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14-party alliance members unhappy with no representation in cabinet

  • Published at 12:03 am May 21st, 2019
WEB_File photo of Bangladesh Secretariat_Syed Zakir Hossain_03.01.2019.jpg
File photo of Bangladesh Secretariat Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Frustrated alliance partners had been hoping for a change in their favour during the cabinet reshuffling on Sunday

Members of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance are not happy about the absence of ministers in the present cabinet from their own parties, despite winning the election together as a coalition.

After winning the 11th parliamentary election on December 30, Awami League formed a 47-member cabinet—composed of over two dozen first-timers—but did not include any alliance members.

Frustrated alliance partners had been hoping for a change in their favour during the cabinet reshuffling on Sunday. 

But their hopes were dashed when none of their partymen were included in the cabinet. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina only changed the portfolios of five existing cabinet members. 

She curtailed the powers of two ministers and increased that of two state ministers.

Rashed Khan Menon, president of Workers Party of Bangladesh, an alliance partner, said tension has gripped the leaders of the coalition as none of them have been included in the cabinet.

Sharif Nurul Ambia, executive president of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, told Dhaka Tribune that there is some dissatisfaction among the alliance partners, but it "is not a big issue."

He said: “The 14-party alliance partners are dissatisfied as they are not included in the cabinet, but it will not hurt the alliance as it was not formed for power-sharing, but to save our politics from evil forces.”

Anisur Rahman Mallik, former general secretary and politburo member of the Workers Party, complained that the Awami League had been “ignoring” its alliance members after coming to power for the third consecutive term.

However, several leaders of the Awami League central working committee said that the alliance partners should not be dissatisfied as these minor political parties would not even have any elected lawmakers if they had not formed an alliance with the ruling party.

They urged leaders of the smaller parties to be patient with the decision made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina—also chief of the 14-party alliance—and wait for their turn.

Many also alleged that as cabinet members during Awami League's last term, the alliance partners did not think about the country and were more focused on reforming their own parties with the help of the government.

Mohammad Nasim, Awami League presidium member and spokesperson for the 14-party alliance, said the political alliance was formed based on ideological similarities.

“There is no tension in the alliance," he added.

He also claimed that the alliance is needed for improving Bangladesh’s democracy.

Currently, the alliance partners have 13 lawmakers in the parliament—five from the Workers Party of Bangladesh, three from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Inu), one from Bangladesh Tarikat Federation, and one from Jatiya Party (Manju).

In the previous cabinet, the prime minister had picked Rashed Khan Menon from Workers Party of Bangladesh, Hasanul Haque Inu from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, and Anwar Hossain Manju from Jatiya Party as ministers.

Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal General Secretary Dilip Barua had also served as a cabinet minister during the 2008–2013 term of the 14-party alliance government.