Beleaguered Jubo League looks to congress to redeem itself

  • Kazi Mobarak Hossain,
    Published: 2019-11-23 04:46:05 BdST

Bangladesh Awami Jubo League is holding its 7th National Congress with a challenge to resurrect itself after criticisms over the casino scam.

Past and present leaders hope a change in leadership through the council will help the organisation founded by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman shake off the controversies and regain its glory.

Awami League chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the opening session of the Jubo League congress at the Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka at 11am on Saturday.

The main council session will be held at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh in Ramna at 3pm in the presence of Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, who will announce the new leadership on instructions from Hasina.

The Matsya Bhaban intersection in Dhaka is bedecked with posters, banners and festoons containing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s photos on Friday as she is scheduled to inaugurate Jubo League’s national congress on Saturday. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

Most leaders of the last committee are going to be dropped as a maximum age limit of 55 years has been set for the members of the organisation.

Senior Awami League leaders say no controversial person will be allowed in the new committee and people with a clean image will get the top jobs.

Over 2,000 representatives from across the country will attend the congress.

Harunur Rashid, general secretary of the last committee, said Jubo League never held vote to elect leaders. So, all eyes will be on Hasina for her decision.

“No one contests for the posts. Those willing to get positions try to stay in discourse or appear before the senior leaders,” Harun said.

But it is not the case this time after Hasina sacked last committee’s chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury following controversies during the formation of the preparatory committee headed by Chayan Islam for the congress last month.

After the government cracked down on illegal gambling, extortion and contract-grabbing in September, Omar Faruk criticised it saying he believed it was a conspiracy against his organisation.

He later changed his tone and said Jubo League would take action against anyone caught in the crackdown.

Earlier last month, the Bangladesh Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit sought his banking information to check whether any suspicious transactions have been made.

Omar Faruk was made chairman of the organisation in its last council on July 14, 2012.

Hasina targeted Jubo League in the crackdown as allegations of wrongdoings by leaders of the Awami League and its affiliates, especially the youth front and student front, refused to go away after the party returned to power over a decade ago.

Bangladesh Chhatra League President Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon and General Secretary Golam Rabbani had also been expelled for alleged extortion.

Several Jubo League leaders have been arrested in the crackdown as well.

Jubo League’s founding chairman Sheikh Fazlul Haq Mani, one of the organisers of the 1971 Liberation War, was elected chairman in its first congress in 1974 after he formed the organisation on orders from Bangabandhu.