The ruling party Awami League is looking for new allies ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections. AL is aiming to form a greater unity besides the 14-party alliance. If BNP goes to the polls, AL wants to come up with a greater unity in the form of 2008. In this greater unity, the Jatiya Party will ultimately be with AL, believe the high-ups of AL. But AL is not willing to rely on Jatiya Party alone. A top AL leader said it is difficult to understand Ershad`s goal. That is why they want to build a larger platform.
According to the sources, AL`s first target was the Left Front. The ruling party has taken initiatives to resolve issues with the left. But AL failed to convince the Left Front. Instead, the Left Front adopted the policy of pursuing alone. Still, AL did not give up hope. AL`s influential leader Begum Matia Chowdhury has said, `The left-wing parties are the old allies of AL. We hope that they would join us for the greater interest of the country and the nation.` Sources said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is keen to sit with the left. AL has been able to establish a relationship with Bangabir Kader Siddique. He has distanced himself from the United Front and the unity process. A source confirmed Bangabir Kader Siddique`s party could join the greater unity under AL in the elections.
AL is also in touch with several partners of the 20-party alliance led by BNP. A leader of AL said, `We are getting a positive response from many of the 20-party.` It has been learned from a number of sources that there is possibility of Colonel (retd) Oli Ahmad`s LDP joining AL. In the end, he may join the greater unity. Syed Muhammad Ibrahim`s Bangladesh Kallyan Party may also join AL in the upcoming elections. He is angry too with BNP`s behavior. AL has good communication with Bangladesh Jatiya Party chief Andaleeve Rahman Partho. However, many leaders of AL have said that Partho will not join AL but he would go to the polls.
According to the sources, if BNP comes to the polls, AL will come up with the grand alliance. AL leaders said, `There will be some parties in this alliance which will shock everyone.` And if BNP does not go to the polls, those parties will be seen in the field of elections. But AL has already dropped parties like Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish and Zaker Party in the field of elections. Therefore, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said, `I do not know whether BNP will participate in the next elections. But I know that the next elections will be participatory and competitive.`