In a surprise move, BNP-lawmaker elect Zahidur Rahman took oath as MP yesterday against the party’s decision of not joining parliament.
He is the first among the six BNP-MPs elect to have taken oath. His decision came just four days before the expiry of the oath-taking deadline.
Party insiders say Zahid’s decision has put the BNP in an awkward position as it rejected the December 30 polls results alleging widespread irregularities.
The BNP standing committee may meet tomorrow to discuss its next course of action.
Some BNP leaders said Zahid’s move might encourage others to take oath as two more MPs-elect talked to Jatiya Sangsad officials yesterday about their oath.
All but Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of the party, have already showed interest in taking oath, said party sources.
The country’s constitution stipulates that an MP-elect must take oath within 90 days of the first sitting of a parliament. Accordingly, the last date for taking oath for the lawmakers-elect is April 29.
Talking to The Daily Star, Fakhrul said, “We have not changed our decision on joining parliament. We will hold a meeting soon to decide what action we would take as a leader has joined parliament defying the party’s decision.”
Around noon yesterday, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury administered the swearing-in of Zahid at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Talking to journalists after the oath ceremony, the BNP lawmaker from Thakurgaon-3 said he took oath voluntarily knowing that he might be expelled from the party.
“People elected me as their representative in parliament. They expect me to take oath and take the responsibility of my constituency and the country.”
He said he would stay beside BNP even if it expelled him.
Defending his decision to join parliament, Zahid said he has worked for the party at the field level for 30 years. “This was the fourth time I contested a national election. My constituency [Thakurgaon-3] had been never won by the BNP before the last election since the country’s independence.”
He said he would speak in parliament demanding release of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. “She is an elderly woman of 73. I will press for her release for the sake of democracy.”
‘ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE’
Within an hour after the oath ceremony, BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said Zahid has become a “public enemy” by taking oath violating the party’s decision.
“Those who take oath going against the party’s decision and keeping its chairperson in jail have no capability to stay with the nationalist force. They are enemies of the people,” he said at a human chain programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
The BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront won eight seats in the December 30 national election. Of them, six were won by the BNP and two by the Gonoforum.
Both the Gonoforum leaders -- Sultan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed and Mokabbir Khan -- have already taken oath as lawmaker and joined parliament.
The Jatiya Oikyafront decided not to join the 11th parliament alleging widespread irregularities in the Jatiya Sangsad polls.