Tarana among 3 new ministers

Asaduzzaman, Yeafesh made full ministers; no portfolios reshuffled
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday inducted three new faces into her council of ministers and promoted two state ministers to the post of minister.
Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Yeafesh Osman were elevated to full ministers and reassigned the portfolios of home affairs and science and technology. Newly picked Nurul Islam, leader of Chittagong city Awami League, was made technocrat minister, while Nuruzzaman Ahmed, lawmaker from Lalmonirhat-2, and actress Tarana Halim, lawmaker from a reserved seat, were appointed as state ministers.
They were sworn in at a simple ceremony at the Bangabhaban yesterday afternoon.
Nurul Islam will replace Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain as expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment minister.
Mosharraf was recently given the charge of the LGRD ministry after Syed Ashraful Islam was removed from the ministry on July 9. Mosharraf ran the expatriates’ welfare ministry as an additional duty since then.
Nuruzzaman was made state minister for food with Qamrul Islam at the helm of the ministry, while Tarana Halim was given the charge of the posts and telecommunications ministry.
Sacked minister Abdul Latif Siddique had held the portfolio till October last year. Latif was dismissed after he made anti-hajj comments at a programme in New York.
On the PM’s advice, President Abdul Hamid appointed the ministers and administered the oath of office. Hasina and her cabinet colleagues were present at the programme.
With yesterday’s expansion, the Hasina-led cabinet, formed after the one-sided January 5 elections last year, now has 53 members. It includes 32 ministers, 18 state ministers and two deputy ministers.
The PM neither dropped anyone from the cabinet nor brought any significant changes in portfolios of the ministers though there were indications that two ministers mired in controversies might be shown the door.
According to government sources, Hasina might bring further changes in her cabinet after Eid.
Kamal, who was sworn in as full minister yesterday, will continue his job of leading the home ministry.
President of Tejgaon Thana AL in the capital, Kamal was elected MP for the first time in the 2008 parliamentary polls.
He was elected lawmaker uncontested in the January 5 polls last year, and was made state minister.
Before him, two AL presidium members Sahara Khatun and Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir held the home affairs portfolio in the Hasina-led government between 2009 and 2014.
Sources in the ruling AL and the government said Kamal was made full minister as a “reward”. He had been successful in tackling the BNP-Jamaat’s anti-government agitation that continued for around three months since January this year.
He had kept the PM informed about every crucial issue and extended cooperation to his party leaders whenever necessary, said the sources.
Yeafesh Osman, science and technology affairs secretary of the AL, was first made technocrat state minister in Hasina’s cabinet in 2009-2014. He was again included in her present cabinet as state minister for science and technology.
Many AL leaders think that he was promoted to the post of minister for running the ministry with “honesty and sincerity” for the last six and a half years.
Under his leadership, the ministry signed a deal with Russia for setting up 2,400-megawatt Rooppur nuclear power plant.
The AL high-command is happy with Yeafesh, son of renowned writer Shawkat Osman, for his participation in party activities, said AL sources.
According to them, Hasina inducted Nurul Islam into her cabinet, taking note of his “sacrifice” during the January 5 parliamentary polls.
Nurul, a businessman-turned-politician, was elected MP in the 2008 polls, and was the chief of a parliamentary standing committee.
On Hasina’s advice, Nurul, senior vice president of Chittagong city AL, pulled out of the January 5 election race to allow Jatiya Party leader Ziauddin Bablu to contest from his constituency. At that time, Hasina assured him that he would be “rewarded”, said AL sources.
Tarana Halim, who was re-elected as MP to a seat reserved for women in the current parliament, is considered as a “spirited” leader by many AL leaders.
She has mobilised young cultural activists for the party, and has been active on the streets.
Tarana, appreciated for her articulated speeches in parliament, has been a frontline campaigner for road safety.
Newly appointed state minister Nuruzzaman was elected lawmaker for the first time in the January 5 polls.
His constituency like the others in Lalmonirhat didn’t see much development, and the PM might have made him state minister to ensure development in his area, believes AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif.
Local AL leaders said Nuruzzaman is known as a dedicated party leader. He broke through the stronghold of Jatiya Party and organised the AL in his constituency for the last seven years.

-With The Daily Star input

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