BNP hell-bent on not joining parliament

Special Correspondent

15 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

The BNP-dominated Jatiya Okiya Front appears to be hell-bent on not joining the 11th parliament as the lawmakers-elect of the alliance are yet to take oath.

The maiden session of the parliament begins on January 30, but the Oikya Front MPs-elect may boycott the session despite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s call for the alliance to join it.

Eight lawmakers-elect of Oikya Front refrain from taking oath, bringing allegations of vote rigging and irregularities in the December 30 national polls.

The prime minister on Saturday called on the Oikya Front lawmakers-elect to join the upcoming session of the new parliament for the sake of democracy.

“BNP should join parliament for the sake of country’s democracy,” she said.

BNP chief Khaleda Zia on Sunday urged MPs-elect of her party not to join parliament, saying the role of opposition can be played from outside the House.

“A party can work for the people remaining outside parliament. Those, who work for the people outside House, are the opposition,” she said while appearing before the court in Niko graft case.

Khaleda Zia, a former prime minister, has been suffering jail term for corruption and her son party’s vice-chairman Tarique Rahman is a fugitive convict.

Political analysts say major parties boycotted the parliament sessions while they were in opposition.

The parties while in office urge the opposition to attend the proceedings of parliament sessions, but while in the opposition they skip sessions, they say.

After the country’s stepping into democratic practice in 1991, then opposition Awami League skipped sessions of parliament. BNP did the same during the tenure of Awami League.

On the other hand, Jatiya Party, which appeared as the main opposition after January 5, 2014 polls set an example by joining all the parliament sessions.

Former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University Prof AAMS Arefin Siddiquue told the daily sun that it is the duty of the lawmakers to go to parliament after the polls.

“Skipping sessions of parliament means showing no respect to the voters,” he added. 

Asked about the Oikya Front’s decision not to take oath, Prof Siddiquue said “It’s an anti-people decision as people have made them their representatives through votes.”

Terming the December 30 national election a farcical one, Jatiya Oikya Front has been asking the government to sit for further talks to hold fresh polls.

Amid their demand, Awami League president Sheikh Hasina planned to exchange post-poll pleasantries with the parties which sat for the pre-election talks.

 “Some 75 parties attended the pre-election dialogue. The poll is now over. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will invite leaders of the political parties, who took part in the pre-poll talks, at Ganabhaban,” Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader told reporters on Sunday.

Awami League formed government after winning landslide victory in the December 30 national election.