The ruling Awami League (AL) has strategised to form additional alliances beyond the existing 14-party alliance they lead to confront the BNP-Jamaat alliance and other like-minded parties in the forthcoming national elections.
Sources say two little-known parties – the Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM) and the Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP) – could be included in the AL's new alliances.
These two parties have recently sparked many questions and discussions after being cleared for registration by the Election Commission.
According to sources, the AL is considering the formation of at least two separate alliances – one based on the ideology of the Liberation War and another, an Islamic alliance, comprising Islamic parties that support the government.
On 19 July, a meeting was convened at Ganabhaban with the leaders of the 14-party alliance.
At the meeting, Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed the party's general secretary Obaidul Quader and 14-party alliance coordinator Amir Hossain Amu to initiate the formation of new alliances.
According to sources, she also directed them to promptly engage in discussions with the concerned parties and submit a report detailing their progress.
Amir Hossain Amu, spokesperson of the 14-party alliance and a member of the AL's advisory council, told TBS on Thursday that the process of forming the alliances would start next week. Currently, the list of potential alliance partners is being finalised.
As per sources from the 19 July meeting, it was discussed that parties currently not affiliated with existing alliances but sharing the spirit of the liberation war will be brought together under a unified alliance.
Additionally, Islamic parties that are presently unaffiliated with any existing alliance but supportive of the government will be consolidated under an Islamic alliance.
Several leaders who attended the meeting informed The Business Standard that the 14-party alliance coordinator Amir Hossain Amu proposed the inclusion of more parties to strengthen and broaden the alliance, to effectively address the BNP-Jamaat alliance and its supporting parties' movement.
However, certain alliance members expressed opposition to the proposal. Following the discussions, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed the formation of new alliances to address the situation, they said.
Hasanul Haq Inu, president of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), told TBS that numerous parties do not align with the policies of the 14-party alliance. He said that while there are Islamic parties that support the government, their policies diverge from those of the existing 14 parties.
"In the initial meeting of the 14-party alliance with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, it was decided that these parties could be accommodated by forming multiple alliances," he said.
According to sources, the leaders assigned with the task of forming new alliances will engage in discussions with Allama Syed Bahadur Shah Mojaddedi, chairman of the Islamic Front Bangladesh, to explore the possibility of creating an alliance with Islamic parties.
When reached for comment, Allama Mojaddedi told TBS, "We, the Sunni ideological parties, extend our support to the government. However, our policies do not align with those of the 14-party alliance, leading us to remain unaffiliated."
"If a new alliance is formed, it will include political parties that share the Sunni ideology and are not currently aligned with any alliance. The objective of this alliance would be to counter the negative activities of the BNP-Jamaat on the streets," he said.
Allama Mojaddedi said, "In addition to our party, there are around 10 political parties that share the Sunni ideology, including the Jamiat Ulamae Islam Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Islamic Front. We plan to create a new Islamic alliance with these parties to lend support to the Awami League."
He also emphasised that they will commence the process of forming the alliance promptly upon receiving the official invitation.
Sayeed Saifuddin Ahmed Al Hasani, chairman of the Bangladesh Supreme Party, which has been finalised for EC registration, told TBS that they are ready to participate in the upcoming national election.
"So far, it has been decided to contest in the next election in 220 seats of the country under the 'Ektara' symbol. If there is a proposal to form an alliance, it will be discussed with our higher committee."
Sources said there may be 10-12 other political parties in the alliance based on the spirit of liberation war including the Trinamool BNP and the Bangladesh Sangskritik Muktijot.