Sunday, October 20, 2019

Ershad will seek deputy prime minister status for opposition leader in parliament

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-01-06 20:23:04 BdST


Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad has said he will propose that the leader of the opposition in parliament gets the status of deputy prime minister.

Speaking to reporters after taking oath as an MP of the 11th parliament on Sunday, he said he would ask Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury to pass a law also to give opposition chief whip the status of state minister.

Ershad had earlier said he would be the leader of the opposition in parliament as the chief of the Jatiya Party which will ‘solely’ be the main opposition in parliament without being part of the government.

“We will try to make parliament lively as an effective opposition,” he said on Sunday.

Last Thursday, the 21 other Jatiya Party MPs took oath. Ershad was absent because of illness.

Ershad's brother and Co-Chairman GM Quader had said the party would join parliament as the main opposition in ‘greater national interest’.

Ershad had initially received nomination as Jatiya Party candidate for three seats in Dhaka, Rangpur and Satkhira.

He flew to Singapore for medical treatment during the campaign and announced he would contest for the seat in his Rangpur stronghold only on return four days before the polls. He later won the election from the constituency.

The Jatiya Party contested in the 2008 election under the Awami League-led alliance, but became the main opposition in parliament after much drama during the last general election boycotted by the BNP and its allies in 2014.

The BNP and its partners joined the election this time, but managed only a few seats that are far less than those won by the Jatiya Party and are not enough to become the main opposition.

The Awami League has always been effusive in its praise for the Jatiya Party’s “constructive criticism” in parliament in the past five years.

But the Jatiya Party was widely criticised for its failure to hold the government to account. Transparency International, Bangladesh in a report said the Jatiya Party played “ineffective dual role” by letting its leaders become ministers while at the same time it was the opposition.

The BNP even termed the Jatiya Party “domesticated” opposition in parliament.