Most of the units of Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s associate body of students Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal were running without valid committees for years.
Party insiders said due to inactivity of the committees across the country, the organisation, which is often dubbed as the ‘vanguard of BNP’, failed to create any strong resistance against government’s misdeeds and to wage movement demanding release of BNP’s jailed chairperson Khaleda Zia.
On September 18, 2019, Chhatra Dal councillors elected Fazlur Rahman Khokon as its president and Iqbal Hossain Shyamol as general secretary in its sixth council session through direct ballots after 28 years. Though five months already elapsed, the two new leaders failed to form full-fledged central committee which frustrated its leaders and activists.
On December 21, 2019, three months and two days after the election, the organisational leader of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman had approved a 60-member partial central committee.
The partial committee includes 15 vice-presidents, 15 joint-general secretaries, 15 assistant general secretaries, one organising secretary, 11 assistant organising secretaries and one assistant office secretary.
The committee’s assistant office secretary Azizul Huq Sohel admitted the situation and said that of its 117 units including universities, colleges and districts, most of them were running without valid committees. ‘We are trying to infuse dynamism among the activists by forming new committees and focusing on grassroots level,’ he said.
He said that they already dissolved 22 organisational unit committees including Rajbari and Sunamganj and two universities Pabna University of Science and Technology and Rajshahi University.
On December 24, Chhatra Dal announced a 91-member convening committee for its Dhaka University chapter with Rakibul Islam Rakib as the convener and Amanullah Aman as the member secretary.
The committee that features 25 joint-conveners and 64 members was asked to form all its lower unit committees within one month and submit those to the central committee but they failed to do so even after two months.
Chhatra Dal DU unit leaders said that the unit was carrying out the organisation’s programmes facing hostile situation as they could not stay at halls and on the campus as ruling Awami League’s student body Bangladesh Chhatra League and university authority handed over many of them to police.
However, Chhatra Dal resumes its activity at Dhaka University campus in February 2019 ahead of Dhaka University Central Student Union polls and regularly sat at the Madhu’s Canteen, an iconic restaurant considered as abode of Bangladesh’s student politics.
The organisation had not been holding programmes on the campus amid fears of torture and abuse by ruling party activists since 2010, JCD insiders said.
The situation is worse at district levels as the overaged leaders were running businesses or looking for private jobs after crossing the age-limit for entrance to public service while a number of leaders are on the run to avoid police harassment or arrest.
Chhatra Dal central president Fazlur Rahman Khokon said BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman instructed them to reform the organisation from grassroots to central level.
He said that they already formed 10 divisional teams and each team consists of four members under the leadership of one central vice-president.
Fazlur also said that this time they were focusing more on reconstructing the grassroots level units and evaluating dedication of leaders and activists.
The organisation had its first elected central committee in 1992 council session where Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and M Ilias Ali were elected president and general secretary through direct ballots.
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