AL to hold 21st National Council in Dec

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Dhaka, September 14: The Awami League (AL) will organise its 21st National Council on December 20 and 21 to elect new leaders.AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader announced the dates after a meeting of its Central Working Committee chaired by party chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Ganabhaban on Saturday night.

The Awami League holds its council every three years following its charter.

Hasina was re-elected president of the party for the eighth consecutive term in the last council held on Oct 23 in 2016.

Quader replaced Syed Ashraful Islam as general secretary at the time.

70 YEARS OF AWAMI LEAGUE

The Awami League was formed on Jun 23 in 1949 at Rose Garden in Old Dhaka’s KM Das Lane. Among those instrumental in its formation were Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Shamsul Haq.

Throughout the 1950s, a young Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who would come to be known as Bangabandhu, carried the party’s organisation to every nook and corner of erstwhile East Pakistan.

Bhashani left the party in 1957 to form the National Awami Party.

Following the death of Suhrawardy in December 1963, Sheikh Mujib revived the Awami League, which had become part of the National Democratic Front after the imposition of martial law in Pakistan in October 1958.

In 1966 the Awami League announced the Six-Point programme for regional autonomy.

Bangabandhu was put on trial, along with 34 others, in the ‘Agartala conspiracy case’ in June 1968 but was released after a mass uprising in February 1969.

Under Bangabandhu’s leadership, the Awami League won a majority of seats, 167 out of a total of 313, in Pakistan’s first general election in December 1970.

Prevented from assuming power by the Yahya Khan military junta, the party was forced into an armed movement for independence by a brutal military crackdown in March 1971.

Afterwards Bangabandhu was arrested and flown to West Pakistan to stand trial on charges of waging war against Pakistan.

The War of Independence, led by Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam and Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmad, culminated in the emergence of a sovereign Bangladesh in December 1971.

Bangabandhu returned from Pakistan in January 1972 and took over as prime minister.

He was killed with most of his family in a brutal military coup on 15 August, 1975.

Until Hasina was elected leader of the Awami League in May 1981, the party was divided into three factions, with no single powerful figure to lead it out of the doldrums.

Her arrival reunified the party and it went on to wage a long struggle against military dictatorships until December 1990.

The Awami League returned to power in 1996 after 21 years. After the five-year term, it lost the 2001 polls but returned to power with a huge majority in Dec 2008.

The party is now ruling the country for a third successive term after winning the December 2018 polls.