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Small size 25-member poll-time govt in mid-October

New faces might replace controversial ministers

Published : Wednesday, 12 September, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 172

A small-size polls-time government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to be formed in the second half of October this year ahead of 11th national parliamentary elections. The number of the cabinet members will not be more than 25, according to Awami League and 14-party alliance sources. The Prime Minister may exclude her party's senior and important leaders from the polls-time cabinet to conduct the elections smoothly.

Some new faces might replace controversial and elderly cabinet members. A number of leaders from Jatiya Party and 14-party alliances may be inducted in the cabinet but all members of the new cabinet must be elected representatives. However, everything will depend on the decision and consideration of the Prime Minister, who will lead the polls-time government as per the constitution, they said.

Consulting with the senior leaders of the party and the alliances she would finalise the decision within the first half of October this year.     Giving the hints, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader told reporters at his Secretariat office on Tuesday that the polls-time government would not contain any technocrat (unelected) minister. The size of the new cabinet will be very small. The new cabinet will take charge by mid-October to assist the Election Commission to conduct the polls in a free and fair manner, the Roads and Bridges Minister said.

When asked about the persons who are going to be included in the cabinet Obaidul said he didn't know about it. "It's the discretion of the Prime Minister." While talking to journalists, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the present government would act during the upcoming elections. However, the size of the government may shrink. The 11th national parliament election is likely to be held by December this year. The Election Commission is taking its preparation to hold the election on December 27 or 28 this year.

According to the ruling party sources, before the January 5, 2014 elections, the polls-time government took its charge on November 21, 2013, three days after the election schedule was declared. Following the same system, the new polls-time government will also be formed and take its charges. Although there is no provision of forming a polls-time government in the constitution, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed a polls-time government in November 2013. The number of 2013 polls-time government cabinet was 29. But, the present government is planning to form it comprising 21 to 25 members.

The sources said the cabinet members, who are from the government's allies, will remain in the new cabinet. At the same time, some senior members from the allies will also get position in the cabinet. The government's prime ally HM Ershad's Jatiya Party has already prepared a list of its five leaders for the polls-time government. Of them, three are already in the Cabinet. It wants two more cabinet members from the party. Ershad already briefed Sheikh Hasina about its decision while meeting the PM in parliament on Sunday, a leader of Jatiya party said. According to sources, as there will not be any technocrat member in the cabinet, Ershad's younger brother and JP Co-chairman GM Quader will miss the chance despite Ershad's desire. GM Quader is not a member of the present parliament.

The leaders of BNP will also not be included in the polls time government as none of BNP leaders is the member in this parliament. According to sources, controversial ministers - Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif and Religious Affairs Minister Matior Rahman will be excluded from the polls-time government's cabinet. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal will replace Muhith.

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