Dhaka: In a major reshuffle of her Cabinet,
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday inducted six new
faces in the Council of Minister bringing its strength to 43,
a day after the ruling Awami League named its new central
committee discarding a number of party stalwarts.
"We have a number of ministries (and) the workload of
(incumbent) ministers is also increasing ... so we have
expanded the Council of Ministers," Hasina said after
President Zillur Rahman administered the oath of office to one
minister and five state ministers at the presidential palace.
The ministries of home, foreign affairs, energy and
environment witnessed reshuffles. The newly inducted
Shahjahan Khan was appointed the Shipping Minister while
Brigadier (Retd) General Enamul Haque was given the charge
of energy ministry as a state minister.
The incumbent junior minister for energy Shamsul Haque
Tuku was made the state minister for home, a position that
fell vacant after Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taz tendered resignation
several months ago.
State minister for Foreign Affairs Hassan Mahmud was made
the state minister for environment and forest as part of the
changes under which the strength of the council of ministers
now stood at 43.
The development came a day after Awami League announced
its new central committee and presidium leaving out a number
of party veterans who dominated its politics for decades.
"The (Awami League) committee confirms speculation over
the last few days that those who had attempted intra-party
reforms after 1/11 (installation of army-backed interim
government following proclamation of state of emergency) were
going to be dropped," the Daily Star newspaper commented.
Heavyweights Amir Hossain Amu, Abdur Razzak, Tofael
Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta and Abdul Jalil were dropped from the
Presidium, the party`s highest policy-making body, and were
placed in the Awami League advisory committee.
The bigwigs also failed to find a place in the Cabinet
when the government was sworn in on January 6 this year.
Several newspapers had then commented that Hasina`s decision
was influenced by the activities of the stalwarts during the
emergency rule, when they wanted to carry out massive
intra-party reforms in a bid to clip her absolute authority.
But Hasina today said the new central committee and the
presidium were formed as per the opinion of the delegates of
the party council which re-elected her as the Awami League
president and Syed Ashraful Islam as its new general secretary
earlier this week.
"We will have to pave ways for new leadership, no one
should hold back blocking their path," Hasina told newsmen at
the Bangabhaban presidential palace in an apparent reference
to the `reformist` stalwarts.