Govt to expand, reshuffle cabinet soon
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may bring in a few more ministers and state ministers in her cabinet and redistribute portfolios of those of some important ministries for their unsatisfactory performance.
“She [Hasina] will induct three to six ministers and state ministers in her cabinet anytime soon,” a highly placed source in the cabinet told The Daily Star yesterday.
Preferring anonymity, the source said a few ministries, including the foreign, home and water resources, have reportedly failed to perform satisfactorily and the PM is considering changing portfolios of the ministers of one or two of these ministries.
Talking to The Daily Star, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said more ministers and state ministers would be introduced in the cabinet to ease the huge existing workloads and bring pace and dynamism in the government’s activities.
If the changes come, it will be the first reshuffle in Hasina’s six-month-old cabinet and sources close to her hinted that this time also she might bank on new faces for fresh appointments.
Close aides suggested that Hasina make the reshuffles after the government received huge criticism from the opposition camp for some naïve statements of these ministers.
These poor performers might be given portfolios of ministries like the women and children affairs.
Right now the home ministry has no guardian as both its minister and state minister are abroad: Home Minister Sahara Khatun is in Singapore for treatment while State Minister Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj has been on leave since June 6 and is staying in the USA with his family. Hasina is now looking after the activities of the ministry.
Soon after forming the cabinet Hasina warned her colleagues of losing portfolios for failing to perform satisfactorily. There have been rumours of reshuffles in recent times. But sources said she took time to evaluate performances of the members of the council of ministers.
A source meanwhile claimed that Hasina has already finalised five nominations for the posts of minister, state minister and deputy minister.
The prime minister might appoint new ministers to the ministries of labour and employment, housing and public works, and women and children affairs and a few state or deputy ministers to ministries including post and telecommunications, industries, commerce, and communications, the sources said.
Veteran Awami League leaders like Amir Hossain Amu, Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir would not be considered for being inducted in the cabinet this time too, a source close to Hasina said.
One of the AL joint general secretaries or organising secretaries might be made a minister while a few new faces, including two or three female lawmakers from the reserved seats, might be made deputy ministers and state ministers, the source added.
The prime minister expanded her cabinet once on January 24, including six state ministers in the cabinet. There are currently 38 members in the council of ministers with a majority of neophytes.
Some senior and mid-level leaders of the AL and the components of its grand alliance are busy lobbying for winning places in the cabinet.
Sources said a few AL leaders, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Haque Inu have already talked to Hasina’s close aides several times, expressing their eagerness to become cabinet members.
Among new faces, names of lawmakers Nur-e-Alam Chowdhury Liton, Nazmul Hasan Papon–son of President Zillur Rahman–and Supreme Court lawyer and lawmaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, have been considered for the posts of state minister at different ministries.
The highly placed sources told The Daily Star last night that Papon, who won a by-election from his father’s Kishoreganj-6 seat, might be made state minister for either health and family welfare or communications while Sharmin might be made state minister for women and children affairs. The portfolio of Liton is yet to be decided.
Govt to expand, reshuffle cabinet soon