12:00 AM, January 30, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 30, 2013

President's Speech

Marathon talks on the cards

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Staff Correspondent

Amid absence of BNP-led opposition lawmakers, the Jatiya Sangsad opens a marathon discussion today on a thanksgiving motion on President Zillur Rahman's address to the House.
The president addressed parliament as it went into New Year session on Sunday, urging the main opposition BNP to return to the House shunning "the path of igniting fire, violence and anarchy".
The chief whip is scheduled to place the motion to thank the president for his address when the House resumes its sitting this afternoon after a two days recess, officials in the parliament secretariat said.
Like the previous four consecutive years, parliament will begin the discussion amid boycott by the opposition lawmakers belonging to BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Jatiya Party.
The opposition lawmakers were also not present when President Zillur Rahman addressed the Jatiya Sangsad in the last three New Year sessions.
The possibility of opposition MPs' return to the House during this session is also slim as the prevailing political situation has become complicated further, the opposition leaders said.
"We have yet to take any decision to return to the House," Moudud Ahmed, a member of the national standing committee of BNP, told The Daily Star over the phone yesterday.
If the opposition lawmakers do not join the House, Awami League-led ruling alliance MPs will have the opportunity to use all the 40 hours allocated time for discussion on the thanksgiving motion.
Participating in this year's discussion, the ruling alliance MPs may highlight the government's successes and blast the opposition.
Last year, the Business Advisory Committee had allocated 40 hours time for discussion on the thanks-giving motion. But parliament spent 50 hours and 26 minutes.
The BNP-led opposition MPs returned to the House on March 18 when the discussion on thanksgiving motion on the president's address was near its end.
The discussion was concluded on March 20. On the last day, Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia participating in the discussion spoke for two hours.
Since then, the opposition lawmakers have been boycotting the House.

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