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Friday, July 17, 2015, Shraban 2, 1422 BS, Ramadan 29, 1436 Hijr

PM acts quickly to appease Ashraf, allots new ministry
Anis Ahmed
Published :Friday, 17 July, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 5

Dismissal of Syed Ashraful Islam, General Secretary of Awami League, from the LGRD ministry few days ago, had literally shaken the ruling party, which the party insiders and analysts said could leave a lingering impact on the working and structure of the government. 
Syed Ashraful 'unnerved' his followers and patron Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by announcing plans to leave the country for London on Wednesday (two days before the weekend). Sheikh Hasina shoveled her mind and called Ashraful for exclusive talks at her official residence.
The ice started melting immediately. Ashraful cancelled his London trip "for the moment." Words spread like wild fire that the PM was ready for 'damage control' by assigning Ashraful to a new job, new ministry or a hi-fi position in the government. Rumours also had it that he might be appointed Deputy Prime Minister even though it would require amending the Constitution.
However, Sheikh Hasina walked her 'normal' way and yesterday appointed the former LGRD Minister with the same rank and status to the Public Administration Ministry. It would definitely appease Ashraful, cool the annoyance of his ardent supporters and followers - and probably has saved the country and AL from an impending 'disaster.'
But the question remains as to what actually necessitated his removal from the previous ministry. There is no explanation available yet from the government or the ruling party.
Now that Ashraful's prestige and honour have been restored, much quicker than was expected, he can celebrate Eid ul-Fitr with nerves eased, mood polished and a broader smile on his face.
In his case, the Prime Minister acted unusually fast which also reflects on her 'dependence' on the party General Secretary, a man of cool vision, amiable nature and 'take it easy' approach even in dealing with serious matters.
His removal sparked the possibility of a reshuffle in Sheikh Hasina's cabinet. But it is not immediately clear whether his reappointment signaled the commencement of the process. Things will become clear after the Eid holidays starting tomorrow. Meanwhile, Ashraful will be standing close by the PM at her regular post-Eid 'meet the people' event.  Similar meet the people events are also hosted by President Abdul Hamid, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and by lesser leaders.
Now with Ashraful beside the PM, the look will be fuller and the occasion will be marked in usual pomp and color for the ruling party.
Taking the cue from Syed Ashraful's quick return to the cabinet with a new portfolio, we would also expect the PM will act as quickly and steadfastly when it comes to dealing with a national issue, including peace and good governance.
The country is now passing through a 'critical' time in terms of deteriorating law and order, delay in investigating crimes and in processing cases for trial, and also delay in delivering justice. People of Bangladesh want the PM, whom they hold in high esteem for her wisdom, foresight and sagacity in handling any situation, to be mindful to  law and order, inaction or excesses by law enforcing agencies and political patronization of crime and protection of crime-doers. She will, hopefully, hold the helm with a tighter grip and save the government and people from many challenges.
Syed Ashraful holds a special place in Bangladesh politics by dint of his own caliber and quality but he often 'diluted' this by absenting himself from ministerial and cabinet meetings, and also dropping out of state functions. Now he will, we hope, be both active and pro-active and take his party a long way ahead in full compliance with Sheikh Hasina to its cherished goals.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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