Awami League, the country’ one of the oldest and biggest political parties which will mark its 72nd foundation anniversary tomorrow (23 June 2021), saw seven chiefs and nine secretaries since its founding on June 23, 1949.

Sheikh Hasina has been serving as the longest-serving president of AL, which led the country’s 1971 Liberation War, for the highest nine consecutive terms for the last four decades since her election to the position on February 16, 1981.

So far, 9 leaders served the AL as general secretary with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Zillur Rahman serving in that position for the highest four terms each.

Bangabandhu became the party president on January 25, 1966 and steered the party for eight years till January 18, 1974.

The first party chief, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani served for seven years from June 23, 1949 to July 27, 1956. Shamshul Haque was elected as general secretary while Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as joint general secretary from the jail.

Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were elected president and general secretary in the AL’s second council held in 1953.

Third council was held in 1955 and Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were reelected president and general secretary.

Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy served as the acting party president for one year from July 27, 1956 to October 10, 1957.

Maulana Abdur Rashid Tarkabagish was elected as acting president and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was elected general secretary for the third time in the fourth council of Awami League held in 1957.

Maulana Abdur Rashid Tarkabagish was elected as president and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was reelected as general secretary for the fourth time in the fifth council of the party held in 1964.

The sixth council of Awami League held in 1966 was a historic one as it endorsed historic 6-point of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was elected as AL president for the first time and Tajuddin Ahmed was elected as its general secretary.

The seventh council was held in 1968 and Bangabandhu was in jail in connection with Agartala conspiracy case. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Tajuddin Ahmed were reelected as president and general secretary respectively of the party.

The eighth council of AL was held in 1970 and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Tajuddin Ahmed were elected as president and general secretary of the party again.

The ninth council was held in the independent Bangladesh in 1972 and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Zillur Rahman were as elected president and general secretary.

A H M Quamaruzzaman and Zillur Rahman were elected as president and general secretary of AL in the 10th council held in 1974.

The 11th council was held in 1977 and Syeda Zohra Tajuddin was elected as the party’s convener.

Abdul Malek Ukil and Abdur Razzak were elected as president and general secretary of AL in the 12th council held in 1978.

The 13th council was held on February 14-16 in 1981 and it was a turning point for AL as around 4000 councilors and delegates elected Sheikh Hasina as the party president in her absence while she was in exile. Abdur Razzak was elected as general secretary.

Abdur Razzak resigned from the post in 1982 and Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury became acting general secretary.

Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina returned home on May 17 in 1981 after her six years in exile.

“I have returned to the country not to become a leader of the Awami League, rather to participate in the struggle for freedom by staying beside the people,” said the Awami League president Sheikh Hasina in a heart-touching reception accorded by nearly 1.5 million people at the airport at that time.

She added, “I want to stay beside you as your sister, as your daughter, and as a worker of Awami League, who believes in the ideals of Bangabandhu.”

The 14th council was held in 1987 and Sheikh Hasina and Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury were elected as president and general secretary of the party.

Sheikh Hasina and Zillur Rahman were elected as president and general secretary in the 15th council of the part held in 1992.

Sheikh Hasina and Zillur Rahman were elected as president and general secretary again in the 16th council held in 1997.

The 17th council was held in 2002 and Sheikh Hasina and Abdul Jalil were elected as president and general secretary respectively.

Sheikh Hasina and Sayed Ashraful Islam were elected as president and general secretary of AL in the 18th council held in 2007.

Both Sheikh Hasina and Sayed Ashraful Islam were re-elected as president and general secretary in the 19th council held in 2012.

The 20th council of AL was held in 2016 and Sheikh Hasina and Obaidul Quader were elected as president and general secretary respectively.

The last 21st council of the AL was held on December 20-21 in 2019 at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan.

Sheikh Hasina and Obaidul Quader were re-elected as president and general secretary.

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