POST TIME: 29 October, 2019 01:08:19 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 29 October, 2019 01:23:09 PM
Krishak League bodies in capital ‘irrelevant’
“After Nov 6 council, activities of Krishak League in Dhaka North and South could be banned”

Krishak League bodies in capital ‘irrelevant’

Many Awami League (AL) leaders find no relevance of Bangladesh Krishak League in the capital where there is hardly any farmland, a view opposed by senior leaders of the ruling party’s associate farmers’ body. The AL leaders also observed that since Krishak League is an AL-affiliated body, it only requires a central committee to monitor and give directives to district and other committees across the country. Some leaders from the ruling party said upon completion of the upcoming triennial council session of Krishak League on November 6, all activities of the AL’s associate peasant body in Dhaka North and South could be banned.

In 1972, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formed the organisation with the slogan “Save farmers, save the country” in a bid to protect farmers’ interests. However, most of the central leaders of the organisation today have no direct relationship with farming. During a party event in the capital recently, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader raised questions about Krishak League activities in Dhaka: “What is the function of Krishak League in Gulshan, Dhanmondi and other areas in the capital? Why does this organisation exist in Dhaka?”

He also criticised the involvement of Krishak League leaders in controversial activities.  

When contacted, AL Joint General Secretary Abdur Rahman said: “As there is no function of Krishak League in Dhaka, the party high command may rethink the formation of the city committee after the council session.”

AL Organising Secretary Abu Sayeed Al Mahmud Swapan had a similar response.

Replying to a question, he said party president Sheikh Hasina would give opportunities to run the organisation to those who were competent and had an actual connection with farming.

However, Krishak League General Secretary Shamsul Haque Reza claimed that the body was working relentlessly to protect farmers’ interests across the country.

“They are wrong for saying there is no need for Krishak League in Dhaka. We now have rooftop farming, cow farming, and fish hatcheries in Dhaka. Then, why there is no need for Krishak League in the capital?” he said.

“We are always sincere about protecting farmers’ interests. We make sure to inform the Prime Minister and the agriculture minister about farmers’ demands, and that is why farmers are now getting all kinds of benefits,” he added.

However, a section of leaders in the AL and in its associate body said the current committee, led by Motahar Hossain Molla, Krishak League has been doing nothing other than organising only events marking special days.

The present committee was formed on July 19, 2012 in the body’s last council session. Although the term of the committee was to end after three years, the Molla-led committee has been in place for eight years now.

A source, requesting anonymity, alleged that the 111-member central committee, as approved by AL chief Sheikh Hasina, is dominated by around 35 members who are all lawyers – not farmers as they should be.

As the government cracks down on illegal gambling, corruption, land grabbing, extortion, and other illegal activities, especially by some members of the ruling party and its affiliates, many in Krishak League are hoping for a new leadership that will work for the farmers.

Mohammad Shafiqul Alam Firoz, a prominent Krishak League leader, recently made headlines after his arrest on charges of running an illegal casino at Kalabagan Krira Chakra, where he is president.

Insiders allege that top leaders of Krishak League have been mired in controversy in recent times for flouting the party constitution, forming ‘pocket committees’, and promoting leaders in exchange for money.