Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has been re-elected president of the Awami League unopposed for the eighth time in a row as the ruling party concluded its 20th national council sessions on Sunday.
The councillors also elected road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader the party’s general secretary for the next three years, in the concluding working session at Institute of Engineers of Bangladesh in the capital.
The three-member election commission, headed by Yousuf Hossain Humyaun, invited aspirants for the post of the president after Sheikh Hasina dissolved the party’s national committee in the evening session of the council.
All the councillors, in a chorus, wanted Hasina for the highest post of the party, said sources among the councillors.
AL outgoing presidium member Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury proposed Hasina’s presidency and another outgoing presidium member Mossaraf Hossain seconded it.
Amid cheers and applause, the election commissioner declared Hasina president as there were no contestants for the vital position. Just after that, the election commission invited aspirants for the post of general secretary.
Outgoing general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam proposed the name of Obaidul Quader while outgoing joint general secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak supported it.
Obaidul Quader was also elected unopposed.
As Yousuf Hossain Hossain invited the new party president to the dais, the councillors vested the responsibility to fill the other positions of the party on the party president.
Hasina conceded the responsibility but said, ‘I want you to create and elect new leadership during my stay here.’
Hasina instantly declared names of 16 out of 19 presidium members, four joint general secretaries, treasurer and office secretary of the party.
With Hasina and Obaidul as ex-officio members, other presidium members are Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Matia Chowdhury, Syed Ashraful Islam, Sahara Khatun, Nurul Islam Nahid, Faruk Khan, Abdur Razzak, Abdul Mannan Khan, Pijush Bhattyacharia, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Mohammad Nasim, Kazi Zafarullah, Ramesh Chandra Sen and Mosharaf Hossain.
Of the six new faces in the policy making body, Abdul Mannan Khan is outgoing office secretary of the party, Pijush Kanti Bhattyacharia is the vice-president of Jessore unit and Ramesh Chandra Sen is the party lawmaker from Thakurgaon-1 constituency, outgoing education and human resource secretary of the party Nurul Islam Nahid is education minister, outgoing agriculture and co-operative affairs secretary Abdur Razzak is a lawmaker from Tangail and Faruk Khan is party lawmaker from Gopalganj and outgoing international affairs secretary of the party.
The names of the rest three presidium members are yet to be declared and only one outgoing presidium member Nuh-Ul-Alam Lenin’s name was absent from the list.
Four joint general secretaries are Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Dipu Moni, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman, treasurer is SN Ashiqur Rahman and office secretary is Abdus Sobhan Golap.
Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Dipu Moni, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and SN Ashiqur Rahman retained their positions while Abdur Rahman was the outgoing central committee member and party lawmaker from Faridpur-1 constituency.
Hasina said that she would sit with the presidium to elect other office bearers and announce their names soon.
Earlier, the council decided expansion of the central working committee and the presidium amending the party constitution.
As per the decision, the 73-member working committee was expanded to an 81-member body. The number of presidium members was increased to 19, including party president and general secretary, from the existing 15 while that of joint secretaries to four from three. Besides, there will be eight organising secretaries in place of seven.
The party adopted new provision in its constitution about forming a 19-member board to select candidates of the party in the local government elections. It also increased the number of members of the national committee to 180 from 170.
Hasina was made party president in a trot in 1981, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2009, 2012 and this year. Hasina was first elected when she was in exile.
Obaidul Quader was presidium member of the outgoing committee. He is current lawmaker from Noakhali-5 constituency. He was made joint general secretary of the party in 2002 and presidium member in 2009.
Obaidul was also youth, sports and cultural affairs state minister from 1996 to 2001.
A total of 6,570 councillors from 73 organisational districts attended the national council which was inaugurated on Saturday.
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