January 12, 2014 7:48:20 pm
Sheikh Hasina was on Sunday sworn in for her second straight term as prime minister, a week after her Awami League secured a landslide win in the violence-hit general election boycotted by the opposition as a farce.
President Abdul Hamid administered oath of the office to the 48-member strong council of ministers at ‘Bangabhaban’ – the presidential house – here in a ceremony that was broadcast live.
A total of 29 lawmakers took oath as Cabinet ministers. 17 MPs were appointed as state ministers while two as deputy ministers.
Prominent among those who were dropped from the previous government were Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and minister without a portfolio and minority leader Suranjit Sengupta.
Attired in an off-white sari, 66-year-old Hasina looked confident at the jam-packed Darbar Hall of Bangabhaban. She took oath pledging to preserve, protect and defend the national constitution and state sovereignty.
“I am, Sheikh Hasina, taking oath…that I will discharge my duties faithfully as the prime minister of the government as per the law,” Hasina said amid claps from the audience.
This is the third term for Hasina as prime minister. She had also served as prime minister during 1996-2001.
Awami League won over two-thirds of parliament’s 300 seats in the January 5 polls which were described as a farce by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led 18-party opposition alliance. The opposition boycotted the polls demanding a neutral caretaker regime to oversee the polls.
The opposition led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia tried to derail the polls by calling strikes and blockades. Over 160 people were killed in poll related violence since November.
Jatiya Party, headed by former military ruler H M Ershad, won 32 seats and likely to play the role of the main opposition in the parliament.
BNP leaders were absent from the swearing-in ceremony.
Many diplomats, including Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran, US Ambassador Dan Mozena and British envoy Robert Gibson, attended the ceremony.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated Awami League leader after she was sworn-in and said he hoped bilateral relations between the neighbouring countries would flourish.
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