In a hardly ever seen instance, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday lauded opposition Jatiya Party in the House and said people now understand how a parliament should work.
"The people, the youths and future generation are now observing how democracy is being practised. The present opposition is making constructive criticism of the government, instead of opposing anything for the sake of opposing in parliament," she said.
Speaking on the discussion on the proposed budget, Hasina criticised the role of the BNP lawmakers of previous parliaments.
"The BNP lawmakers behaved indecently in the 1996 parliament and also the last parliament. They made vulgar speeches and threw files in the House. They also beat up a BTV camera person," Hasina added.
She appreciated Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad for her “pragmatic decision” to take part in the January 5 parliamentary election, which the BNP-led opposition alliance and some other parties boycotted.
Raushan led the Jatiya Party in the January 5 parliamentary polls even after party chief HM Ershad had announced that the party would not take part in the one-sided electoral race.
“You [opposition leader] took the right decision at the right time,” Hasina said.
Following negotiations with the ruling Awami League, as many as 18 of the 34 JP lawmakers had got walkovers in the elections.
The JP emerged as the main opposition party and Raushan was recognised as the leader of the opposition with the status of a minister.
The Jatiya Party, however, received flak for allowing some of its MPs to join the Sheikh Hasina-led cabinet. Jatiya Party is now in the government and the opposition in parliament.
Referring to the criticism of Raushan for her role as the opposition leader by some quarters, Hasina said the opposition leader has made some constructive criticism during her speech on budget.
Raushan had expressed Jatiya Party's support for the Sheikh Hasina-led government for the sake of democracy and development.
"Along with providing support for the government for the sake of democracy, the Jatiya Party, as the opposition in parliament, will highlight the mistakes of the government, if any, through constructive criticisms," Raushan added.
Raushan demanded that the government take stern actions against Hallmark-Sonali Bank loan and Destiny scams and those involved in the share market debacle to increase people's confidence in the financial institutions.
Requesting Hasina for promulgating a strict law to prevent food adulteration, she said the government has to take a strong stance in this regard to save the new generation.
“If you are the daughter of Bangabandhu then stop mixing poison in food items. Don't you have affection for the people of the country, won't you stop this poison? It's your responsibility,” she said.
The opposition leader said the allocations for agriculture, health, human resources and education in the proposed budget were inadequate.
During the marathon discussion on the budget, which began on June 9, JP MPs lauded the government's many activities and criticised some actions. They supported most of the budgetary proposals.
Hasina yesterday termed the budget time-befitting and pro-people. "The entire world is stunned to see how Bangladesh is moving ahead with its limited resources.”
Stressing the need for political stability to attain the desired development goals, she talked about her government's firm determination to implement the budget.
"Our government is capable of consolidating democracy," she added.
Pointing to those who criticise the government in TV talk shows at night, Hasina said, “I don't understand what pleasure they get out of making meaningless criticism against the government at the cost of their sleep.