JS goes into session amid confusion over BNP’s joining

Special Correspondent

24 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

The second session of the 11th parliament begins today amid a state of confusion over oath-taking by BNP lawmakers-elect.

Law stipulates that if any lawmaker-elect refrains from taking oath within 90 days after the beginning of the first session or refrains from informing the Speaker, his/her membership will be cancelled.

As per the provision, the BNP lawmakers-elect must take oath by April 30 to retain their membership.

The six BNP lawmakers-elect are Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir from Bogra-6 constituency, Mosharraf Hossain from Bogra-4 constituency, Aminul Islam from Chapanawabganj-2 constituency, Haurn-Ur Rashid

from Chapanawabganj-3 constituency, Zahidur Rahman from Thakurgaon-3 constituency and Abdus Satter from Brahmanbaria-2 constituency.

The journey of the current parliament began on January 30 through the December 30 general elections, participated by all registered political parties.

The Awami League returned to power for the third consecutive term, securing 257 seats while its ally Jatiya Party got 22 seats and BNP-dominated Jatiya Oikya Front (JOF) got only eight seats.

The rest of the seats are shared by tiny political parties and three independent candidates.

The BNP, which boycotted the January 5, 2014 polls, joined the 11th parliamentary elections without its convicted chief Khaleda Zia for the first time since her stepping into the politics in early 1980s.

She remains out of the poll race for serving 17-year jail term in two separate corruption cases.

Bringing allegation of vote rigging and other irregularities, the JOF lawmakers-elect earlier decided not to take oath.

With the span of time, two Gono Forum lawmakers took oath, leaving the BNP lawmakers-elect in dismay.

Gono Forum presidium member Mokabbir Khan took oath on April 2 while Sultan Monsur took oath on March 7 defying the stance of the party.

The BNP lawmakers-elect also created pressure on the high command for joining parliament due to expectation of the people of their respective constituencies.

Briefing reporters on Monday, Harun-Ur Rashid, elected from Chapainawbganj-3 constituency, said his people want him to take oath.

“Local people want to see me in parliament and play role for the development of the constituency,” he said.

Five lawmakers, except Mirza Fakhrul, held a meeting at a city hotel on April 15 and reached a decision to join parliament.

Amid the pressure of its elected lawmakers, the BNP standing committee on Monday at a meeting decided not to join parliament.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina already urged the BNP lawmakers-elect to take oath and speak in the House for the sake of democracy.

“The number of opposition lawmakers is very poor in the 11th parliament. But, we will not consider the opposition by numbers only. The justified proposal of the opposition lawmakers will be taken into consideration,” she said recently.

Ignoring the prime minister’s call, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia recently asked her party men not to take oath as the role of the opposition may be played from outside the House.

Khaleda Zia has been serving a 17-year jail in two separate corruption charges since February 8 in 2018.

“The opposition may be outside of parliament. Those, who work for the interest of people outside parliament, are the opposition,” she said while appearing before the court to face Niko corruption charge.

Despite the opposite stances of the two political camps, senior leaders of the two parties tried to make a deal.

Now the BNP chief has been undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in the capital.

Sources said if the government releases Khaleda Zia from jail on bail, the BNP lawmakers-elect may join parliament.

Under the circumstances, parliament goes into its 2nd session at 5:00pm today. 

Before the beginning of the session, the Business Advisory Committee headed by Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury will sit in a meeting to fix the duration and proceedings of the second session.

The first session of the 11th parliament was prorogued on March 11 after 26 sittings.