AL veteran Matia Chowdhury made Deputy Leader of the House

The post fell vacant after the death of Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury

Published : 12 Jan 2023, 09:22 PM
Updated : 12 Jan 2023, 09:22 PM

Awami League stalwart Matia Chowdhury has been made Deputy Leader of the House, a post that fell vacant after the death of the veteran leader Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury.

The Awami League Parliamentary Party took the decision in a meeting presided over by party chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday.

Chief Whip Nur-E-Alam Chowdhury threw his support behind Matia when General Secretary Obaidul Quader proposed Matia’s name to deputise for the leader of the House.

Sajeda held the post three times until her death on Sept 11, 2022 after the Awami League returned to power in 2009.

Like Sajeda, Matia is also a member of the ruling party’s Presidium.

Matia had served as agriculture minister after the party won the elections in 2009 and 2014. She had also been minister during the 1996-2000 tenure of the Awami League.

Matia was the first female chief of any student organisation in Bangladesh. She was known as the Agnikanya, or the firebrand, for her fiery speeches when she was president of Bangladesh Students’ Union and general secretary of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union or DUCSU.

The leftist politician later joined the Awami League and became a confidante of Hasina.

Matia was among those who stood firm by Hasina’s side when some leaders demanded reforms to the party during the emergency.

Hasina’s trust in Matia was apparent in their movement. Matia accompanied Hasina when the prime minister faced army officers who were angry about a deadly border guard mutiny in February 2009 just after the Awami League formed government.

Hasina dropped Matia from the government in the process to draw a line between her party and administration after winning the 2018 polls, but Hasina’ confidence in Matia never eroded.

Matia was seated between Hasina and Hasina’s sister Sheikh Rehana, the two daughters of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on Bangladesh’s maiden metro rail trip in December.

The 81-year old politician represents Sherpur-2 (Nalitabari-Nakla) constituency in parliament. Her husband, renowned journalist Bazlur Rahman, died in 2008.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher