‘Top roles in party and govt to be separated’

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In an interview with DhakaTribune’s Ali Asif Shawon, Bangladesh Awami League’s Joint General Secretary Abdur Rahman said he believes the ruling party will start a new dimension in politics with its upcoming National Council scheduled for December 20-21. This time, Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may separate her leaders’ roles in the party and the government. This is the first of a series of interviews leading up to the council

 

National council is knocking at the door. Tell us about the party’s preparation.

We are fully prepared for the upcoming council. Hopefully, this council will be held peacefully and the selection of  new leadership will carry some specific messages from our party chief.

First of all, she wants to make the party clean. She wishes to represent Awami League as a decent, transparent, acceptable, and the glorious political party that it is. Hopefully, she will go for a qualitative change in the top brass.

Secondly, I think she is going to separate the roles of leaders in the party and the government. The responsibilities will be divided. Those who will get major posts in the party will not get a role in the government and vice versa.

I think this initiative will strengthen both our party and the government.

Is it possible to execute such an initiative involving the ruling party and government in our country?

This won’t happen in all sections of the party or government. Only the top posts will be divided like this. When someone plays vital roles in both the government and the party simultaneously, it becomes difficult for them to carry out their responsibilities properly and in time. That’s why the party chief is thinking about not giving multiple responsibilities to one person.

Besides, there is a distance between a lot of our party activists and party stakeholders in government. So, a lot of deprived activists will be happy to see this separation between party and government responsibilities.

Every council brings some changes. How will the central working committee change this time?

It is very hard to say for me right now. Because only party chief Sheikh Hasina has the authority to make changes in the central committee. In our party, Sheikh Hasina is the only unchangeable person. Our party councillors have given her complete authority to make whatever changes she deems appropriate.

There’s a rumour that a third generation of the Bangabandhu family will join politics with this council. What do you think?

It is our expectation and desire. We think there is no alternative, except the blood of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s family and the ideological heir of Awami League to uphold the party’s ideals and spirit. So we are eagerly waiting to welcome them in the central committee, but they have some plans of their own too. The final decision is at the hands of Bangabandhu’s family. But we do want them to join us.

In your opinion, what can make this council special?

Recently, our party chief has started the corruption cleansing drive. I think the spirit of this drive will reflect in our council, and she will give leadership posts to party leaders who are dedicated, decent, and most eligible.

It is alleged that some corrupt politicians and patrons of the illegal casino business are still holding posts in the Awami League. What will happen to them?

This situation will not change overnight. The party chief wants a leadership free of controversy. But the process to ensure that may take some time.