Hasina keeps Home, Foreign Affairs, Defence portfolios

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Hasina to handle Home, Defence
Dhaka, Jan 13: Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has kept crucial portfolios of defence, home and foreign affairs with herself as she distributed portfolios among her new Cabinet members.

While distributing portfolios among her 49-member council of ministers overnight, Hasina kept three more portfolios - home, foreign affairs and power - this time, besides the cabinet division, public administration and armed forces division that she held earlier too.

According to a cabinet division statement, issued hours after the swearing in of the new government yesterday, Hasina will also keep the ministries that have no ministers and ministers of state. Hasina and her 48-member council of ministers took oath of office yesterday. Besides the 66-year-old Awami League chief, 29 lawmakers took oath as Cabinet ministers while 17 MPs were appointed as ministers of state and two as deputy ministers. Hasina dropped several of her previous ministers, including Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and minister without portfolio Suranjit Sengupta, a minority leader.

Only 15 of the 51 ministers and state ministers retained their positions in the new government as Hasina brought back several veteran leaders who were sidelined in her previous government. She inducted at least 23 new faces, including first time MP advocate Anisul Haq, who led the state in the assassination trial of Bangladesh's founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina's father.

Haq was given the law portfolio while among the senior party veterans Tofail Ahmed was entrusted with the charge of commerce, Amir Hossain Amu with industry and Mohammad Nasim with health. Ahmed and Amu were also in the poll-time multi-party interim government during the past three months and were re-inducted in the new government.

Abul Maal Abdul Muhith will retain his earlier finance ministry, Matia Chowdhury agriculture, Syed Ashraful Islam local government, Nurul Islam Nahid education, Obaidul Quader communications, Mazibul Haq railways, Shajahan Khan shipping and Khandker Mosharraf Hossain expatriates' welfare.

PTI

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