12:01 AM, January 10, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:38 AM, March 08, 2015

No opposition!

No opposition!

MPs-elect from 6 other parties want to join AL-led cabinet; president invites Hasina to form govt
Shakhawat Liton and Partha Pratim Bhattacharjee

With the Awami League poised to form a new government on Sunday, all the six other political parties having representation in the 10th parliament also want to be in Sheikh Hasina's cabinet.
None of them is willing to sit on the opposition benches.
Senior leaders of the six parties -- Jatiya Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Workers Party, Tarikat Federation, Jatiya Party (Manju) and BNF -- yesterday spoke of joining the new cabinet.
Some of them expressed such desires immediately after being sworn in as MPs, and others while talking to The Daily Star.  
If all these six parties indeed join the cabinet, the new parliament will see a most brute treasury bench since the restoration of parliamentary democracy in 1991.    
President Abdul Hamid has already decided to appoint Hasina as prime minister, Cabinet Secretary M Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told The Daily Star last night.
Earlier in the day, a total of 284 MPs took the oath of office to form the 10th parliament, though the ninth parliament still exists.
In doing so, they ignored the constitutional provision that bars them from assuming office before the expiry of the current parliament, whose tenure ends on January 25, some legal experts said.  
But the government and some other legal experts dismiss such an interpretation.
Hours after taking their oaths, ruling party lawmakers at a meeting elected Hasina as the leader of the AL Parliamentary Party (ALPP).
The president has already invited Hasina to form the government and will administer the oath of office to the prime minister and other ministers and state ministers on Sunday afternoon.
The AL has won a three-fourths majority (230 seats so far) in the House.  
Hasina, also the incumbent PM, is likely to induct some senior leaders of the JP, JSD and Workers Party into her cabinet to make it a government of "national consensus", said sources in the AL.
Of the six other parties in the new parliament, the JP's position is most peculiar. Some of its leaders said they would play a double role.
"We will be the opposition party in parliament, but we will also join the cabinet. The new government will be formed on the basis of a national consensus," JP Presidium Member Kazi Firoz Rashid told reporters after taking the oath of office.
Party leader Mujibul Haque Chunnu, who was in Hasina's polls-time administration, echoed his view while talking to this newspaper.
The JP bagged 33 seats in the election.
Raushan Ershad, who was elected the leader of the JP Parliamentary Party, said her party would play its due role as the opposition.
On the JP's position in the new government, prime minister's ex-adviser HT Imam told BBC Bangla that the party must clarify what it wanted. "Whether the Jatiya Party would be in the opposition, it is a matter of discussion."
Meanwhile, Anwar Hossain Manju, the lone MP of his party, looks all set to be included in the cabinet, sources in the AL said.
But when asked, Manju said: "It depends on the prime minister whether she will induct me into her cabinet."
Abul Kalam Azad, the lone MP of Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF), said, "I wanted to become the opposition leader. But it is not possible, as my party has only one MP."
He said he was not interested in sitting on the opposition benches under the leadership of Rawshan Ershad.
He added some JP MPs would join the cabinet while some others would be in the opposition. "This is a peculiar situation…. If the prime minister asks me to join her cabinet, I will consider it."
JSD chief Hasanul Haque Inu spoke in favour of a national government: "If we want to overcome the present situation, parties that are not in the 14-party alliance should also be in the cabinet."
His party, an ally of the AL-led alliance, won five seats.
Nazibul Bashar Maizbhandari of Tarikat Federation won by using the AL's symbol, boat. "If the prime minister wants to form a government of national consensus, it is probable that I will be inducted into the cabinet."
Workers Party chief Rashed Khan Menon, also post and telecommunications minister, also wants to be in the government. His party has six seats.
Replying to a query about a parliament without an opposition, he said: "The opposition party didn't join parliament; didn't the House run?"
The party's politburo, the highest policymaking body, however, is divided. In a meeting on Wednesday, while most leaders spoke in favour of joining the cabinet, several others opposed it.
In December, two central leaders -- Mozammel Haque Tara and Ragib Ahsan Munna -- resigned from their posts in protest at the party's participation in the polls-time cabinet and also in the one-sided election.
In the same month, two politburo members -- Nurul Hasan and Ikbal Kabir Zahid -- filed objections to the party general secretary over the party's joining the polls race, sources said.
Meanwhile, the BNP, which boycotted the polls along with its 17 allies, yesterday said the Speaker had violated the constitution by administering oath to the newly elected MPs.
"If President Abdul Hamid invites the parliament leader to form the government, he, too, will violate the constitution," party acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam said in a statement.



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