Begins second successive innings in government

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina began her second successive innings in government leading a 49-member Cabinet which was sworn-in on Sunday.

This is Ms. Hasina’s third stint as Prime Minister since 1996 when she became the head of government for the first time after Bangladesh returned to democracy from a prolonged military rule.

The new Cabinet has 29 Ministers, 17 State Ministers, and two Deputy Ministers.

The members of the new Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, were sworn in by President Abdul Hamid at a ceremony in the Bangabhaban, the President’s House.

The President had earlier invited Ms. Hasina, who was elected the leader of the party’s Parliamentary Party to form government as the Awami League won two-thirds majority in the January 5 parliament election held amid massive violence and boycott by the opposition parties.

In the new parliament, Jatiya Party is going to play a dual role as its leader Raushan Ershad will be Leader of the Opposition while several partymen were inducted as ministers. Mr. Ershad’s wife, Raushan Ershad, has replaced Begum Khaleda Zia, who was the Leader of the Opposition in the last parliament. None from the former parliamentary opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies attended the swearing-in ceremony. But H.M. Ershad, who had earlier refused to join the election announing a dramatic U –turn even after he and his men submitted nomination papers to contest the polls, attended the ceremony as a guest. Mr. Ershad took oath on Saturday as he was elected a member of parliament .

Most of the Ministers are seen as experienced since they are not only party veterans but also held various portfolios previously. While the majority in the new Cabinet are from Awami League, the rest are from Jatiya Party, Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, and Jatiya Party (Manju).

The Ministers who were inducted from the previous cabinet are A M Abdul Muhith, Matia Chowdhury, Syed Ashraful Islam, Obaidul Quader, Nurul Islam Nahid, Shahjahan Khan and Abdul Latif Siddiqui, while the new entrant party veterans are Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Mohammad Nasim, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and Assaduzzaman Noor of the Awami League. Ministers from the Jatiya Party are Anisul Islam Mahmud, Mujibul Haque and Rashed Khan Menon from Workers Party, Hasanul Huq Inu from Jatiya Samajtanktrik Dal and Anwar Hossain Manju from JP-Manju.

The notable drop from Ms. Hasina’s previous Cabinet are Dr Dipu Moni, Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Air-Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandaker, Suranjit Sengupta, Ruhul Haque, Shafique Ahmed, Hassan Mahmud, Ramesh Chandra Sen, Shamsul Haque Tuku and Jahangir Kabir Nanak.

Hours before the swearing-in, an appeal was filed in the High Court by a lawyer on Sunday challenging the move to form a new Cabinet before dissolving the existing 9th parliament.

The petition also sought a stay on the swearing-in ceremony of the Ministers.