Vol. 5 Num 912 Wed. December 20, 2006  

Victory eludes AL in Tangail-6 for long-running party feud

Victory eluded Awami League for long in Tangail-6 (Nagarpur) constituency, once its stronghold, just due to intra-party feud.

Awami League could not win the parliamentary seat since 1973 election though it has good organisational strength. The issue is being discussed in party rank and file but front ranking district leaders are unmoved, frustrating party workers, insiders said.

The party is divided into many factions over candidature for the coming election also, they said. AL candidates were defeated by BNP men in the constituency in last two elections.

Failing to narrow rivalry between party leaders, AL Presidium Member and veteran leader Abdul Mannan contested from the constituency in 1991 election but he was also defeated by BNP's Khondokar Abu Taher with a margin of 14,909 votes. Mannan however won from Tangail-5 (Sadar and Delduar upazilas.

After the 1991 election, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) leader Khondokar Abdul Baten joined AL along with his followers in 1992. Some local (Nagarpur) AL leaders and activists were disappointed over his joining AL and started opposing Baten.

Baten ran in 1996 election as an AL candidate but was defeated by BNP's Gautam Chakroborty. The vote difference however narrowed down to 1,950.

Baten got the party ticket again and contested in 2001, but was defeated by 4-party alliance candidate Gautam Chakroborty with a margin of 1,878 votes.

Many party leaders blamed the then Nagarpur upazila AL president Golam Mohammad Khan Tareque for the defeat. Denied of party ticket, he contested the election as an independent candidate and got only 16,462 votes. Golam Mohammad died in a road accident on May 3, 2002. Grassroots level party men and political circles then thought that the inter-party feud in Nagarpur AL would come to an end.

But this remained a far cry. Several AL leaders are aspiring for nomination and declared their candidature from the constituency in the coming election.

Prominent among the contenders are Golam Mohammad's nephew and Tangail district AL industry and commerce secretary Khan Tareque Ahsanul Islam Titu, assistant secretary of a central AL sub-committee Tareque Shams Khan Himu, industrialist SK Abdur Rahim Ilias, Maj (rtd) Tayebuddin Khan and Khorshed Alam Babul, a former member of national football team.

Ahsanul Islam Titu, Tareque Shams Khan Himu and SK Abdur Rahim Ilias are campaigning in the areas, assuring their party workers that they would get nomination.

Party sources said Ahsanul Islam Titu is involved in various social and political activities for about two year and lobbying with party high-ups for ticket for the coming election.

Commenting on his uncle Golam Mohammad Khan Tareque's opposition to Khondokar Abdul Baten in last two elections, Ahsanul Islam Titu said, "That was Baten's failure. He could not unite party men."

Tareque Shams Khan Himu is also holding meetings with party workers and attending public functions.

Asked about AL's failure in 1996 and 2001 elections, he said this was due to fielding a weak candidate. When pointed out that Baten lost the two elections with narrow margins, he declined to comment.

He however admitted that inter-party feud was the main reason behind AL's defeat in the two last elections.

"AL will regain the Jatiya Sangsad seat defeating possible alliance candidate Gautam Chakroborty if I get the party ticket in coming election," Himu claimed.

When contacted, Baten said he was defeated by BNP candidate in last two elections with little margins due to hostility by some party men.

He said he would get alliance nomination in the coming election also. "Grassroots party leaders and workers are aware of the feud and they will work for me", he said.

Some dedicated leaders said Awami League has good prospect in the coming election if the party high-ups can narrow down the gap somehow.

Clockwise(From Top Left): Khandoker Baten, Ahsanul Islam Titu, Tareque Shams Himu and SK Abdur Rahim