With Awami League forming the new government after romping to a landslide victory in the 12th parliamentary polls, now election to women reserved seats has become a hot topic of discussion in the country’s political arena, especially in the ruling party.
AL will get 37 women MPs in the reserved seats out of total 50 as per the ratio of its representation in the 12th parliament.
Extensive discussions and speculations have started within the ruling party about who will be MPs in the reserved seats. Many aspirants have already started lobbying the high command to this end.
Many names have come to the forefront for the reserved seats. Of them, there are family members of dedicated AL leaders, women entrepreneurs, scientists, professionals, celebrities and dedicated women leaders of several tiers of the party and associated organisations, party insiders said.
According to party sources, AL Presidium member Syeda Jebunnesa Haque, Agriculture and Cooperatives Secretary Faridun Nahar Laily, Education and Human Resources Secretary Shamsun Nahar Chapa, Health and Population Secretary Dr Rokeya Sultana, AL members Parvin Jaman Kalpana and Marufa Akter Poppy are in discussion for the reserved seats from the ruling party.
Besides, women entrepreneur and martyred intellectual Shahidullah Kaiser’s daughter actress Shomi Kaiser, martyred intellectual Dr Alim Choudhury’s daughter Dr Nuzhat Choudhury, prominent scientist Haseena Khan, TMSS founder Hosne Ara Begum, AHM Khairuzzaman Liton’s wife and social activist Shaheen Akhtar Reni, political activists and actresses Tareen Jahan, Rokeya Prachy and Tanvin Sweety are there in the race.
Sources also said Jubo Mahila League President Daisy Sarwar and General Secretary Sharmin Sultana Lily, Women Affairs Secretary of Jubo League Advocate Mukta and AL’s International Affairs Subcommittee member Fahima Khanam Chowdhury Moni have also prospects to become women MPs from reserved seats.
Meanwhile, AL may nominate the family members of party leaders, who had been firm during bad times of the party, for the women MPs. In this consideration, many local leaders’ daughters and wives may make their way to parliament.
Sources said late Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah’s daughter Farzana Rabbi Bubli, late AL leader and former lawmaker Tara Mia’s daughter Tuhin Akter, late AL leader and former lawmaker Jalal Talukder’s daughter Jhuma Talukder and many more family members of former AL leaders are under consideration.
At the same time, some family members of the popular AL leaders who were dropped for the 12th parliamentary election and those who made sacrifice withdrawing nomination from the seats where a mutual understanding was reached with Jatiya Party may be awarded with the reserved MP tickets.
Meanwhile, some 2-3 reserved seats will be given to other parties of the AL-led 14-party alliance, sources said.
According to the constitution, there are 50 reserved seats for women in the parliament. Directly elected MPs of political parties will cast votes to elect the women MPs on the basis of the winning ratio.
Political parties select their nominations and send the names of those who they want to field in the reserved seats to the Election Commission. Generally, only those whose names are sent to the EC get elected as MPs.
According to the results of the general election, ruling AL will get 37 reserved seats for women. Besides, independent lawmakers can get 11 seats and Jatiya Party two.
AL will start selling nomination forms among the aspirants after the EC announces the election schedule.
In this regard, AL Deputy Office Secretary Sayem Khan told the Daily Sun, “The nomination form distribution for the reserved seat MPs depends on the schedule of the Election Commission. Awami League will start nomination form distribution among aspirants after the election schedule.”
Regarding the election to reserved seats, AL Organising Secretary Abu Sayeed Al Mahmood Swapon said, “It’s the jurisdiction of the Election Commission.”
Meanwhile, the EC is preparing for holding the election to 50 reserved seats in February.
EC Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath said the schedule for the election will be announced after getting approval of the commission.
Stating that the schedule may be announced in the next week, he said, “We’ve received the list of voters who are MPs from the parliament. The draft voter list will be published in the parliament. If there’s no objection, that will be the voter list. Later, the schedule will be announced with the approval of the commission.”
Ashok Kumar said if the schedule is approved by the commission next week, the election can be held in February.