Only two new faces inducted; three promoted to presidium membership; seven cabinet members dropped from leadership; 39 posts remain vacant
With minor surprises, the Awami League on Saturday partially announced its new central committee for the next three years. Seven influential cabinet members have been dropped from key leadership roles.
Despite keeping some ministers in top-tier posts, no cabinet members were assigned functional roles where the key responsibility of leaders includes meeting party workers and overseeing party activities across Bangladesh.
The move is a continuation of the process of keeping major organizational roles aside as decided at the last council held in 2016.
The party announced appointments to 42 posts of the 81 Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC) positions on the concluding day of the 21st National Council held at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh.
Only two new faces made it to membership of the ALCWC while a reshuffle was made in the rest of the 38 posts announced, except the ones of president and general secretary.
Awami League President Sheikh Hasina will announce the names of the remaining central committee members after the first presidium meeting of ALCWC, to be held shortly.
Three new faces in presidium
No major changes were made in the presidium, the highest forum of the ALCWC, this time.
The only change made was the filling up of three vacant posts in the presidium.
The new members are former shipping minister Shahjahan Khan, known also as a leader of transport workers. Besides, former joint general secretaries Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman were elected to the presidium.
Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Matia Chowdhury, Mohammad Nasim, Kazi Zafarullah, Sahara Khatun, Mosharraf Hossain, Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya, Nurul Islam Nahid, Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Faruk Khan, Ramesh Chandra Sen, Abdul Mannan and Abdul Matin Khasru have retained their positions in the presidium.
Party insiders were of the view that the three new presidium members had been given their positions as a reward for their loyalty to the party leader.
Shahjahan Khan, a lawmaker from Madaripur, is a transport leader who has long been in the limelight owing to his controversial role and remarks against the background of any road accidents. But Khan has always followed the direction of the premier with loyalty.
At the same time, the two joint general secretaries in the outgoing committee, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman, have also been noted for their loyalty to Sheikh Hasina.
Their political careers were launched in their student life, with both rising to top positions in the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the party’s student wing.
Nanak and Abdur, former members of parliament (MPs), did not get nominations from the party at the 2018 election.
After being dropped from the party’s MP candidates list, they did not give up hope. They went ahead with campaigning for the party on directives from Sheikh Hasina.
They also performed a remarkable role in the last quota reform movement, road safety movement and Dhaka University Central Students Union (Ducsu) election for which they have now been rewarded, party insiders said.
New joint secretaries
Awami League Organizing Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim and Publicity and Publication Secretary Hasan Mahmud were elected new joint secretaries of the ALCWC. Besides, joint general secretaries of the previous committee Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif and Dipu Moni were re-elected to their positions.
Party insiders said Dr Hasan Mahmud was a media friendly leader in the party, having been one of the main spokespersons of the AL in its outgoing committee.
The premier is pleased with Hasan’s media management and eloquence, a reason why she appointed him minister for information after last year’s general election.
From the very beginning, AFM Bahauddin Nasim has proved his organizing abilities. He reconfigured the Awami Swechchasebak League, the volunteers’ wing of the party.
He has served as organizing secretary of the ALCWC for three consecutive terms.
Awami League Central Executive (ALCE) members SM Kamal Hossain and Mirza Azam were promoted to organizing secretaries.
Ahmed Hossain and BM Mozammel Haque, Abu Sayeed Al Mahmud Swapon, organising secretaries of Awami League in the last three committees, were elected again to the same positions in the new committee.
7 ministers dropped from ALCWC partial committee
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim, and Minister of State for Religious Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah have not been given any position in the partially announced committee.
Three organizing secretaries in the past committee – Minister of State for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Deputy Minister of Water Resources AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem and Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel were also dropped from the partially announced ALCWC.
Minister of State for Women Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira was replaced by former minister of state Meher Afroz Chumki in the new committee.
According to party insiders, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wanted to specify the responsibilities of her colleagues and did not want to give multiple responsibilities to one person.
Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, an organizing secretary for three consecutive times, was dropped this time as the premier wanted him to focus on his ministerial duties. The same criteria applied to all other ministers who have been dropped.
Wishing not to be named, a newly appointed presidium member, told Dhaka Tribune: “We want some capable leaders in both party and government. Maybe some of our colleagues’ names are not in the partially announced central committee, but their names could be included once the full committee is announced.”
Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap, who was office secretary in the last committee, was elected publicity and publication secretary while deputy office secretary Biblap Barua was elected office secretary.
Ten posts of secretary in the partially announced committee remain the same.
They are: Shammi Ahmed as international affairs secretary, Faridunnahar Laily as agriculture and cooperative secretary, Sujit Roy Nandi as relief and social welfare secretary, Delwar Hossain as forest and environment affairs secretary, Md Abdus Sobur as science and technology affairs secretary, Mrinal Kanti Das as liberation war affairs secretary; Harunur Rashid as youth and sports secretary, Shamsunnahar Chapa as education and human resource affairs secretary, Asim Kumar Ukil as cultural affairs secretary and Dr Rokeya Sultana as health and population affairs secretar.
Parliamentary board, local government nomination board, advisory board remain unchanged
The nine-member Parliamentary Board and 16-member Local Govt Nomination Board of the Awami League remain unchanged.
The Parliamentary Board comprises Sheikh Hasina, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury,Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Abul Hasnat Abdullah, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Kazi Zafarullah, Obaidul Quader and Rashidul Alam.
The Local Govt Nomination Board members are: Sheikh Hasina, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury,Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Abul Hasnat Abdullah, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Kazi Zafarullah, Mohammad Nasim, Abdur Razzak, Faruk Khan, Obaidul Quader, Rashidul Alam, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Dr Dipu Moni, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman and Abdus Sobhan Golap.
Meanwhile, the 41-member advisory board was elevated to a 51-member body at the council.
The members of the earlier advisory board remain unchanged, while 10 new members will join the body later.
Among the advisory board members are Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, HT Imam, Dr Moshiur Rahman, Shafique Ahmed, Muhammad Zamir, Dr Gowher Rizvi and Salman F Rahman.