12:00 AM, January 27, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 27, 2013

Sangsad goes into session today

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Staff Correspondent

The New Year session of the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) begins today with main opposition BNP continuing to boycott the House since March 2012.
President Zillur Rahman is scheduled to address the opening sitting of the year outlining successes of the Awami League-led government. The cabinet has approved the speech.
This will be the persident's last address to the ninth parliament, which will not hold any session from October 26, the last three months of its tenure, as per the constitution. A fresh election to constitute the 10th parliament is supposed to be held by that time.
The opposition MPs, belonging to BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Jatiya Party, were not present in the House when President Zillur Rahman addressed parliament in the last three New Year sessions.
Despite attending the inaugural sitting of the ninth parliament, the opposition MPs had walked out during its first New Year session on January 25, 2009, before then president Iajuddin Ahmed addressed the House.
Records show the opposition deputies returned to the House during the New Year sessions in the last three years.
On January 7, when President Zillur Rahman convened the New Year session, BNP national standing committee member Moudud Ahmed had told The Daily Star that they were thinking of participating in parliament sessions. "We will soon sit to make a formal decision."
As of yesterday, the main opposition could not come up with any positive decision.
"Our stance remains unchanged, as we are yet to sit to discuss joining the New Year session," MK Anwar, a member of BNP national standing committee, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Seeking anonymity, another party lawmaker said they might join the JS any day.
The opposition MPs will need to join the New Year session at least for a day to save their memberships in parliament.
They last attended the House sitting on March 20, 2012 and went for another spell of boycott. Presently, they have been absent from the JS proceedings for the last 50 consecutive sittings.

If the New Year session holds 40 more sittings, which is possible if agreed by the treasury bench, the opposition MPs including their leader in the House Khaleda Zia will lose membership in parliament on the ground of being absent for 90 consecutive sittings.
Usually, the New Year session does not have more than 30 sitting on an average, an official in the parliament secretariat said.
Meanwhile, the Business Advisory Committee led by Speaker Abdul Hamid sits today around 2:30pm, an hour before the House goes into the session, to fix the duration of the session and allocate time for the thanksgiving motion on the president's address.

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