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23 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 June, 2019 11:43:35 PM

AL turns 70

Party plans to take country to ‘developed nation’ status by 2041
Special Correspondent
AL turns 70
The front view of the historic Rose Garden where Awami League, then named as East Pakistan Awami Muslim League, was formed on this day in 1949. The building earned its name from various species of rare roses in its garden. Photo: Nazmul Islam

The Bangladesh Awami League (AL), the oldest and arguably the largest political party of the country, is set to celebrate its 70th founding anniversary today, after successfully facing many challenges and triumphing over numerous hurdles. The party, after forming a development-oriented government for the third consecutive term, has now set its eyes on elevating the country to the status of a developed nation by 2041 and completely eradicating poverty.

On this day in 1949, the party was founded at the Rose Garden building at the initiative of a progressive part of the Muslim League. The party was formed then under the leadership of Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and Maulana Abdur Rashid Tarkabagish, Syed Shamsul Haque, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Businessman Hrishikesh Das built the Rose Garden in 1931 on a 22-bigha plot. He had various species of rare roses in his garden and this earned the house the name ‘Rose Garden’.

When Hrishikesh became bankrupt, he sold the property to Moulvi Kazi Abdur Rashid in 1936. Rashid then set up the provincial library there.

During its inception, the party's name was "East Pakistan Awami Muslim League". For more than six years since its inception, the party had carried this name. In 1955, the party shed the word "Muslim" from its name to transform it into a non-communal political organisation.

The party successfully led the language movement in 1952, a landslide victory of the Jukta Front against the Muslim League in the 1954 elections and formation of the government. It also led movements against the anti-people education policy in 1962 and waged movement on the basis of the historic "Six-Point Plan" in 1966, and the mass upsurge in 1969.

The journey was not smooth for the AL. It was banned during General Ayub Khan's 1958 martial law regime. The entire top

leadership of the party was arrested and most were kept detained until 1963. The party was revived in 1962 as part of an alliance of opposition political parties to back Fatema Jinnah in the 1965 presidential election against Field Marshal Ayub Khan.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was elected as the party chief in 1966 from the post of general secretary. In February 1966, Sheikh Mujib placed the historic “Six-Point Plan” of regional autonomy for Pakistan’s federated provinces at a conference of opposition leaders in Lahore.

In 1968, Bangabandhu was arrested in the Agartala Conspiracy Case and was put on trial, but the mass upsurge of 1969 forced the Ayub Khan regime to free him in February 1969. Bangabandhu gradually evolved into becoming the unparalleled leader of the Bangalees. Under his leadership, the AL won a landslide victory in the 1970 election. It has the glorious history of leading the country’s Liberation War.

After the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu and most of his family members on August 15, 1975, party leaders faced repression during the martial law regime. Only two daughters of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, survived in London. The AL was, however, revived during the martial law regime in 1977. After its revival, Abdul Malek Ukil and Abdur Razzaq were elected party president and general secretary, respectively, in the 1978 council.

After the council, internal conflicts surfaced. Factional fights reached a peak before the party’s next council in 1981. Amid this, the party council elected Sheikh Hasina, who was abroad then, as chief in an effort to minimise internal conflicts. Hasina returned to the country on May 17, 1981, and started engaging herself in party activities. She has been leading the party since.

Anniversary programmes

The party has chalked out elaborate programmes to celebrate its 70th founding anniversary. The party will hold a discussion at the Bangabandhu International Convention Centre at 4:00pm on Monday.

AL president Sheikh Hasina is expected to chair the discussion, to be addressed by national leaders and eminent citizens. The party will start the day by hoisting the national and party flags at all its offices across the country. Besides, it will release pigeons and balloons marking the day.

Sheikh Hasina, along with her party leaders, will place wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at Dhanmondi 32 at around 8:30am.

In a press statement, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader has urged all leaders and workers of the AL and its associate organisations to observe the programmes with due respect.

Besides, a team comprising some AL central leaders will visit the grave of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to pay tribute to him on the occasion, said the media release.    




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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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