The Gonoforum yesterday expelled Sultan Mohammad Mansur from the party, hours after he took oath as a member of parliament, violating a party decision.
Mostafa Mohsin Montu, secretary general of the Gonoforum, a component of Jatiya Oikyafront, made the announcement at a press conference at its Arambagh central office in the capital.
He said Sultan became a party to “immoral and anti-people activities” and “worked against parliamentary norms”
By taking oath, Sultan committed “unethical and anti-people acts and worked against parliamentary norms”, he added.
A letter, signed by Montu, has been sent to Sultan in this regard.
Meanwhile, the lawmaker last evening joined the parliamentary sitting, with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair. He participated in a discussion on the historic March 7.
The Gonoforum letter said, “Your primary membership at the Gonoforum has been cancelled and you have been expelled from the party because of your activities against the party's policy, ideals and people's interest.”
Sultan, who ran in the December 30 national election with the BNP's electoral symbol “sheaf of paddy”, was also relieved of the member post of Jatiya Oikyafront's steering committee.
“The people of the country are very much disappointed and outraged as you have taken oath, although the ruling party has not taken any initiative on some national crisis, including holding a fresh election immediately after scrapping of the December 30 farcical election,” the letter read.
Earlier in the day, Sultan took oath as a member of the 11th parliament.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury administered the oath at her Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban office at 11:00am.
Sultan told reporters that he took oath on the historic March 7 to play a positive role to ensure the welfare of the people of his constituency (Moulvibazar-2) who had elected him amid a very hostile environment on the polling day.
Sultan, a former Awami League organising secretary, also urged the seven other MPs-elect of the Oikyafront to take oath so that they could talk about people's problems and their rights in parliament.
He said he joined the Jatiya Sangsad as a representative of Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikyafront and its top leader was informed about his oath taking.
“I took the decision on my own as a representative of Jatiya Oikyafront. But I can say that the top leader of the Oikyafront had been informed about what I did.”
Mentioning that he was a follower of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Sultan said he had told his party and the Oikyafront after the national election that he would take oath. “And I've kept my word.”
Asked about his expulsion from the Gonoforum, he refused to make any comment.
On March 3, two Gonoforum lawmakers-elect sent separate letters to the Speaker, requesting her to arrange their oath-taking ceremony on March 7.
However, the party's other MP-elect Mokabbir Khan (Sylhet-2) didn't take oath yesterday for “unavoidable reasons”.
The BNP, Gonoforum, Nagorik Oikya, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rob) and Krishok Sramik Janata League had joined the December 30 election under the banner of Jatiya Oikyafront.
The BNP had bagged six seats while Gonoforum won two in the election.
Bringing allegations of widespread irregularities and vote rigging, the alliance rejected the polls results and decided not to join parliament.
Speaking at a press conference in the city yesterday, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi described Sultan's oath-taking as violation of the Oikyafront's decision and an act of “fraudulence in politics”.
'MEMBERSHIP WON'T BE CANCELLED'
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam yesterday said Sultan's parliamentary membership would not be cancelled as he neither resigned from the Gonoforum nor voted against it in the House.
As per article 70 of the constitution, membership of a lawmaker would be vacated if he resigned from his party or voted in the House against it, he told The Daily Star.
Article 70 says, “A person elected as a member of parliament at an election at which he was nominated as a candidate by a political party shall vacate his seat if he (a) resigns from that party; or (b) votes in parliament against that party; but shall not thereby be disqualified for subsequent election as a member of parliament.”
The attorney general also said as there was no Gonoforum lawmaker in the House except for Sultan, no one from the party could cancel his membership.