21 out of 23 members from Mostaq’s cabinet were part of Bangabandhu’s cabinet
On this day in 1975, former education minister Prof Yusuf Ali met Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, according to Bangabandhu Obhidhan by Sheikh Sadi.
Yusuf Ali was the president of Jatiya Sramik League, one of the associate bodies of Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (Baksal).
Interestingly, he joined the cabinet of Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad only four days after meeting the Father of the Nation.
Not only Yusuf Ali, but the maximum number of cabinet members of Baksal joined the cabinet of Khandaker Mostaq following the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu.
In his book “Ek General-er Nirab Shakhya”, Major General Moinul Hossain Chowdhury wrote: “After the imposition of Baksal, prominent personalities like journalists, professors, doctors, intellectuals visited the old parliament, now the Prime Minister’s Office, to congratulate Bangabandhu. Every day around thousands of people visited the parliament building.”
In the next paragraph of his book, Moinul wrote: “Following the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members on August 15, I saw on television many people, who had congratulated Bangabandhu after Baksal was imposed, meeting Khondaker Mostaq. Many notable members of society were roaming at random inside Bangabhaban that day,”
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Meanwhile, Tajuddin Ahmad expressed dismay after hearing of Bangabandhu’s assassinations news on August 15, 1975, according to the book “Tajuddin Ahmad: Neta o Pita” by his daughter Sharmin Ahmad.
In an instant reaction, the prime minister of MujibNagar government said: “Mujib Bhai did not know who was his real friend and who was his enemy. If he had a chance to think before he died, he might have thought that I had killed him. If I had been in the cabinet, no one would have been able to touch Mujib Bhai’s body.”
Following the brutal assassination, Mostaq formed his cabinet on the very day, even before Bangabandhu’s body was buried.
Only a few leaders -- among whom were Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, Captain Mansoor Ali, AHM Kamaruzzaman, Dr Kamal Hossain, and Abdus Samad Azad -- did not join Mostaq’s cabinet.
Besides Mostaq, Taher Uddin Thakur, a cabinet member in the Baksal government, was also involved in the assassination of August 15.
Although no other member of Bangabandhu’s government was involved in the assassination directly, most of them joined Mostaq's cabinet.
Khondaker Mostaq formed his cabinet with 12 ministers and 11 state ministers. Of the 23 members of the cabinet, 21 had been in the cabinet under Bangabandhu.
Almost everyone was given his previous portfolio.
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Apart from those from the Baksal cabinet, Khandaker Mostaq added only two people to his cabinet.
Shah Moazzem Hossain, the state minister in Mostaq's cabinet, was not a member of Bangabandhu's cabinet. However he had been chief whip of the Jatiya Sangsad.
Momin Uddin Ahmed was another new member of Mostaq's cabinet. He was the state minister of Communications.
The office of prime minister was abolished when Mostaq seized power. As a result, there was no prime minister in his government.
Many ministers of Mostaq’s cabinet later claimed that they had been forced to join his cabinet or that they had taken the oath of office to save their lives.
Key ministers of Mostaq’s cabinet
President: Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad
Vice President: Mohammadullah, land minister in the Baksal government
Finance Minister: Dr Azizur Rahman Mollik, finance minister in Baksal government
Law Minister: Monoronjon Dhar, law minister in Bangabandhu’s cabinet
Agriculture and Food Minister: Abdul Momin, same portfolio in Baksal government
Housing Minister: Sohrab Hossain, same ministry in Bangabandhu’s cabinet
Relief Minister: Dr. Khitish Chandra Mandal, same portfolio in Bangabandhu’s cabinet
Planning Minister: Professor Yusuf Ali, minister of education and culture in Bangabandhu’s Cabinet