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Who will lead AL as general secretary?

  • Published at 06:20 pm December 20th, 2019
File photo: Awami League leaders and activists seen entering Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka for the organization’s 21st National Council on Friday, December 20, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Obaidul Quader replaced Syed Ashraful Islam as party general secretary in 2016 during the 20th National Council of Awami League

As the national council of the ruling Awami League rolls to the concluding day on Saturday, who would lead the party as general secretary remains the heart of the discussion among all.

While there is widespread talk that incumbent general secretary Obaidul Quader will continue to hold his post, on the other hand, many say the party chief Sheikh Hasina is the sole authority to make the decision as she was yet to make a green signal on re-election of Quader to the post.

Quader replaced Syed Ashraful Islam as party general secretary in 2016 during the 20th National Council of Awami League.

But a day before the final day of the national council, it was not clear as of 8pm at the time of filing of this report who will indeed lead the party as general secretary.

As per the schedule, Awami League President Sheikh Hasina will sit with councillors across Bangladesh at 10:30am on Saturday at the Engineers Institution Bangladesh in Dhaka.

There will be closed door meetings between the premier and the councilors on who they want to see as their future leader before the final decision is made, according to at least five representatives from the party and Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The premier will be very cautious in making the general secretary this time as the new general secretary will be responsible for carrying out the ongoing "purification drive," celebration for Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary, and also for the 50-year celebration of independent Bangladesh.

"Priority will be given on the suggestions made by the grass-root people. Awami League president will take their opinion and will make the final decision," said a top Awami League leader.

However there will be no change in the party president post as Sheikh Hasina is leading the party as president since 1981 and for eight consecutive times.

Many other posts in the 81 member central committee may see changes too.

Possible second in command

For the second-in-command post, Awami League will emphasize on those leaders who have already held key positions in the Bangladesh Chhatra League.

Almost all the previous general secretaries of the party are leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League, student wing of the oldest political party.

This time, names of a number of central leaders, have surfaced for the post of secretary general, whether Quader remains or not.

They include the league's presidium member and agriculture minister Dr Abdur Razzak and all four joint general secretaries Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Dr Dipu Moni, Advocate Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman. Information Minister and Awami League Publication Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud is also a contestant to the post.

Among the incumbent organizing secretaries, names of Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and Abu Sayeed Al Mahmood Swapon are in the discussions.

Central committee member advocate Ajmat Ullah Khan, president of Gazipur city unit Awami League president, has also came to the discussion.

But this time, all are crossing their fingers as no concrete information was made available to anyone on who is going to be the party’s second in command.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Thursday said: “Only the top leader [Sheikh Hasina] and the Almighty know what changes are coming through the council.”

As the hectic lobbying for the party’s second in command post is ongoing, with discussions and rumours in the air, Awami League president Sheikh Hasina is the one who will make the final call on Saturday.

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