Ministers criticised over poor record
A number of ruling Awami League (AL) lawmakers yesterday expressed dissatisfaction at the performance of some ministers and observed it may not be possible to fulfil people's expectation with them at the helm of ministries.
At a meeting of AL Parliamentary Party (ALPP) held with Prime Minister and ALPP leader Sheikh Hasina in the chair, they also strongly denounced some minister and state ministers' “attitude” towards MPs, the lawmakers told The Daily Star.
The lawmakers sought the premier's intervention to bring a change in the ministers' behaviour with party MPs and activists.
Over a dozen AL MPs spoke at the meeting at Gonobhaban, official residence of the premier, and half of them expressed displeasure at the “poor” performance of some ministers and state ministers.
Later, in a separate meeting at the same venue, some leaders of AL-led grand alliance components censured AL for undermining them and for the party's “go-alone” policy.
They warned that if this continues the alliance will face “serious disaster” in the next general elections, said meeting sources.
In response, Sheikh Hasina, also chief of AL-led grand alliance, requested them not to do or say anything that may harm the alliance and benefit the opposition.
Since the beginning of the journey of AL-led government on January 6, 2009, the party lawmakers for the first time at ALPP meeting spoke against ministers and state ministers over poor performance.
Sheikh Hasina had left most of her senior party colleagues out of the cabinet and had some surprise picks to run several important ministries.
"The council of ministers and many of its members cannot deliver on the grand alliance's electoral pledges. They cannot fulfil the expectations of the people who voted for the grand alliance," a ruling AL lawmaker told the meeting.
“We now feel that it would be better if we be their [ministers and state ministers'] personal assistants or secretaries rather than MPs,” said a lawmaker.
Another lawmaker complained to the prime minister that some ministers and state ministers cannot keep up with her due to their sluggish performance.
They also demanded that the government revive the Warrant of Precedence, 1972 which honoured MPs by giving their status above civil and military bureaucrats.
They also demanded increase of allocations for local development and inclusion of at least 10 educational institutions in their constituencies under monthly payment order (MPO) in the current fiscal year.
Citing the unexpected results in the municipality elections, a number of AL MPs observed that the party-backed candidates did not perform well due to lack coordination within the party. They stressed the need for strengthening the grassroots.
Sheikh Hasina, however, did not say anything in response to the lawmakers' allegations.
In her opening speech at the meeting, Hasina urged the lawmakers to increase their involvement in local development and attend parliament.
She expressed discontent at the quorum crisis in the parliament. “All the 179 fresh MPs in the grand alliance must join parliament regularly if they want to contest in the next parliamentary elections under AL banner,” said a meeting source quoting the premier as saying.
Hasina, also the leader of the House, told her party deputies that the parliament may pass the constitution amendment bill in this session.
The premier described her government's various development activities and said the lawmakers should oversee the development activities in their respective areas.
She urged MPs to highlight the development activities by participating in the ongoing discussion on thanks-giving motion on the president's address.
The premier said, if necessary, she would request the Speaker to allocate more time for the discussion.
She also criticised Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia for terming the incumbent government “illegal”. “If the present government is illegal, her being the opposition leader is also illegal. But she did not resign, rather has been enjoying all the financial benefits for the post,” Hasina said.
She requested Khaleda Zia not to be disrespectful towards people's verdict by calling the present government and the last election illegal.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, State Minister for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud, and AL lawmakers Atiur Rahman Atik, Monowar Hossain Chowdhury, Kamal Ahmed Majumder, Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, Sirajul Akbar, Matiur Rahman, Majaharul Haque Pradhan spoke at the ALPP meeting, among others.
MEET WITH COMPONENTS
After the ALPP conference, another meeting of lawmakers of AL and its grand alliance components Jatiya Party (JP), Workers Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) was held with Hasina in the chair.
In the meeting JP chief HM Ershad expressed frustration over poor evaluation of his party leaders.
JP lawmakers TIM Fazle Rabbi Chowdhury and Mojibar Rahman said they had never felt such humiliation in their long political careers, said sources present at the meeting.
JSD lawmaker Mayeen Uddin Khan Badal said the consequence will be very critical, if the grand alliance fails to meet people's expectations.
In response, the premier said her government had tough time in the last two years. She assured the grand alliance leaders of working together in the coming days.
Beginning around noon, the two meetings went on for over four hours.