Associate organizations of political parties create concerns
Published : Tuesday, 21 September, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 675
On several occasions, the ruling political party of Bangladesh, Awami League has issued statements regarding unauthorized wings of the party. Many organizations were formed during the last decade using the name of Awami League or the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. On many instances, the activities of these organizations raised concerns or questions. Not only Awami League but also all other major political parties should not allow their new unauthorized wings to get engaged in acts which put black marks of the party. Hence, it is important that these parties check on the requirements and activities of their unauthorized or even authorized wings.
On Saturday, Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader has foiled the founding anniversary function of an organization called 'Muktijoddha Projonmo League' at the Awami League central office premises at Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital. He termed that organization as a 'parasite' organization as he objected on using the words like 'League' or 'Awami' with an organization. He also pointed out that such organizations mainly get indulge with extortion. He also urged all the central leaders of Awami League to not attend the meetings or events of these organizations in any way. Obaidul Quader called these organizations fake earlier in 2014 also. We appreciate his steps and hope these will continue.
The number of such unauthorized bodies of Awami League has crossed the 200-mark while the party has only seven associate organizations--Juba League, Krishak League, Tanti League, Mahila League, Juba Mahila League, Swechchhasebak League, AwamiAinjibi Parishad--and two brotherly organizations named Chhatra League and Jatiya Sramik League, according to Awami League leaders. Especially after Awami League assumed power in 2009, hundreds of parasite organizations have emerged like mushrooms with names of Bangabandhu, his family members and the Liberation War tagged to their names and most of these organizations have no real activities but to use the party's name for personal benefits. They often engage the top leaders of the ruling party as their advisors or top committee members, an effort to legalize the organization.
Not only Awami League but also other top political parties like BNP or Jatiya Party is having the same experience. For example; many organizations are using the name of BNP or Ziaur Rahman in unauthorized way. Sadly, these organizations do not uphold the values or principles of the party. These are only for gaining personal, business or political benefits today or tomorrow. Hence, all political parties must strongly eliminate such parasite affiliated organizations for the sake of the party's future as these organizations only take the party away from the people.
While the ruling party, Awami League, seems very serious about the unauthorized associate organizations, they need to identify the justification of their authorized ones too. These organizations are also found involved in several anti-social or illegal activities. It is true for all major political parties of Bangladesh. For example, though the weaving is almost an extinct profession now-a-days, Tanti League is present in every corner of the country. If there are very few weavers throughout the country, there is no justification of Tanti League.
Moreover, who the members of Tanti League are remains a mysterious question. On top of that, Tanti League has nationwide spread including large cities like Dhaka. But there is no weaver at Dhaka and hence, the activity of Tanti League remains a question. Several other associate organizations have the same scenario and these associate organizations also need to be justified.
Both Awami League and country's largest opposition party BNP has their own student and youth wing. Awami League has Chhatra League and Jubo League while BNP has Chhatra Dal and Jubo Dal. Jamaat-e-Islami also has their student wing named ChhatraShibir. To become a member of Chhatra League or Dal, the first requirement should be to be a student. But unfortunately, studentship has no relation with being the members of these organizations today.
Previously, these student wings were based at different campuses. But today, every ward or union has its own Chhatra League or Dal committee comprised of the young guns who usually gets involved in crimes like extortion, murder, eve teasing, rape, land grabbing, drug dealing and many things else. They are the most ferocious group today. Uneducated and youths, dropped out from education, easily gets a position in these student wings of large political parties as the political leaders use these destroyed youths to achieve personal benefits.
The student politics is prohibited by almost all democratic nations. Political parties of the Western world do not have any student wing. The students learn about politics at educational institutions and they practice politics at their own campus to uphold the student issues only. The scenario is different in the sub-continent though. Campus politics in India has increasingly been getting attention in all spheres- academic and otherwise- recently.
But their politics is mostly limited to campus and different human rights issues and do not have committees at ward levels like Bangladesh. It is often found that, the Chhatra League or Dal activists are gathering at organization's offices late at night. But why those activists, who are supposed to be students, are gathered late at night is unknown and hints towards wrongdoings.
The definition of youth seems useless when we look into the members of Jubo League or Dal. Though these are youth wings of the largest political parties, most of their members are over 40 years of age. How a person over 40 can represent youth remains another question. The members of these youth organizations are also often found involved in illegal activities. Mahila League or Mahila Dal should work to ensure the rights of the women in our society but their activity remains limited to attend different rallies and meetings while standing behind the top leaders. Hence, the justification of these associate organizations is very vague.
Bangladesh is going through a strong development phase under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina right now. To continue and sustain this development, we will require skilled human resource. But current political scenario, especially the student politics, is destroying that scope. During the post-1971 scenario, student politics was necessary and they played a huge role in ensuring the rights of people at that time. But in an independent country like Bangladesh, student politics is not a necessity. If any human rights related concern surface, then the students can raise their voice without any political banner. Hence, student politics for the sake of creating muscle power for the leaders should be eliminated.
The political parties are registered under the Election Commission and different associate organizations are mostly registered under the Ministry of Social Welfare. These registering authorities have huge responsibility to monitor the activities of these political parties or associate organizations. They should regularly call for the audited statements and compliance documents of these parties or organizations and check if anything is not in order. Moreover, they should be very careful in giving registration and also should regularly review the status of these parties and organizations. If necessary, the registration should be cancelled by them so that, all with registration work under their exact scope and carry on with their responsibilities.
It is high time for the political parties to identify if their associate organizations are doing any good for them or are taking them away from the people. We often hear that the members of these associate organizations are putting the ordinary people under troubles from many aspects and that can distance the political parties from the people. In the long run, the political parties will have to pay for that. We commend the actions of the Awami League general secretary regarding parasite associate organizations but similar actions are required for authorized associate organizations too.
As a Bangladeshi citizen, our main priority should be the progress of the country and the welfare of people. But unfortunately, the associate organizations of different political parties seem to act just opposite to the good cause. Hence, we hope the political parties will be very care about these organizations and will keep them if only justified as none should compromise the interest of Bangladesh and its citizens.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla
and Chief Patron, Bangabandhu
Shishu Kishore Mela