Bangladesh's oldest political party Awami League, which led the country to independence, is celebrating its 70th founding anniversary on Sunday.
Since its founding on June 23, 1949 at the historic Rose Garden in the old part of Dhaka, the party played leading role in all democratic movements. It also led the nation in the War of Liberation in 1971 under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Awami League and its associate bodies chalked out various programmes to celebrate the day.
Party President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid homage to Bangabandhu by placing a floral wreath at the portrait of the Father of the Nation at Dhanmondi Road no-32 in the morning.
She stood there in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memory of Bangabandhu, the architect of independence.
Later, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, placed another wreath at Bangabandhu's portrait as the party chief.
The Journey of Awami League
The All Pakistan Awami Muslim League was founded in Rose Garden of KM Das Lane, Dhaka, the capital of the Pakistani province of East Bengal, in 1949 by Bengali nationalists Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Shawkat Ali, Yar Mohammad Khan, Shamsul Huq, and joined later Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy who went on to become Prime Minister of Pakistan.
The term 'Muslim' was deleted from the name of the party at its third council meeting held on 21-23 October 1955.
The party under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, led the struggle for independence, first through massive populist and civil disobedience movements, such as the Six Point Movement and 1971 Non-Cooperation Movement, and then during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
After the emergence of independent Bangladesh, the Awami League won the first general elections in 1973 but was overthrown in 1975 after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. After the restoration of democracy in 1990, the Awami League emerged as one of the principal players of Bangladeshi politics.
The incumbent Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, has headed the party since 1981.
In the seventh Jatiya Sangsad elections held on 12 June 1996 under the caretaker government headed by Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman, the Awami League won majority seats among the parties (146 seats out of 300 and 37.53% of the votes cast) and formed the government with Sheikh Hasina as the Prime Minister.
In the eighth Jatiya Sangsad elections held on 1 October 2001 the Awami League suffered a smashing defeat at the hands of the BNP-Jamat 4-party Alliance. But in spite of this reversal, Awami League Alliance came out victorious in the next elections held on 29 December 2008.
In the 2014 election the Awami League won a second term of which 154 Members (out of 300) of Parliament were selected where there were no election. Only 5% voter attended in the polling station and cast their votes.
In the 2018 election Awami League led by Sheikh Hasina won a landslide victory.