The ruling Awami League party has asked all applicants for the party’s nominations to provide an account of their roles during the reign of the military-backed caretaker government. The Awami League nomination forms for the 11th parliamentary election asks candidates to describe their actions during the state of emergency declared on Jan 11, 2007. The leaders and activists believe answers by many candidates will provide glimpses into their darker past during the two years of the caretaker government’s rule.
No such question was asked in the Awami Leagues nomination form in the previous parliamentary election in 2014.
On Jan 11, 2007 the nation was thrown into a two-year state of emergency.
The then President Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency in an apparent attempt to end a spate of violence after the regime of BNP in 2006.
The president also resigned from his role as the chief adviser of caretaker government, and cancelled the 2007 general election.
The democratic process resumed on Dec 29, 2008, two years after the Election Commission was reformed under the caretaker government.
The episode is popularly known as 1/11. The Awami League won the subsequent election by a substantial margin.
During the state of emergency, top politicians, businessmen and government officials were arrested on charges of corruption. Political activity, freedom of speech and the press were suppressed.
After the transformation of 1/11, a process began to remove Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, top leaders of Awami League and BNP, from politics, which came to be known as the “minus two formula”.
As part of the process, some Awami League and BNP leaders proposed to reform the parties. These leaders were later identified as reformists. Some other leaders maintained their loyalty to the partys leadership.
After the Awami League came to power in 2009, the caretaker government abolished the system and reformist leaders like Amir Hossain Amu, Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Mukul Bose and Abdul Mannan had to lose their positions in the parties.
In 2014, before and after the formation of the Awami League government for the second term, Hasina brought reformists back to the party. Others, like Manna, were excluded.
"Every party has some special moments. Likewise, the Awami League experienced such a time after 1/11. Those who left the party at that time have little chance of getting nominations. This part has been added so they can explain their positions on 1/11 and their decisions at the time,” said AL Joint Secretary General Mahbubul Alam Hanif.