The parliamentary party of the main opposition Jatiya Party has decided in principle that it will quit the government to turn the party into a “real opposition”, said JP insiders.
The decision came yesterday at a meeting of the JP parliamentary party where JP lawmakers observed that people don't consider the party a “real opposition” as it is in the government and the opposition.
The party, however, didn't decide on when it would quit the cabinet, said the sources.
When several JP lawmakers said the party should quit the cabinet, JP Chairman Hussein Muhammad Ershad and Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad agreed with them, according to party insiders present at the meeting at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
The insiders said the party wouldn't disclose anything until it finalises the matter.
Raushan raised the issue at the meeting, saying if the JP quits the government, it can play an effective role as opposition in the House. She said people don't consider the party a real opposition for its “dual role”, said the insiders.
Ershad backed his wife's idea, and said once his party's ministers quit the cabinet, he will step down as special envoy to the prime minister, they said.
The Daily Star contacted a couple of party lawmakers who confirmed the fact but didn't agree to go on record.
However, JP Secretary General Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu told this correspondent that there were no discussions on the issue at yesterday's meeting.
The JP has 40 lawmakers in the 10th parliament, and one minister and two state ministers in the cabinet. They are Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Moshiur Rahman Ranga and State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
At yesterday's meeting, Anisul and Ranga said the party shouldn't disclose the matter to the media before it is made final.
The two ministers said they will resign once the party decides on it. But if the matter is made public now, it will undermine their positions as ministers.
The party also decided that it would oppose the bills on the national broadcast policy and the constitutional amendment that would give back parliament the powers to impeach Supreme Court judges.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Opposition Chief Whip Tajul Islam Chowdhury said his party's lawmakers would protest the government's move on the two issues.
Meeting sources said the party decided to raise its voice in the House about important issues such as price hike of essentials and law and order.