Awami League was often called as the party of youth force. After the partition of 1947, the youth rebellion dreamt of an independent Bangladesh with the leadership of the Founding Father of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The spirit of the youth inspired the founding of AL against the Muslim League. Young Mujib sowed the seed of independence through the six-point movement. Our Liberation War was the tale of victory of the youth. AL meant the vibrance of youth. Now AL is almost 70-year old. The leadership of the party is in the hand of old members. So, what is the position of the youth in AL?
Political analysts are saying, AL is now standing in an epochal era. The 2018 election might be the last election of many senior AL leaders. Senior leaders like Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed may not be the candidates in the 12th parliamentary election. Political chapters of leaders like Imazuddin Pramanik, who did politics with Bangabandhu, may come to an end. Then comes leaders like Obaidul Quader, Mohammed Nasim, and Sheikh Selim who are also aged between 65 to 70 years. Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman who are considered young members of AL are also not that young. So, the question, how is the leadership next to them? How is the future of AL’s youth force?
When it comes to the youth of AL, the first name that comes to the picture is Sajeeb Wazed Joy. He is not just AL’s representative but also an idol to the young generation of the country. He may carry the flag of AL and lead the party. But, who will stand beside him? Are the youth coming to politics?
AL’s general secretaries are young. Enamul Haque Shamim was the vice-president of JACSU. Bahauddin Nasim earned popularity because of his loyalty toward the party. Barrister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Noufel, son of late Mohiuddin Chowdhury, also seems to be promising. However, when it comes to the central committee, there is hardly any sign of youth force. Mirza Azam is the only person in the central committee of AL, he is also in the cabinet.
Although Zunaid Ahmed Palak is not in the central committee, he is leaving his mark in the cabinet as the state minister. Iqbalur Rahim is also showing his worth becoming Whip in the parliament. So, it can be said that the youth are still the life force of AL. During any crisis and transformation, they came forward and led the party. Sheikh Mujib took the leadership of AL from Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. And when Bangabandhu was assassinated in 1975, 34-year old Sheikh Hasina took over the party. The leadership of AL might again be handed over to someone young, with whom the educated youth force of the nation will integrate.
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