Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury on Tuesday declared the Bogra-6 constituency vacant as opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir did not take his oath or sought time before the constitutional deadline expired.
“The seat of Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has been decalred vacant as he has failed to take the oath (as a lawmaker) within 90 days,” she told the House in presence of five other new BNP MPs who took oath over the past couple of days.As per law, if any lawmaker-elect, refrains from taking oath within 90 days after the beginning of the first session or refrained from informing the Speaker, the membership is cancelled.
Citing constitutional requirement and Rules of Procedures, the Speaker said under the Rule 178 (3) of the Rules of Procedures, there is a provision to inform the House if anybody fails to take the oath within the stipulated time. Article 67 (1) says that the Speaker may, may extend the time “for a good cause.”
“Under the circumstances, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, elected from Bogra-6 constituency, failed to take his oath. The House has been informed about the matter. Now the Election Commission will take its next course of action,” she said.
The Rule 178 (3) mentions that if a member resigns his seat, or is absent, without leave of the House, for ninety consecutive sitting days of the Parliament, or fails to make and subscribe his oath of office within the time mentioned in clause (1)(a) of Article 67 of the Constitution, or otherwise ceases to be a member, the Speaker shall bring the fact to the notice of the House, if it is in session; Provided that when the Parliament is not in session, the Speaker shall inform the House immediately after the House reassembles that a member has resigned or ceased to be a member, as the case may be, during the inter-session period.
The five BNP MPs are Mosharraf Hossain from Bogra-4 constituency, Aminul Islam from Chapanawabganj-2 constituency, Haurn-Ur Rashid from Chapanawabganj-3 constituency, Abdus Satter from Brahmanbaria-2 constituency and Zahidur Rahman Thakurgaon-3
Confusion reigned in political circles over what had really happened within the BNP. Did all the five defy party orders or they acted on party lines. The first BNP man to take oath was thrown out the party, while the other four claimed it was asper decision of the party’s London-based acting chief Tarique Rahman.
On Monday, it was reported that Alamgir has sent a letter to the Speaker seeking the time as the deadline of taking the oath ended.
But on Tuesday, Fukhrul refuted the reports saying the meia reports were “totally false.” The Speaker also said that she did not receive any letter.
Out of six lawmakers-elect, four took the oath on the last day while Fukhrul stayed away. The other lawmaker took the oath on April 25.
Fukhrul explained his party’s position on why the other five BNP men took oath as lawmakers, saying “All, except me, have taken the oath. It is a decision of our party. Nothing happens without the decision of the party. It is a part of our policy.”
Asked about the letter, the Speaker also refrained from making the issue clear.
“It is not that the letter must come to me. There is no problem if the letter had reached the Parliament Secretariat within the stipulated time,” she said. When her attention was drawn to Fukhrul’s denial, Shirin then the letter did not reach.
The journey of the current parliament began on January 30 after the the December 30 general elections, participated by all registered political parties.
Bringing allegations of vote rigging and irregularities in the December 30 parliamentary elections, BNP-dominated Jatiya Oikya Front decided not to take oath.
The Front secured only eight seats in the elections. Out of the eight seats, two Gono Forum lawmakers —-Sultan Mohammad Mansur with sheaf of paddy, the electoral symbol of BNP, and Mokabbir Khan with rising sun, electoral symbol of Gono Forum, were elected.