Ruling Awami League president Sheikh Hasina on Monday was sworn in as prime minister for the third consecutive term along with her 46 cabinet colleagues.
President Md Abdul Hamid administered the oath of office and oath of secrecy to the prime minister in presence of the newly appointed ministers, state ministers, deputy ministers, former ministers, lawmakers, judges, foreign diplomats, senior civil and military officials and a host of dignitaries at a ceremony at Bangabhaban Darbar Hall in the afternoon.
Hasina, 71, in a paste-colour jamdani sari, took oath at 3:40pm and then signed the oath of office and the oath of secrecy as the prime minister for the fourth term.
After that, 24 ministers, 19 state ministers and 3 deputy ministers in separate batches were sworn in.
Cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam conducted the ceremony.
The Cabinet Division on Monday issued gazette notifications on the appointments of the prime minister and other ministers and on their portfolios distributed by the prime minister.
The prime minister kept to herself the portfolios of cabinet division, public administration, defence, armed forces, power, energy and mineral resources, and women and children affairs, according to the list of portfolios.
Hasina, also daughter of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, picked 31 new faces as her cabinet colleagues, dropping most of the seniors.
The ministers sworn in were AKM Mozammel Huq for liberation war affairs, Obaidul Quader for road transport and bridges, Mohammad Abdur Razzaque for agriculture, Asaduzzman Khan for home, Mohammad Hasan Mahmud for information, Anisul Huq for law, justice and parliamentary affairs, AHM Mustafa Kamal for finance, Md Tajul Islam for LGRD and cooperatives, Dipu Moni for education, AK Abdul Momen for foreign affairs, MA Mannan for planning, Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun for industries, Golam Dastagir Gazi for textile and jute, Zahid Maleque for health and family welfare, Sadhan Chandra Majumder for food, Tipu Munshi for commerce, Nuruzzman Ahmed for social welfare, SM Rezaul Karim for housing and public works, Shahab Uddin for environment, forest and climate change, Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing for Chittagong Hill Tracts affairs, Saifuzzman Chowdhury for land, Md Nurul Islam Sujan for railways, Yafesh Osman for science and technology and Mustafa Zabbar for post, telecommunication and ICT.
The state ministers, who took the oath, were Kamal Ahmed Majumder for industries, Imran Ahmed for expatriate welfare and overseas employment, Zahid Ahsan Russell for youth and sports, Nasrul Hamid for power, energy and mineral resources, Md Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru for fisheries and livestock, Monnujan Sufian for labour and employment, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury for shipping, Md Zakir Hossain for primary and mass education, Md Shahriar Alam for foreign, Zunaid Ahmed Palak for information and communication technology, Farhad Hossain for public administration, Swapan Bhattachaiya for LGRD, Zahid Faruque for water resources, Md Murad Hasan for health and family welfare, Sharif Ahmed for social welfare, KM Khalid for cultural affairs, Md Enamur Rahman for disaster management and relief, Md Mahbub Ali for civil aviation and tourism and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah for religious affairs.
Deputy ministers, who took oath, were Habibun Nahar for environment, forest and climate change, AKM Enamul Haque Shamim for water resources and Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury for education.
In his instant reaction at Bangabhaban, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader told reporters that implementation of the party’s election manifesto, announced by AL president Sheikh Hasina before the December 30 general election, would be the main challenge for the new cabinet.
About the exclusion of his former cabinet colleagues, he said, ‘I think, nobody is going to lose anything. Nobody is dropped. There’re rather changes in responsibilities.’
He said many ministers of the previous cabinet were not included in the new one in the interest of the party. ‘We would like to make our party smarter and stronger further under their leadership.’
This time the names of new ministers were announced with their portfolios before they were sworn in.
At least three of the new cabinet members are technocrats while the rest are elected members of parliament from the ruling Awami league in the 11th parliamentary polls marred by widespread flaws and fraud.
The technocrats inducted into the cabinet are former science and technology minister Yafesh Osman, former telecommunications and ICT minister Mustafa Jabbar and AL religious affairs secretary Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
Twenty-three senior members of the outgoing cabinet, including AMA Muhith (finance), Amir Hossain Amu (industries), Tofail Ahmed (commerce), Matia Chowdhury (agriculture) and Mohammad Nasim (health), were dropped from the cabinet.
Ten state ministers, including Mirza Azam, Ismat Ara Sadique, Meher Afroze and Tarana Halim, and two deputy ministers Abdullah Al Islam Jakob and Arif Khan Joy were also excluded.
AL bagged 257 out of 298 seats as elections to the remaining two seats were suspended while its allies got 31 and main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party got only five seats and its ally Gono Forum got two seats in the 11th parliamentary elections.
AL’s major ally Jatiya Party, led by former military dictator HM Ershad, securing 22 seats, has elected Ershad as its parliamentary party leader and asked the speaker to take necessary steps to this end.
Neither Ershad nor his party’s senior co-chairman Raushan Ershad was present at the ceremony.
All the ministers and state ministers from the AL partners in the previous cabinet — Rashed Khan Menon of the Workers Party of Bangladesh, Hasanul Haq Inu of the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction, Anwar Hossain of the Jatiya Party–JP and Anisul Islam Mahmud, Md Mujibul Haque and Mashiur Rahman Ranga of Ershad-led Jatiya Party — were excluded from the cabinet.
Asked for his reaction, Rashed Khan Menon told New Age that the issue of the formation of new cabinet was not discussed with the allies.
He said that the issue of dropping them would be discussed in the AL-led alliance meeting.
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