The Awami League (AL) has welcomed BNP leader Zahidur Rahman Zahid's decision to join Parliament. Top ruling party leaders now hope that other BNP leaders, who were elected to the 11th parliament, will also defy the opposition party’s decision and take oath as MPs before the April 30 deadline.
Only six BNP leaders were elected in the December 30 election. If all of them take oath, it will make the present parliament more effective and functional than the previous one and the BNP"s allegation of a one-sided parliament would not work, the AL leaders said.
Speaking to The Independent, AL Acting General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said: “One of the elected BNP leaders took oath last Thursday. I hope that the others will take oath before the April 30 deadline, showing respect to the people"s verdict.”
“People vote us to serve them. If we don"t join Parliament as their representatives, how are we supposed to ensure that their demands being are met? So anyone elected by the people should join Parliament and talk about the rights of the people,” he added.
Hanif also said BNP leaders talked about democracy almost every day, but they were at the same time disrespecting the people"s verdict by deciding not to take oath. “This is very unfortunate. So, I urge the elected BNP leaders to join Parliament for the sake of democracy and the people,” he added.
AL joint general secretary Abdur Rahman said the elected BNP leaders should take oath before April 30 and join the Jatiya Sangsad to discharge their responsibilities.
Referring to Zahidur"s decision to join Parliament, the AL leader said: “It is a positive sign for parliamentary democracy. We want that all political parties should join Parliament and do constructive criticism of the government.”
“If the BNP"s elected leaders don"t join Parliament, they will be making a big mistake and people will not vote for them in future,” he added.
On Thursday, Zahidur, who was elected from the Thakurgaon-3 constituency in the last national election, took oath as MP against the party"s decision not to join parliament. Meanwhile, BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed yesterday said the current Parliament would not be valid even if more BNP lawmaker-elects took oath.
The BNP alleged that the government had put pressure on Zahidur to take oath as an MP. However, the ruling party denied the charge. With Zahidur taking oath, 295 MPs out of the 300 elected have been sworn in so far.