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The Bangladesh Awami League (বাংলাদেশ আওয়ামী লীগ Bāŋlādeś Āowāmī Līg) or the Bangadesh People's League is the main opposition party in Bangladesh. At the 2001 general election it got 40% of the vote and 62 of 300 seats, making it the second-largest party behind the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
It was founded on June 23 1949, as the 'All Pakistan Awami Muslim League' by Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy . The word Muslim was dropped in 1955. There was some initial confusion, when the party was created, because two parties of the same name were created, in separate places in Pakistan. One was by 'Maulana Abdul Hameed khan', one of its three initial 'assistant general sectries' was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The other was created in NWFP West Pakistan by 'Peer Manki Shareef'. In February 1950, both were merged to make 'All Pakistan Awami Muslim League' with Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy as its Leader. In 1954 along with its allies 'Awami League' won 1954 elections, in the result Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy became the fifth prime minister of Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became a cabinet minister. On 26 July 1957 'Maulana Abdul Hameed Khan' who created the first segment of 'All Pakistan Awami Muslim League' created a new party with name 'National Awami Party'. In elections of 1970 'Awami League' won 160 of 162 East Pakistan seats in the National Assembly but None in West Pakistan . Total Seats in Pakistan were 300 (162+138). So 'Awami League' was in position to make government without any coalition partner.
The party is headed by Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Awami League had been in government in two terms for only eight years and a half in 33 years of Bangladesh. It came to power after the independence and formed government in 1972 under Mujib. However Mujib was unable to control widespread corruption of his associates and officials and failed to restore order in the society. As a result the famine of 1974 was inevitable. Half a million souls were departed. Support for Mujib declined dramatically.
To worsen the situation Mujib in January 1975 introduces BAKSAL, a Mujib loyalist paramilitary, in order to reinforce his dictatorship. BAKSAL replaced the multi-party parliamentary democracy, banned independent newspapers, and demolished civil rights. Thousands of opposition political leaders were killed and abducted by the BAKSAL and most of them abductees never returned.
These negative developments led to a widespread dissatisfaction among the people and even inside the Army. In 15 August 1975 members of the armed forces along with the CIA operatives in Dhaka killed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman including all his family members who lived with him. Within two months time four of its top leaders, Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, captain M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman were killed inside the Dhaka Central Jail on November 3 1975.