Awami League has released a list of candidates nominated for the post of chairman of the upazila election. They published 87 names in first phase and 122 names in second phase. The party did not give nomination for the posts—upazila vice chairman and female vice chairman—and kept both these posts open.
However, if any Awami League leader not nominated by the party wants to contest, the party will not interrupt him/her. Party`s top leaders took this decision. The main reason is that since BNP is not participating in this election, therefore, Awami League wants to give the interested candidates an opportunity to contest independently to ensure a participatory election.
A responsible source of Awami League said, ensuring a participatory election is not the only reason behind Awami League`s decision to allow the rebels in election. Another major reason is Awami League actually wants to test the popularity of the local level leaders. Awami League’s policymakers also want to see to what extent they can show organizational skills. So, this time the upazila elections are carrying a different significance for Awami League. The party wants to test the leaders’ popularity at the upazila level.
One of the top AL leaders says that if any Awami League rebel candidates can mark victory defeating a nominated candidate, then it is understandable that the leader is very popular in his/her respective area. Later, he/she could be used by the party to increase party`s organizational strength. Another reason why Awami League is not taking action against them is that if the independent candidates win, then the party would have the opportunity to get them back to AL. This will result a free, fair, neutral and a participatory election. Again, since the leaders and activists of the ruling party, regardless of nominated and independent candidates, are building a favorable relationship with the administration and law enforcing agencies, so, it is unlikely like that the nominated candidates would get more facilities. Coloring the election results with the help of the administration and law enforcement agencies will be difficult this time. Therefore, the rebels and independent candidates will get equal opportunities.
A part of Awami League thinks that this decision would accelerate party`s internal conflict. Those who contest independently will compete with a part of Awami League. In that case, a split Awami League can be seen in upazila elections.
But Awami League policymakers rejected such fears and said that Awami League is a big political party. Party dispute is a common issue of Awami League. It is closely related to the politics of the party. Whenever the party faced trouble, it overcome it unitedly. Rather this opportunity would increase the leadership practice in grassroots. Everyone will get the opportunity to be close to the people and a competition will be created between the party. So far, there are at least four people in every upazila and 8 to 10 candidates in some upazilas have showed interest in contesting the elections. So, whatever BNP or similar parties feared that the ruling party would influence the upazila elections, will not happen. Rather, upazila elections will be free, fair, neutral and competitive, Awami League`s policy makers think.