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Update : 2017-04-21 01:24:28
AL developing ‘ties’ with religion-based parties as election strategy
Shawkat Ali Khan

AL developing ‘ties’ with religion-based parties as election strategy

The ruling Bangladesh Awami League appears to have taken a strategy to bring the religion-based political parties under its banner targeting the next parliamentary elections.   Party insiders say that small religion-based political parties of the country have a large number of supporters and so, they might be a factor in the national polls.   In view of this fact, the AL has started developing relations with the anti Jamaat-e-Islami religion-based political parties and Qawmi Madrassa followers, they said   As part of its plan, the AL-led government has recently fulfilled several demands of Hefazat-e-Islam, a big Islamist group of madrassa teachers and students.   The government has agreed to recognise certificates of Qawmi Madrassah and gave support for removal of Greek sculpture from the Supreme Court premises.   “The relations with Hefazat have been developed ahead of the next national polls. Recognition of Qawmi Madrassa certificates is part of AL election strategy,” a party leader said.   The AL leader from the greater Faridpur also said Hefazat has some one crore voters across the country and they can create a positive impact on the elections.   “We (AL) can get benefit in the polls if these votes are nursed. All the political parties calculate votes ahead of the election and so does the AL,” he pointed out.   Over the recognition of Qawmi Madrassah certificates, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently said her government took such initiative for the sake of 14 lakh students and 75,000 institutions.   “I follow the ideals of the religion but don’t do politics by cashing in on the religion. BNP and Khaleda Zia do politics based on religion and use it as a tool,” the premier added.   AL general secretary Obaidul Quader also termed the relationship with the Islamist parties as a strategy.   “It is not a compromise with Hefazate by recognising Qawmi Madrassa certificates. It is a political and social reality. The decision has been taken in line with the emotions of the people,” he said.   The AL has taken the next national elections slated for 2019 as a challenge as BNP, which remains outside the parliament, is likely to participate in the polls.   Party sources said the AL-led government shows soft attitude towards the tiny religion-based parties to woo some 10 million voters, who support these parties.   The ruling party thinks that they will be able to easily win the next parliamentary polls again by keeping these political parties happy, the sources added.