Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hasina takes new crew on board, shuns some heavyweights 

  • Shahidul Islam, Shamim Ahmed and Kamal Talukdar,
    Published: 2019-01-07 10:38:33 BdST

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who led the government for the last decade has designed her new cabinet mostly with new faces to lead her administration for the next five years.

She dropped most of the members from the old cabinet as she forms the government for the third consecutive term after an astounding win in the 11th parliamentary election. For the first time, none of her allies made it to the cabinet.

New cabinet members will take their oaths of office at the Bangabhaban at 3.30pm on Monday. Prior to the oath-taking ceremony, Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam announced the 47-member cabinet in a press briefing on Sunday, breaking with the tradition.   

Hasina, who is set for the unprecedented fourth term as the prime minister, has taken charge of the Cabinet Division, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs.

The present cabinet includes 24 ministers, 19 state ministers and 3 deputy ministers. The previous cabinet had 48 members.

Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, MP from the Narsingdi-4 seat, will helm the Ministry of Industries in the new government. He had been the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment. Kamal Ahmed Majumdar, MP from Dhaka-15 seat, will be accompanying him as deputy minister.   

The Awami League’s Finance and Planning Affairs Secretary Tipu Munshi, who was the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the home ministry, has been awarded with a greater responsibility of the commerce ministry.

Awami League Presidium Member Abdur Razzaque returned to the cabinet to take the reins of the agriculture ministry. With his background in agriculture, Razzaque had previously served the Hasina government as the food minister.

Zahid Malik, state minister for health and family welfare in the last government, has been promoted to minister in the same ministry. He has Murad Hasan, MP from Jamalpur-4 seat, as the state minister by his side.

The education ministry went to Dipu Moni, joint general secretary of the Awami League who served the Awami League government in 2009 as the foreign minister. Barrister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury Nowfel, central organising secretary of the Awami League, has been chosen as the deputy minister for education. Son of former mayor in Chattogram ABM Mohiuddin, Nowfel has become MP for the first time.

Supreme Court lawyer SM Rezaul Karim has been assigned to the housing and public works ministry. The Pirojpur-1 MP is the law affairs secretary to the ruling party.

It was always the general secretary from the ruling party to get the responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives since the 90s but Hasina had changed that tradition and appointed her relative Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain as the minister in the same ministry in July 2015. Tajul Islam from Cumilla-9 joined the cabinet as the LGRD minister. Swapan Bhattacharya from Jashore-5 seat has become the state minister for LGRD.

Jatiya Party, a key ally of the Awami League, decided not to join the new cabinet. The other allies Rashed Khan Menon, Hasanul Haq Inu and Anwar Hossain Manju have lost cabinet berths.

Nuruzzaman Ahmed, who was the state minister for the social welfare ministry, has been promoted to minister in the same ministry with Sharif Ahmed from Myemensingh-2 seat as the state minister by his side.

Awami League Publicity Secretary Hasan Mahmud has replaced Inu as the information minister. Mahmud served the Awami League government in 2008-14 term as the environment and forest minister

Hasina has not appointed any minister for water resources but made former army personnel Zahid Faruk state minster and Awami League Organising Secretary AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem deputy minister.

Shahab Uddin, the Awami League leader from Moulvibazar, has replaced Anisul Islam Mahmud as the environment, forest and climate change minister. Habibun Nahar, wife of Khulna Mayor Talukdar Khalek, has been made the deputy minister.

AHM Mustafa Kamal, the outgoing planning minister, has received a major elevation in the cabinet by replacing AMA Muhith as the finance minister.

The prime minister has taken the charge of the public administration ministry after the death of Syed Ashraful Islam. Farhad Hossain, a relative of Syed Ashraf, will work as the state minister. 

Shajahan Khan, the shipping minister and a prominent union leader criticised for downplaying road accidents during the previous government, has been dropped from the cabinet. Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, central organising secretary of the Awami League, will work as the state minister. 

Food Minister Qamrul Islam, who has been criticised for rotten rice and wheat, has been replaced by Shadhan Chandra Majumder, MP from Naogaon-1 seat.

Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Dilu has also been dropped from the cabinet. State Minister for Land Saifuzzaman Chowdhury has been promoted to the position of minister.

Asaduzzaman Noor, known as a close aide to the army-backed caretaker government during the emergency, has been dropped from the government too. The prime minister has appointed KM Khalid, president of the Muktagachha wing of the Awami League, as the state minister for cultural affairs to run the show.

Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, who grabbed headlines for a corruption case, has been replaced with the owner of Enam Medical College and Hospital Dr Enamur Rahman.

Narayanganj MP Golam Dastagir Gazi will take over the Ministry of Textiles and Jute from Md Emaz Uddin Pramanik. Gazi, a decorated freedom fighter, owns the Gazi Group which has a TV station in addition to other concerns.

Nurul Islam Sujan MP from Panchagarh, a former Bangladesh Chhatra League leader, is becoming the railways minister.

Minister for Primary and Mass Education Mostafizur Rahman has been dropped too. Zakir Hossain, MP from the Kurigram-4 seat has been made the state minister for the ministry.

Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, the Netrokona-2 MP, will become the state minister for fisheries and livestock, while minister Narayon Chandra Chanda will be dropped.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal will be leaving, while Mahbub Ali is joining the ministry as the state minister.

Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing has been promoted to Minister of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs.

Hasina’s new cabinet has 12 new ministers, while 21 who held the post in the previous cabinet have been dropped. At least 15 of the 19 state ministers are also first timers.

Power, Energy and Mineral Resources State Minister Nasrul Hamid, Information and Technology State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam have retained their posts.

Monnujan Sufian, who had served as the state minister for labour and employment in the Awami League cabinet in 2009 has returned to the post.

Sylhet MP Imran Ahmad will be on the cabinet for the first time as the Minister of State for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.

Md Zahid Ahsan Russel, son of the late Awami league leader Ahsan Ullah Master, has been made state minister for youth and sports, replacing Biren Sikder.

Awami League Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, the party’s secretary of religious affairs, has received the technocratic role of state minister for religious affairs.