AL National Council ends: Sheikh Hasina re-elected president, Quader gen secy

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This will be Hasina’s ninth term as party chief

All theories and speculations regarding the Awami League’s top leadership line-up following its national council came to an end on Saturday after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was re-elected party president, with Obaidul Quader retaining his post as general secretary of the party. 

Sheikh Hasina was unanimously voted to the top position of the party. This is her ninth consecutive term since she was first elected party chief in 1981, in absentia. A few days after her election, she returned to Bangladesh from exile in India.

Quader was re-elected party second-in-command for a second term. 

The duo will lead the Awami League for the next three years. 

Thousands of councillors, who came to Dhaka from all across Bangladesh to attend the two-day national council, burst into cheers for Hasina and Quader when the election ended at the auditorium of the Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB), on Saturday afternoon. 

The 21st National Council of the Awami League, one of oldest and largest political parties in Bangladesh, began on Friday and ended on Saturday. 

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and party General Secretary Obaidul Quader at IEB in Dhaka on Saturday, Decembr 21, 2019 | Focus Bangla

After the new Central Working Committee of the Awami League was announced on Saturday, Sheikh Hasina thanked party leaders for re-electing her as president, and urged them to work sincerely for further strengthening the organization.

“I have been leading this party for the last 38 years. So, you [the councillors] will have to think about my age (in future),” she said, reminding the party leaders and workers that she would have to retire one day. 

The Awami League president sought blessings from everyone in the party to be able to run the party in line with their collective aspirations. 

Later, the party leaders presented bouquets to Sheikh Hasina and Obaidul Quader.

Hasina also congratulated Quader on his re-election as general secretary.

At the council, three new faces – Shajahan Khan, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman – made it to the party leadership as well. They were appointed members of the party presidium.

The election

Some 7,500 councillors from 79 organizational districts of the party attended the council session on Saturday to elect the new leadership. A three-member election commission, headed by Awami League Advisory Council member Advocate Yusuf Hossain Humayun, conducted the election.

Advocate Abdul Matin Khasru proposed Sheikh Hasina’s name as party president on behalf of the councillors, with Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya seconding it. Yusuf Hossain Humayun then declared Hasina elected as president of Awami League.

Jahangir Kabir Nanak proposed the name of Obaidul Quader as party general secretary. The proposal was seconded by Abdur Rahman.

‘Work to uphold people’s trust’

In the morning on Saturday, prior to being re-elected as Awami League chief, Sheikh Hasina asked party leaders and workers to strengthen the party further, so that they could fulfil people’s hopes and aspirations by upholding their trust.

“The Awami League should be organized in such a way that it can retain the confidence and trust of the people,” she said in her speech at the council session, reports BSS.

She also directed party leaders and workers to play a more responsible role in the development of the country and the nation.

Noting that the Awami League had been following the ideology of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she said everyone should cherish, follow and uphold his political principles.

“The Awami League has been able to earn the confidence and trust of the people as they know their lot changes when this party comes to power,” she added. “You [party members] will have to uphold the people’s faith and work to fulfil their hopes and aspirations.”

She said following Bangabandhu’s assassination, the politics of coups, killings and conspiracies had seized the country, to a point where “curfew democracy” had been imposed on it.

“Those who grabbed power illegally by violating the constitution were busy changing their own fortunes, and they did not think about the people’s welfare,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said military dictators had destroyed society by initiating a “loan default culture” and unleashing militancy, drug peddling and corruption and handing over weapons to meritorious students.

Highlighting the country’s socio-economic development and progress in the past decade, the Awami League president said her government had been implementing its 10-year perspective plan to establish Bangladesh as a middle income country.

“We have also adopted the 20-year perspective plan to turn Bangladesh into the most developed and prosperous country in South Asia by 2041,” she added.

She sought cooperation from everyone in achieving the goal.