Wednesday, June 19, 2019

11th parliament begins with assurances of equal opportunities

  • Parliament Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-01-31 00:04:26 BdST


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised cooperation amid calls to allow the opposition to speak in an effort to make the parliament livelier.

The parliament, formed through the 11th national election, formally started its journey on Wednesday. The ruling party has an absolute majority in the parliament against a small opposition party.

Even though Jatiya Party sat in the opposition bench in the 10th parliament which the BNP boycotted, it did not play the role of a genuine opposition party since it also joined the government, the then leader of the opposition Raushon Ershad had admitted.

The Jatiya Party, which has won 22 seats, is again in the opposition, but is no longer a part of the government.

After eight BNP and Jatiya Oikya Front leaders decided not to take oath, the ruling Awami League, which won 258 seats alone, has pushed its allies into the opposition bench.  

At the beginning of the session on Wednesday, speaker and deputy speaker were elected in accordance with the rules. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Fazle Rabbi Miah have been re-elected to these posts, respectively.

In the absence of the Leader of the Official Opposition HM Ershad, Jatiya Party Co-Chairman GM Quader said, "The number of government members in the parliament is more than 250. We have fewer members compared to that. But we believe that this disadvantage will never become an obstacle to making the parliament lively.”

Quader, the deputy leader of the official opposition, hoped for neutral behaviour from the re-elected Shirin Sharmin.

"If the parliament is going to be animated and turned into the centre of everything, then we have to be allowed to speak and be given enough time. If we can highlight our words, the parliament will be lively. The masses will also gain an interest in the parliament," said Quader.

Awami League allies Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Haq Inu also hoped that there would be scope for constructive criticism of the government. They had been in Hasina’s previous cabinet but are going to play a different role in parliament this time.

Hasina said, “I can assure you that those in our opposition parties will be able to criticise (government) properly. We will not create any obstacles to this. We did not bar it in the past and will not do so in the future.”   

She urged the speaker and the deputy speaker to ensure that everyone gets equal opportunities in parliament.

“It is my duty as the leader of the House to ensure rights of all members of parliament and you, as the speaker, must ensure that all the members get equal opportunities. I will provide you will all sorts of help to be able to do this,” she said.

She thanked the people for voting the Awami League to victory.

The prime minister emphasised stable democracy for continuance of development, pledging to work to free Bangladesh from poverty and hunger as dreamt by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

She asked the MPs to always keep in mind the interests of the people who voted the legislators to parliament.

“We were able to gain the people’s confidence because parliament was conducted in a fine atmosphere. As we have been elected again, we will surely take Bangladesh forward by fulfilling the people’s expectations. This is our target,” she added.