12:00 AM, January 07, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:15 AM, January 07, 2019

Hasina axes heavyweights

27 new faces, 4 returnees in 47-member council of ministers; oath today

Sheikh Hasina, who is set to take oath today as the prime minister for the third consecutive term, has dropped most of her colleagues in the outgoing cabinet, aiming to inject fresh blood in her new government.

President Abdul Hamid yesterday appointed Hasina as the PM, and upon her advice appointed 46 ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told The Daily Star last night.

Hasina dropped 34 of the 47 ministers, including Awami League bigwigs Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Mohammed Nasim and Matia Chowdhury, to induct 27 new faces and four former ministers in the 47-member council of ministers set to take oath today.

The president of the AL, which won the December 30 election by a landslide, did not include in the new cabinet anyone from her party's electoral allies.

There were six ministers and state ministers -- three from the Jatiya Party and one each from the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Workers Party and Jatiya Party (JP-Manju) -- in the outgoing cabinet.

The new council of ministers will be a single-party one for the first time in 22 years.

Following the restoration of democracy in early 90s, the first BNP-led government was formed only with its lawmakers. After that, all successive cabinets comprised lawmakers of more than one party.

Setting a rare instance, the cabinet secretary at a press briefing at his secretariat office yesterday announced the names and portfolios of the new ministers before their oath-taking.

“The cabinet will start working after the ministers take oath at 3:30pm tomorrow [today] at the Bangabhaban. Once the new cabinet members are sworn in, the previous cabinet will automatically be replaced by the new one,” said Shafiul.

Replying to a question whether there is a possibility of expanding this cabinet, he said, “So far, this one is preliminary and final.”

The new council of ministers has 24 ministers, except for the PM, 19 state ministers and three deputy ministers.

Three technocrats have also made it to the cabinet -- Yeafesh Osman, Mustafa Jabbar and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

Yeafesh and Jabbar were technocrat ministers also in the outgoing cabinet.

Like in the previous term, Yeafesh will remain as science and technology minister and Jabbar as telecommunications and ICT Minister.

Besides, Abdullah, also AL religious affairs secretary, has been made state minister for religious affairs.

Hasina kept in her hand the Cabinet Division, the public administration ministry, the defence ministry, the Armed Forces Division, the power, energy and mineral resources ministry, and the women and children affairs ministry.

The AL-led grand alliance secured 288 seats -- the AL 257, the JP 22 and others 9 -- in the December 30 election.

The BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront, which got only seven seats, rejected the election results, citing widespread irregularities. It has demanded a fresh election.

On Thursday, Hasina was elected the chief of the AL parliamentary party, paving the way for her to become the PM for a record fourth time.

On the same day, the president invited her to form a new government as she secured confidence of the majority of her party lawmakers.


Following the death of Public Administration Minister Syed Ashraful Islam on Thursday and resignation of four technocrat ministers last month, the size of the council of ministers stood at 48, including the PM, 28 ministers, 17 state ministers and two deputy ministers.

Of the 28 ministers, Hasina dropped 23. They are AMA Muhith, Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Nurul Islam Nahid, Shajahan Khan, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Mazibul Hoque, Mostafizur Rahman, Asaduzzaman Noor, Emaj Uddin Pramanik, Narayan Chandra Chanda, Shamsur Rahman Sharif, Kamrul Islam and AKM Shajahan Kamal.

Only five ministers of the outgoing cabinet got berth in the new one. They are Road Transport and Bridges Minister and AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Law Minister Anisul Huq and Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

Mustafa Kamal has been made finance minister while the portfolios of the other four remain unchanged.

Of the 19 state ministers, nine have been left out. They are Mujibul Haque (Chunnu), Mirza Azam, Biren Sikder, Ismat Ara Sadique, Meher Afroz Chumki, Tarana Halim, Muhammad Nazrul Islam, Moshiur Rahman Ranga and Kazi Keramat Ali.

Among eight other state ministers, five were promoted to ministers. They are MA Mannan, Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, Saifuzzaman Chowdhury, Zahid Maleque and Nuruzzaman Ahmed.

Shahriar Alam, Nasrul Hamid and Zunaid Ahmed Palak will have their existing portfolios.

Two deputy ministers -- Abdullah Al Islam Jacob and Arif Khan Joy -- were also left out of the new cabinet.

Asked about the reasons behind the exclusion of so many senior leaders from the new cabinet, four AL central leaders told The Daily Star yesterday that only the party chief knows about it.

The leaders further said the party president might have made the move to promote young leaders.


In the outgoing cabinet, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon was the social welfare minister, JSD (Inu) President Hasanul Haq Inu the information minister and JP (Manju) President Anwar Hossain Manju the water resources minster.

None of them has been included in the new cabinet.

There were also three leaders from HM Ershad-led JP in the outgoing cabinet. But this time, the party decided to be the main opposition in parliament with no representation in the new cabinet.

During the 1996-2001 tenure of the Hasina-led government, two ministers were from parties other than the AL. They were Manju and JSD President ASM Rob.

When the BNP-led alliance formed government in 2001, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia inducted two Jamaat-e-Islami leaders -- Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mojaheed -- into her cabinet.

In 2009 when Hasina came to power for the second time, she included JP leader GM Quader and Samyabadi Dal General Secretary Dilip Barua in her cabinet. Inu was made minister later.

Yesterday, two central AL leaders told this newspaper that the council of ministers is likely to be expanded and leaders from the AL's allies will be inducted into it.

The expansion may take place within a couple of weeks, they mentioned.


Among the 47 members in the new council of ministers, 27 are first timers.

Besides, four of them -- Abdur Razzaque, Dipu Moni, Hasan Mahmud and Begum Monnuzan Sufian-- were members of the Hasina-led cabinet in 2009-2014.

AKM Abdul Momen, brother of outgoing finance minister Muhith, has been made the foreign minister, and SM Rejaul Karim the housing and public works minister. Both of them became lawmakers for the first time through the December 30 polls.

Besides, Zaheed Farooque from Barishal has been made a state minister while AL organising secretaries AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem from Shariatpur and Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury from Chattogram have been made deputy ministers.

All three became MPs for the first time through this election.


Like the outgoing cabinet, the new one will have three members from minority communities.

Sadhan Chandra Majumder from Naogaon-1 has been made the food minister and Swapan Bhattacharya from Jashore-5 the state minister for LGRD and cooperatives.

Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, a lawmaker from Bandarban and state minister for CHT affairs in the outgoing cabinet, has been made minister of the CHT affairs ministry.

Kalpa Ranjan Chakma had held the post during the Hasina-led government's tenure in 1996-2001.

The new cabinet will also have three women members. The number was four in the outgoing cabinet.

Dipu Moni, an MP from Chandpur-3, has been made education minister. She was foreign minister during the AL-led government's tenure in 2009-2014.

Khulna-3 lawmaker Begum Monnuzan Sufian, who was state minister for labour and employment ministry in 2009-2014, has been given the same portfolio this time.

Bagerhat-3 MP Begum Habibun Nahar, wife of Khulna City Corporation Mayor Talukder Abdul Khalek, has been made deputy minister for environment, forest and climate change.

Hasina kept the women and children affairs ministry in her hand.

Meher Afroz Chumki was the state minister for women and children affairs in the outgoing cabinet.

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