Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader is not on good terms with the 14-party alliance partners who blame Obaidul for their current distance with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Many have alleged Quader is trying to disintegrate this alliance.
However, Quader believes, ‘After the December 30 election, the 14-party alliance has become stronger.’ A top leader of the 14-party alliance believes, ‘If the 14-party alliance becomes ineffective, it’s AL who will be the worst sufferer.
The estrangement between AL and the 14-party alliance began with the nomination of the 11th parliamentary election. JSD and Workers Party were not happy with the seat distribution of AL. Therefore, they gave candidates in some of the constituencies with their own party symbol. From such deprivation, they blamed Obaidul. Seeking anonymity, a leader of the 14-party said, ‘The AL general secretary could spare 4/5 seats more for the alliance partners. However, he did not do so.’
The AL-led Grand Alliance secured a landslide victory in the national election held on December 30. The new cabinet was formed on January 7. The 14-party partners were excluded from this cabinet. Here, too, the partners believe that Obaidul Quader has played the role of a villain. A leader of the 14-party said, ‘The whole concept of this cabinet comprising only AL was manufactured by Quader.’
He explained this to the president of AL but the anti-Quader group in AL did not even believe so. Rather, they believe, ‘Sheikh Hasina alone made the decision to exclude the 14-party and AL’s senior leaders.’
However, Quader instigated the 14-party partners saying, ‘The AL partners should be in the opposition.’ One of the prominent leaders of the 14-party Rashed Khan Menon opposed the remark of the AL general secretary. He said, ‘How can the alliance partners be in the opposition when they contested with the same symbol.’ Menon reiterated in the first session of the Parliament that he is embarrassed about his current position and role. The 14-party leaders are openly speaking about their discomfort and blaming Quader during their discussions.
A leader of the 14-party alliance said seeking anonymity, ‘Obaidul Quader has always been unacceptable to the 14-party. He showed no interest in the 14-party meeting. For this reason, he has created a distance between us and the prime minister.’
However, the AL general secretary said, ‘There’s no crisis within the 14-party alliance. The 14-party alliance will continue to exist, this is the prime minister’s direction. Why should they feel hurt if they are not in the cabinet?’ He said, ‘In the parliamentary democracy, the prime minister has the complete jurisdiction of the cabinet.’