In her speech, Sheikh Hasina acknowledged the role of Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy in founding and leading Awami League. This recognition comes late, but eases the burden on the party as it can now associate two stoic leaders from the past with the party.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, touted as the next-generation standard bearer of Awami League, attended the second session while being unseen during the inauguration. On the other hand, Sheikh Rehana, sister to Sheikh Hasina and councillor for Dhaka city (South), was not in the country at the time.
A multitude of foreign dignitaries including leaders from BJP and Congress in India, and MPs from Austria and Russia attended the council. It goes to show that Awami League has forged excellent relationships with countries close and far. The multinational guest-list highlights Awami League’s strength in camaraderie over the past years has grown significantly. Awami League brought over guests from China, Bhutan, Nepal, and almost any and all trade partners.
Although Joint Secretary General Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal announced that BNP would attend the council to show how liberal they are, they did not attend. Sources revealed it was not an official party statement but a personal opinion.
In the wake of a week that saw hellish congestion for the Chinese president, Sheikh Hasina, and the president of the World Bank, citizens of Dhaka stayed indoors as they feared the massive turnout for the council. The DMP’s announcement of roads being restricted had few people going out on Saturday. The streets were eerily empty, a throwback to the pre-Eid roads devoid of the natural traffic jams. Surprisingly, no Buet applicants complained about missing their admission exam without any hassle.
Awami League’s research wing – Centre for Research and Information (CRI) organised an initiative that let young leaders and activists engage central leaders and policymakers of the party. This initiative holds true to the previous declaration that this council will be a blend of the old and new.
The party president Sheikh Hasina announced that Bangladesh will be a conduit between the two hemispheres. It could mean that Bangladesh has improved its foreign relations to the extent where it can use its geostrategic location for diplomatic purposes.
She also announced plans to erect free housing for the homeless and the destitute. Although a far-fetched scheme, it may lead to solutions that will eliminate poverty or at the very least, reduce it.
Despite receiving invitations, the two leaders of the two Jatiya Party factions did not attend the council. A representative said that there is no culture of top leaders of one party attending the council of another party.