party constitution.