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23 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 June, 2019 11:36:57 PM
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AL to march ahead defying all barriers

Says Tofail Ahmed on party’s 70th anniv
ABU JAKIR, Dhaka
AL to march ahead defying all barriers

Bangladesh Awami League (AL), the country’s oldest political party, has been marching ahead overcoming all barriers since its formation in 1949. In its long 70-year journey, AL has witnessed vicissitude of all sorts. The party, which started as the Awami Muslim League, shed the word ‘Muslim’ from its name to transform itself into a non-communal political organization, a bastion for the country’s secular and democratic forces. Veteran leader Tofail Ahmed has been with AL, through thick and thin, for over six decades. On the eve of the party’s 70th founding anniversary, The Independent talked with the 75-year-old politician at his Banani residence to get his views on the party.

“Bangladesh Awami League is a successful political party. Many thought after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman that it would be destroyed, but it is now on a strong footing and in power for the third consecutive term, proving their prediction wrong,” he said.

“AL had been founded on two objectives—one was the country’s independence and other was the country’s development. In both cases, the AL has succeeded and, now, the AL-led government is working relentlessly to take the country forward,” he said, adding that, if a political party is founded on certain objectives, it is bound to survive in the long run.

Tofail Ahmed, also a former commerce minister, predicted that the country’s other political parties including the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jatiya Party (JP-Ershad) might not survive in future, as they lack an ideology and specific objectives.

Replying to a question, he said, “AL had always faced challenges and it will continue to face them in the coming days, but I hope the party will overcome all challenges and barriers in future under the leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina.

Replying to a question on the party’s next leadership, the senior AL leader said AL was a democratic political party and its next leadership would be finalized in a democratic way.

“I can’t say right now who will be the next president of the Awami League,” he said.

When asked whether AL had deviated from its ideology, Tofail said, “Our ideology is to run the country with the spirit of secularism and democratically, and the AL-led government is doing that very well. We have not backtracked from the spirit of the Liberation War.”

When asked to evaluate the AL’s 70-year journey, Tofail said the party had started its journey to achieve a specific goal. The goal was to liberate the country (Bangladesh) from the clutches of the Pakistani occupation forces, and the seed of the Liberation War had been sowed though the inception of the Awami League.

Bangabandhu, Awami League and Bangladesh were the three synonymous words. After the inception of the Awami League, the party successfully led the language movement in 1952, achieved a landslide victory of the Jukta Front against the Muslim League in the 1954 elections and formed the government. It had also led movements against the anti-people education policy in 1962 and waged movement on the basis of the historic Six-Point in 1966, and the mass upsurge in 1969, he recalled.

Under the leadership of Bangabandhu, AL won a landslide victory in the 1970 election. It created a glorious history in leading the country’s Liberation War. And it was the AL-led government that framed the country’s Constitution after Bangladesh emerged as an independent country, upholding the spirit of democracy and other high ideals of the Liberation War of 1971, he said.

After the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu and most members of his family on August 15, 1975, the party leaders suffered repression during the martial law regime. Only two daughters of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, survived in London. Then, Sheikh Hasina was made president of the AL through its council in 1981. Since then, she has led the party successfully, he continued.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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