Jatiya Sangsad Chief Whip ASM Feroz has asked for money instead of crests from those who want to bring him gifts.
It was on Friday at a reception in Bauphal of Patuakhali on his becoming chief whip. He was elected uncontested from the area in the 10th parliamentary polls.
"I will be in my political office from 9:00am to 3:00pm tomorrow [yesterday]. No crest if anyone wants to give me a gift. I want cash. Cash is what I want," announced Feroz through a loudspeaker.
He used the word "cash" thrice in this brief and sudden announcement he made at one stage of the programme, arranged by the local Awami League and its associate bodies.
"Don't you understand? A lot of money is required for contesting an election," Feroz said. "So, felicitate me with cash. It would be very useful for me. What is the use of these [crests]?" he added.
But still, people came with crests and bouquets to his political office in Bauphal during his stay. Nobody reportedly gave him cash.
Contacted, the chief whip said, "I actually sought the cash for my party, not for myself."
"In the programme, there were hundreds of people who had brought bouquets and crests for me. But I had no time to receive all of these. That is why I urged them to give me money instead of crests. I did this to discourage them from giving me crests," he told The Daily Star over the phone last night.
Feroz also claimed his remark was "a joke, nothing serious".
"Do you think I am such a foolish politician that I will seek money in public?" he said. "You, the journalists, should cooperate with good politicians like me. You should show mercy to me. Otherwise, politics will fall into the wrong hands."
People, however, could not take it as a joke.
"Everybody has been shocked at his remarks," Ahmed Mia, convener of Bauphal Municipality Citizens' Committee, told The Daily Star last night.
To welcome Feroz, hundreds of arches were set up on about 15km road from Boga to Bauphal upazila town. This was his first visit to his constituency after being appointed the chief whip.
Local cable operators telecast the reception.