The ruling party Awami League, is in negotiations with the Jatiya Party and its 14-party alliance to finalize constituency allocations for the upcoming 12th national parliament election.
Under the proposed agreement, the Jatiya Party would receive 36 constituencies, while the alliance parties would be allocated six constituencies.The two sides met last Monday at the Ganabhaban, the official residence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of the Awami League. During the meeting, they agreed to contest the polls as a coalition.
A four-member committee from the Awami League has been tasked with finalizing the constituency allocations with the alliance partners. The committee will be led by Amir Hossain Amu, the spokesperson, and coordinator of the 14-party alliance.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that a three-member delegation from the Jatiya Party, led by Chairman GM Quader, met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday evening to discuss constituency allocations for the upcoming parliament election.
According to sources, the meeting focused on reaching a compromise on seat distribution but failed to produce a definitive outcome. Leaders from alliance parties acknowledged the need for further discussions to finalize the constituency allocation agreement.
Sources said that apart from this, a meeting will be held on Wednesday the Jatiya Party at Amir Hossain Amur's residence.
Amir Hossain Amu said, “The issue of constituency sharing among the 14 party alliance members will be decided subject to discussion with the Jatiya Party. Elections will be by coalition. Awami League will discuss this with the Jatiya Party on Wednesday. We have to wait till December 17 to finalize the alliance's constituency arrangement and candidates.”
Regarding the constituency agreement, Amu said, “So far everything is uncertain." Because there is a candidate of Awami League against Awami League. As a result, it is not possible to say who will stay, who will not stay, who will withdraw, who will not. The constituency arrangement may be announced earlier. But everything will have to wait. Then there is the Jatiya Party, there will be discussions with them. Their constituency will be arranged.”
A source of Awami League said that the top six leaders of 14 parties may be given a boat symbol for election this time. Among them, are Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, General Secretary Fazle Hossain Badsha, Jasad President Hasanul Haque Inu, and Tarikat Federation Chairman Syed Najibul Bashar Maizbhandari.
Apart from this, there is a strong possibility of giving constituency to Jatiya Party-JP Chairman Anwar Hossain Manju and General Secretary Sheikh Shahidul Islam. They will elect their symbol bicycle.
A Jatiya Party source said that the party wants a guarantee of victory before the polls. They want at least 50 seats from the ruling Awami League. Boat candidates in these constituencies are being messaged directly and through multiple channels to withdraw and work for them.
A co-chairman of the Jatiya Party told Bangladesh Pratidin on the condition of anonymity, “We have conducted the last three elections in alliance and agreement with the Awami League. Want to do the next election as a coalition. For this, a list of 50 constituencies has been sent to the Prime Minister. Where there will be no contenders for the boat symbol. The party hopes the prime minister will give concessions on the expected constituencies like other times.”
Two Awami League leaders said on condition of anonymity that even if the Jatiya Party is given the constituencies, the boat candidate will not be withdrawn. Because the rulers want competitive elections. For the Jatiya Party to contest and emerge victorious, constituencies where the Jatiya Party has votes, relatively weak candidates or completely new faces have been given nominations. Awami League has got a glimpse of leaving the Jatiya Party with a total of 36 constituencies in case of the coalition.
Yesterday, the president of the Workers' Party Menon said, “A list has been given by the alliance. 14 parties have asked for some more constituencies than before. It has been discussed that the issue of constituency sharing should be finalized by protecting the dignity and honor of the alliance.”
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Jasad) president Hasanul Haque Inu said, “It is expected that constituency sharing should be honorable for the coalition. We now have 10 MPs, expected to be 20.”
“Where the candidate of the alliance will come, there the candidate of Awami League will rise. The candidates of the alliance will be elected on the boat Symbol,” he said.
Amir Hossain Amu told the media that they will hold elections together in some constituencies. And in some constituencies, the participating parties will elect themselves. Members will use the boat symbol in co-opted constituencies. The remaining will use their symbols.
Meanwhile, while talking to the media at the Awami League president's political office in Dhanmondi on Tuesday afternoon, Awami League General Secretary, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said, “There must be an agreement between the Awami League and the 14 party. The issue of constituency distribution will be clear within these days.”
“Many candidates have stood as independents everywhere. What is the expectation of the 14-party alliance and what is the reality of what they will get, we will decide on two things together. Some of them may vote on the boat symbol, but their other candidates will vote on their brand,” he added.
(The report was published on print and online versions of The Bangladesh Pratidin on December 6 and rewritten in English by Tanvir Raihan)