To select the final candidates for the upcoming national elections who will run under the boat symbol, the ruling Awami League has conducted surveys to select those who are popular, have a strong organisational presence in the field level, and are leading in voter preference polls.
According to party leaders at the policy-making level, many current Awami League MPs, ministers, state ministers, and deputy ministers may lose their nominations due to their controversial behaviour, alienation from local communities, allegations of corruption, and history of opposing central decisions.
Many of them are unlikely to receive Awami League tickets in the upcoming elections due to their negative performances as evidenced by the surveys based on information collected by local and foreign institutions and government agencies.
The Awami League began the process of selecting candidates for the upcoming national elections by collecting and submitting party nomination forms from 18-21 November.
To finalise the candidates, the party's parliamentary nomination board, chaired by party chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will convene tomorrow and continue its deliberations for several days.
Several party leaders have indicated that the Awami League is expected to finalise its candidate list by 27 November, several days before the 30 November deadline for submitting nominations to the Election Commission for the 7 January polls.
The Awami League has sold a total of 3,362 nomination forms this time, with 121 of those being collected online. Each form was priced at Tk50,000, generating Tk16.81 crore in revenue for the party. The breakdown of forms collected by division is as follows: Dhaka - 730, Chattogram - 659, Rajshahi - 409, Khulna - 416, Rangpur - 302, Mymensingh - 295, Sylhet - 172, and Barisal - 258. This translates to an average of around 11 candidates vying for each seat.
In the eleventh national election in 2018, Awami League nominees collected 4,023 nomination forms for the 300 seats. The party earned around Tk12.69 crore from the sale of these forms, with each form priced at Tk30,000.
Matia Chowdhury, member of the AL presidium council and the party's parliamentary nomination board, said the Awami League is the only party in Bangladesh that adheres strictly to its own constitution in all aspects, including the selection of candidates. Only those who meet the constitution's criteria will be nominated as candidates for the upcoming election.
AFM Bahauddin Nashim, joint general secretary of the party, told TBS that the party president Sheikh Hasina has carefully reviewed the performance and qualifications of all parliamentarians from all 300 constituencies, using data and analysis. Candidates who are worker-friendly, popular, and preferred by voters will be prioritised for nomination.
An AL leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the party's candidate list has historically undergone changes in every national election. Statistical analysis suggests that, on average, around 100 MPs are not renominated each time. For the upcoming election, individuals with unfavorable findings in the survey report are unlikely to receive nominations.
How the surveys were conducted
Several Awami League leaders emphasised that the candidate selection survey is a comprehensive process involving multiple sources and conducted over several stages. The survey is carried out every six months and incorporates feedback from various stakeholders, including primary school, high school, college, and university teachers. Additionally, reports from three intelligence agencies are given special attention.
AL leaders say the performance and contributions of current MPs have been meticulously evaluated through a comprehensive assessment process involving multiple domestic and international survey and research organisations.
What the party president says
In the AL parliamentary committee meeting held at the parliament secretariat on 22 October, Awami League President Sheikh Hasina said that party nominations will be given to those who are eligible based on the survey.
Several leaders of the party who participated in the meeting told TBS that Sheikh Hasina clearly said that the nomination will be made on the basis of various data and survey reports. Everyone has to work for the one who will be nominated.
The prime minister said that the vote will be free and impartial and that everyone must win in the polls by popular votes, according to the leaders.
AL to give space to partners
Several Awami League leaders indicated to TBS that the party will finalise candidates for the upcoming elections considering the BNP's absence in the polls. They noted that the Jatiya Party could potentially secure a share of 30-35 seats from the AL by forming an alliance.
Meanwhile, the AL may allocate 12-14 seats to its 14-party alliance partners. Additionally, the party may consider giving 10-12 seats to other parties participating in the election. In the 2018 eleventh national polls, the Awami League nominated 258 candidates.
The leaders further stated that the AL may provide 50-60 seats to various parties. The party's own candidates will be finalised based on that.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has recently said the party is considering allocating 65 to 70 seats to its allied parties. He emphasised that the party will prioritise selecting candidates with a strong chance of winning.