After his resignation from the Cabinet over his suspected involvement in the bribe exchange conspiracy in the Padma bridge project, Syed Abul Hossain had no place in the fully fledged Central Working Committee that the Awami League announced on Wednesday.
Four days into its national council, the ruling party announced the new committee with Abul Hossain failing to be neither in the Presidium Council nor Advisory Council.
Central Working Committee member Mohammad Nasim and Publicity Secretary Nuh-ul Alam Lenin were included in the Presidium while Home Minister MK Alamgir, Labour and Employment minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju and Yusuf Hossain Humayun were excluded from the party's highest policymaking body.
Alamgir and Raju have been sidelined to the least functional Advisory Council.
Two Presidium posts have been kept vacant. Previous Forest and Environment Affairs Secretary Hasan Mahmud, also the Environment and Forest minister, has been made the Publicity and Publication Secretary, but no one has taken his previous post.
Syed Ashraf said that the three vacant posts would be filled in future.
Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta and Abdul Jalil retained their posts in the Advisory Council. They will also be in the party's Parliamentary Board along with Hasina.
Abul Hossain was the International Affairs Secretary in the previous Central Working Committee and held the post for over a decade.
Four years into assuming the office, the Awami League government is yet to start the construction of the Padma bridge, the country's largest-ever infrastructure development project, which was one of the electoral pledges of the party in the 2008 general election. The opposition parties along with many others have pointed finger at Hossain, then the Communications Minister, for the delay.
The World Bank, the lead financer of the project, had halted its pledged $1.2 billion fund in the $2.9 billion project raising graft allegations in Sept 2011. On June 29 last year, the Washington-based lender pulled itself out of the project.
The Prime Minister and Hossain had denounced graft allegations outright. At one point, Hasina announced to go ahead with the project without the World Bank. However, the lending agency eventually returned as the government managed to strike a deal with it.
Abul Hossain's resignation from the Cabinet was one of the conditions laid out by the World Bank. The beleaguered minister bowed out on July 23 last year to fulfil the condition.
Hossain had been dismissing graft allegations against him and in an interview with bdnews24.com he had hoped to 'come out clean'. Seven months after his resignation from the Cabinet, he lost his post in the party's central committee.
Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has been made the International Affairs Secretary to replace her predecessor. She is the State Minister of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.
Awami League General Secretary and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam declared the 69-strong committee at a press conference at party President's political office. Of them, 11 are Presidium members, 30 secretaries and 25 executive council members.
Hasina was re-elected President for the seventh time while Syed Ashraful Islam retained his General Secretary post in the 19th national council of the ruling party on Dec 29.
The Councillors at the meeting held at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan gave the responsibility to Hasina and Ashraf to constitute the new Central Working Committee.
The new Presidium member Mohammad Nasim has held important positions in the party. He was Posts and Telecommunications Minister and Home Minister in the 1996-2001 Hasina Cabinet.
However, he was criticised by party members after the 2001 general elections and failed to get a Cabinet post this time. Nasim was kept in the council as an Executive Member.
Although he held no post in the party and the government, on various occasions he was critical of the government.
It is believed that Nuh-ul Alam Lenin was promoted to the Presidium for his role in preparing the party's election manifesto and campaigns on the successes of the government.
A former communist leader, Lenin had once helmed the Awami League's Information and Research Division.
MK Alamgir was given charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs, in place of Shahara Khatun, in the last Cabinet reshuffle. Since then he had drawn flaks for his remarks.
Incumbent Labour and Employment minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju was criticised for his remarks over the murder of former Narsingdi municipal Mayor Lokman Hossain. His younger brother Salahuddin Ahmed Bachchu had been accused by Lokman's family of his alleged link with the murder.
Raju had lost his posts and telecommunications ministry portfolio the latest Cabinet reshuffle.
Yusuf Hossain Humayun, moved to the Advisory Council from the Presidium, is a leader of the ruling party-backed lawyers.
No major changes were done in rearranging the posts of the new Central Working Committee. Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif, Dipu Moni and Jahangir Kabir Nanak have retained their posts as Joint General Secretary.
Simeen Hussain Rimi MP, daughter of the first Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed, has been made the Central Working Committee member.
Source: Bd News24