As the country’s 12th parliamentary elections draw nearer, the ruling Awami League (AL) is advocating for the active involvement of all political parties to ensure inclusivity.
This call comes in response to the decision by the main opposition party, BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party), to boycott the upcoming elections.
In an effort to foster widespread participation and acceptance, the AL has initiated discussions with its alliance partners and other smaller political entities, including the Jatiya Party (JP-Ershad), to establish a consensus on the distribution of parliamentary seats for the forthcoming general elections.
Leaders from various political factions have engaged in meetings with high-ranking officials of the Awami League, expressing their interest in securing approximately 80 seats within the Grand Alliance even before the formal commencement of the 12th parliamentary elections.
The Jatiya Party has asserted its claim to 35 seats, while the Workers Party is eyeing 5 seats, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Inu) 5, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh 2, and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Badal) is seeking 1 seat. Furthermore, the Trinamool BNP is hoping to get 5 seats, BNM (Bangladesh Nationalist Movement) 5, Bangladesh Supreme Party 2, Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF) 1, and Bangladesh Tarikat Federation 2.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Inu) President Hasanul Haq Inu emphasised, "The alliance persists for political reasons, regardless of BNP's participation. This time, the grand alliance aspires to secure more seats than in the previous election."
Rashed Khan Menon, the president of the Workers Party, remarked, "The upcoming days may pose challenges. Economic sanctions are also looming. Therefore, the demands of the alliance partners must be given due consideration by the Awami League."
Najibul Bashar Maizvandari, Chairman of the Tarikat Federation, affirmed, "The alliance leaders have conveyed that the alliance will endure, irrespective of BNP's participation. Since no other announcements have been made, we are adhering to the previous agreement."
Meanwhile, sources within the ruling party suggest that the AL is contemplating the allocation of 8 parliamentary seats to alliance partners and 30 seats to the Jatiya Party.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a member of the AL's presidium revealed to our correspondent the possibility of conceding 6-8 parliamentary seats to alliance partners and 26-30 seats to the Jatiya Party.
"To the best of my knowledge, our party leader, Sheikh Hasina, has conducted a series of meetings with our alliance partners, addressing the seat-sharing matter. It is anticipated that the Awami League may allocate 35-40 parliamentary seats to the Jatiya Party and other alliance partners," he disclosed.
Addressing the ongoing discussions, AL Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim affirmed, "Certainly, we have engaged in discussions with JP and other alliance partners on how to ensure the upcoming polls are inclusive and widely accepted."
Analysing past elections, it is noted that in the last three parliamentary elections, the AL included candidates from the alliance in two, resulting in a strategic compromise and subsequent support for the AL. In the 2018 elections, the AL allocated 39 seats to its grand alliance, including 26 for the Jatiya Party.
The 12th parliamentary elections are expected to witness heightened competition as the AL, already holding 298 seats individually, aims to navigate challenges and secure a victory with the support of its alliance partners.
The expectations of the coalition parties this time are higher than the previous election. Since several parties, including the BNP, are absent from the election, and considering the domestic and international pressure on the government to conduct a fair election, the coalition parties see this as an opportunity to exert some influence.