Keeping the next general elections in mind, the ruling Awami League (AL) has started a campaign to collect new members and for the renewal of the membership of the old ones.
Leaders of different levels of the party, from top to bottom, are considering the campaign an important one for the next parliamentary polls. The campaign was launched on May 20, during a special extended meeting of the party, which will continue until the next council meeting of AL.
The party chief Sheikh Hasina, also the prime minister, had then inaugurated the programme at her official residence Gonobhaban in the capital. Hasina and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader had their membership at the party.
The programme garnered massive response party leaders, activists and supporters from the very beginning of the process, which kept continuing its momentum with days going by.
The party sources said around 22 lakh forms were sold out to the aspiring AL leaders, activists and supporters until early September. Earlier in August, the sale of membership forms was skipped as it was the month of mourning.
However, the sale started taking shape yet again from the outset of September. The actual figure of the forms being sold will be revealed formally in December.
When contacted, Obaidul Quader, also the Road Transport and Bridges Minister, said," A campaign to collect new members and renew the old membership is going on. But, the campaign lost its pace as the AL and its associate organisations came up with different month-long programmes in August."
But the situation has started to return to its previous as soon as the month of September began, he said, adding, the campaign will keep rolling till the next general elections.
In his reply to the query about when the statistics about the collection of members will be made public, the AL leader said,"We are not publishing the list of new members right now. Awami League officially will disclose the matter in December."
A number of central leaders of the party expressed their hope that the move from the party's high command will help expedite and bolster the party activities, especially ahead of the national elections, as the grassroots leadership will get motivation through the process.
They also demanded that the party high command remain alert so that BNP-Jamaat intruders cannot tactfully get AL membership.
A central AL leader, requesting anonymity, said they were left in an embarrassing situation quite a few times owing to the BNP-Jamaat intruders in the past.
"But, in the current campaign the matter is being considered with utmost care," he said.
According to its party constitution, an AL leader, corresponding with own rank, needs to have his or her membership with the party renewed every three years by paying a certain amount of fee.
Such a campaign was launched back in 2010, for the last time, which did not last so long.