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    Sheikh Hasina to sit with Awami League central leaders Thursday for first time in a year

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    The prime minister is also set to leave the country next week to attend the 76th UN General Assembly

    Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina will sit with the central leaders of the ruling party in person for the first time in over a year.

    The meeting will be held at the prime minister’s official residence, Ganabhaban, on Thursday morning.

    Sources at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) have said the premier will also attend the upcoming 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in person rather than virtually.

    Awami League leaders said Thursday’s meeting will be a formal get-together for the top leaders of the party ahead of the premier’s trip abroad. In light of the Covid-19 situation, not all members of the Awami League Central Working Committee have been invited to the meeting.

    The last Awami League Central Working Committee meeting was held at Ganabhaban on October 3 last year. Since then, Sheikh Hasina has only attended party programs virtually.

    According to the prime minister’s schedule, Sheikh Hasina will leave the country at the end of the third week of September to attend the UNGA in New York. She is expected to return to Bangladesh by way of Finland in the first week of October.

    Awami League Office Secretary Barrister Biplab Barua on Tuesday told Dhaka Tribune that just 50 leaders of the party’s central working committee had been invited to Thursday’s meeting in order to maintain Covid-19 health protocols. Every leader will be required to take an RT-PCR Covid-19 test.

    Leaders of the party said the in-person meeting had raised their hopes as it was a sign that the Covid-19 situation in the country was improving every day, and a return to normal conditions might be possible soon.

    Speaking to Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday, Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said: “This meeting is taking place after a gap of almost a year. There are many things on the agenda.”

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    Upcoming local government elections, the Awami League National Council in 2022, and the next general election in 2023 are all likely to be discussed, he added.

    Hanif also said: “Party leaders will submit division-wise organizational reports at the meeting. So, the roadmap for a reshuffle of the party at the grassroots level may be set at the meeting, ahead of the national council.”

    Awami League presidium member Faruk Khan said Thursday’s meeting was expected to begin at 10am and so discussions were likely to go on for a long time.

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