Quitting JS won’t help BNP much
The BNP at its Dhaka rally yesterday announced all its seven MPs will resign from parliament.
The announcement was apparently designed to pile pressure on the government to realise the party's demand for holding the next national polls under a non-partisan caretaker government.
Although there has been talk that its MPs might resign from parliament in a bid to up the tempo of the ongoing anti-government movement, the party took this decision at a time when the 11th parliament still has a year of its tenure left.
Speaking to The Daily Star, political analysts and parliament experts said the BNP, instead of the government, will be the loser in this situation as, with only seven MPs, the party will not be able to make any considerable impact on the government or parliament with this decision.
At yesterday's rally in the city's Golapbagh field, the BNP said its MPs have resigned as per the party's standing committee decision.
Rumeen Farhana, BNP reserved seat MP and the party's international affairs secretary, announced the decision.
"All seven lawmakers have emailed their resignation letters to the Speaker of the House. As parliament is closed today [yesterday], we will physically submit our resignations tomorrow [today].
"We're not benefiting from being MPs. We joined parliament to see how much space we get. But it's all the same … So we have announced our resignations," she said.
"We wanted to raise our voice in parliament in support of the people. But we were barred from speaking time and again. There's no point in staying in this parliament," she added.
Apart from her, the other MPs are Md Zahidur Rahman of Thakurgaon-3; Md Mosharof Hosen of Bogura-4; Gulam Mohammad Siraj of Bogura-6; Md Aminul Islam of Chapainawabganj-2; Md Harunur Rashid of Chapainawabganj-3, and Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan of Brahmanbaria-2.
Gulam Mohammad Siraj was the first to announce his retirement at the rally.
Later, Zahidur Rahman, Mosharof Hosen and Aminul Islam followed suit amid thunderous cheers from the party activists.
The resignations of Harunur Rashid and Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan were also announced on stage.
Speaking to The Daily Star over the phone from Australia, Rashid said, "I have already signed my resignation letter as per the party's decision."
According to article 67 (2) of the constitution, a member of parliament may resign his seat by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker, and the seat shall become vacant when the writing is received by the Speaker or by the Deputy Speaker, if the office of the Speaker is vacant or the Speaker is for any reason unable to perform their functions.
On October 30, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP secretary general, had announced that the party lawmakers were ready to resign.
Meanwhile, the BNP at the rally urged Jatiya Party, the main opposition in parliament with 26 MPs, to resign and join the ranks of the people.
The BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront won eight seats in the 2018 national election.
Of them, six were won by the BNP and two by the Gonoforum. The BNP later got another MP in the reserved seats for women.
After much drama, the BNP MPs, except for Mirza Fakhrul, joined parliament. Gulam Mohammad Siraj won in the by-election in Fakhrul's seat (Bogura-6).
At that time, the BNP had said it will not join parliament since it wasn't formed through a proper election.
However, the party later thought it reasonable to continue the struggle in parliament and the streets simultaneously to demand the restoration of voting rights and democracy, and the release of its Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
WHAT EXPERTS SAY
Prof Nizam Ahmed, a parliamentary affairs expert and a former teacher of public administration in Chittagong University, said the BNP will be the loser here as the resignation of just seven MPs won't mean much pressure on the government or parliament.
"At least they had a formal platform from where they could speak on issues against the government. With the resignation, they will lose this platform as well."
He added that the BNP could not yet take its anti-government movement to a point where the resignations could mount pressure on the government.
He said the prime minister has already announced the next election will be held in January 2024, and the BNP can't seem to force the government to hold it earlier.
"In that case, why lose the opportunity to speak in the parliament?"
Nizam, however, said there might be some level of international pressure on the government due to the BNP's move.
Eminent political analyst Al Masud Hasanuzzaman, professor of government and politics at Jahangirnagar University, said that as part of its anti-government movement, the BNP decided to resign from parliament as this move will be publicised nationally and internationally.
"The party made this move to create pressure on the government to realise its demand. But the number of their MPs is so insignificant that their resignations will not have any direct impact on the parliament activities."
Badiul Alam Majumder, secretary of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), said time will say whether the BNP's decision was right or wrong.
JP SAYS NO TO BNP
Jatiya Party yesterday rejected the BNP's call to resign from the House.
"We don't have any relations with the BNP's call for us to resign from parliament," JP Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu told The Daily Star.
"The BNP has its own politics and strategy. Ours and theirs are not the same."
Meanwhile, Obaidul Quader, Awami League general secretary, at an AL rally in Savar, yesterday said the seven BNP lawmakers will regret announcing their resignations.
"There is no reason to think that the Jatiya Sangsad will be paralysed if the seven of you [BNP MPs] leave."