JL chair’s age limit controversy not yet over, say young leaders
The Jubo League, youth front of ruling Awami League, could not free itself from the age limit controversy as they have set fresh age threshold for leadership at 55 years.
Even many leaders of Awami League and its associate bodies questioned the age limit of Jubo League. They said the fresh age limit will be a bar to rebuilding the image of the organisation founded by Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni, nephew of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The criticism from all corners regarding the age of Jubo League chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury, who was relieved of the post on Sunday, made headlines. Omar Faruk was made chief of the organisation at the age of 64 years, he is 71 now.
According to National Youth Policy 2017, the people aged between 18 years to 35 years are regarded as youths.
Currently, Jubo League constitution has no age limit as the organisation abolished 40-year as age limit in its second congress in 1978. The decision of abolishing the provision of age limit was taken due to unfavourable political situation at that time.
Sheikh Moni was elected the first chairman of Jubo League in its first congress in 1974. At that time, he was 32 years old. Moni was assassinated on the fateful night of August 15 in 1975 when Bangabandhu along with his family members were brutally murdered.
In the second congress, Amir Hossain Amu was elected chairman. He was 38 years old at that time. Amu is now an advisory council member of Awami League.
Mehedey Hasan Roni, former vice-president of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and now a member of AL Forest and Environment sub-committee, told the Daily Observer, "The maximum age limit for Jubo League leadership should not cross 40 years as over 40 years are not youth."
He said Jubo League founder Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni was 32 when he was elected chairman of the organisation.
Roni said the fresh 55-year age limit may be set as it is not possible to drastically change the age limit.
According to former BCL leaders, they could not get entry to the Jubo League due to vested quarters who are elderly.
Talking with to this correspondent Jubo League Presidium Member Chayan Islam who was elected convenor of preparatory committee to hold the upcoming national congress of Jubo League, defended the fresh age limit saying the organisation needs commanding leaders.
He said their first priority is to hold a successful council to regain the trust in the organisation.
Chayan said the age limit of 55 years is final till now.
About his age, Chayan said after the determination of fresh age limit, he is not qualified for leadership of Jubo League. He, however, said it is Sheikh Hasina, our guardian who will take the final decision regarding the new leadership and he will obey the decision of the AL chief.
In the meeting with Jubo League at Ganobhaban on Sunday, Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked Amir Hossain Amu's age at the time of his being chairman of Jubo League. Amu said he was 38 years. At that time, Sheikh Hasina wanted to set the age limit at 45 years. However, Jubo League leaders insisted that the age limit need to be increased as the life expectancy of the people has increased.
Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed said it is not good that a man of 60 to 70 years become the leaders of Jubo League, youth front of Awami League.
At last, the AL chief said the age limit will be 55 years. Jubo League Presidium Member Mujibur Rahman Chowdhury and Faruk Hossain requested Sheikh Hasina to set the age limit from the next council not from the council to be held on November 23. In reply, Sheikh Hasina asked them to do politics of Awami League in districts as the district units need youth leadership.
In 1986, Mostafa Mohsin Montu, 37, was elected chairman, in 1996 Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim 47, was elected chairman, in 2003, Jahangir Kabir Nanak was elected chairman.
After Nanak, Omar Faruk Chowdhury became acting chairman of Jubo League from 2009 and he became chairman from 2012 in sixth congress.
Omar Faruk Chowdhury is the brother-in-law of Sheikh Selim who has a great influence in Jubo League.