Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader says that those who defected from the party to join the Jatiya Oikya Front have a bleak future.
“They were once a part of the Awami League. Their souls will bleed. They have knowingly drunk poison by joining hands with communal forces. This will hurt them for a long time.”
The road transport and bridges minister made the remarks in response to questions from the media about several former Awami League leaders joining the Oikya Front ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections, reports bdnews24.com.
The Jatiya Oikya Front’s chief Kamal Hossain, was once a member of the Awami League Presidium and was a minister during Bangabandhu’s government. Other Awami League leaders who have joined the opposition alliance are Abu Sayeed, Sultan Md Mansur Ahmed and Reza Kibria, the son of a former Awami League leader.
Quader responded to questions from the media about the party defections at a press conference at the Awami League President’s Office in Dhanmondi on Friday.
“We can make mistakes. Sheikh Hasina has the courage to fix her mistakes. But our politics are those of Bangladesh’s soil and its people. We are with the people. We will never flee, even if we are not in power.”
The Awami League general secretary brought up the example of Sheikh Mujib.
“Bangabandhu was arrested and taken to the cantonment. When he stepped out of jail on that foggy morning he fell to his knees and touched his forehead to the soil, saying ‘I was born in this country and I will die here’.”
“The same soil is with us. It was the case for Bangabandhu and it is the same with his daughter, Sheikh Hasina.”
Quader said the Awami League’s election manifesto would be delivered once the candidates have been finalised.
The Awami League candidates for all 300 seats have not been finalised, he added.
“We are giving greater precedence to politicians. More than last time.”
“A total of 16 to 17 business people were given the candidacy. Forty or so have gone to close freedom fighters. We may have about 50 new faces.”
“We cannot say who the rebel candidates could be until the final day of nomination withdrawals. But those who go against the party’s decision will be expelled forever.”
Asked whether there were any disputes amongst the Grand Alliance, Quader said:
“There is some disagreement. It is a Grand Alliance. We will soothe them. But we will handle those who will not have the patience to withdraw."