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Sheikh Hasina re-elected Awami League chief

December 27, 2002 18:10 IST

Former Bangladesh prime minister and leader of the opposition Awami League, Sheikh Hasina, was on Thursday re-elected unopposed as party president.

Hasina was re-elected for the sixth time since 1981.

In a major shake up, many party veterans were dropped from its new Central Committee at the party's 19th triennial Council in Dhaka, and new leaders elected in their place.

Mohammad Jalil, former commerce minister, succeeded a long serving general secretary Zillur Rahman.

Jalil, who is in his late 50s and hails from Noagaon district, was also elected unopposed.

Veterans like Mohammad Nasim, former home minister and one time aspirant for the post of general secretary, and Professor Abu Sayeed, former state minister for information, were not elected to the Central Committee.

In the past, Nasim had held the portfolio of organising secretary, while Sayeed had been the Information and Research Secretary.

Abul Hasan Chowdhury, a former minister who held the post of party's International Affairs Secretary, was also dropped. He had already been expelled earlier for anti-party activities.

A new post of Secretary on Religious Affairs was created in the committee.

The triennial Council of Bangladesh's largest party ended in a day electing new leaders for what Hasina said to prepare the organisation for a "tough battle ahead".

Hasina, who renewed her demand for mid-term polls in the country, said just asking for a poll won't be honoured by the "repressive government" led by Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia.

"You must launch a tougher agitation for which you find yourselves repressed like never before. But you have to hit back," Hasina told thousands of cheering councilors and delegates at the Council.

Hasina also announced the names of members for the presidium, secretariat and advisory committee, which the party council later approved.

The presidium will elect members of the executive committee as per the party constitution.

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