The lawmakers-elect of BNP are keen to join Parliament and are creating pressure on the party central command to take a decision in their favour immediately.
“The decision about taking oath as lawmakers has not been taken yet. We haven’t got any positive instruction from the party in this regard. But individually we’re in favour of taking oath and joining Parliament,” Zahidur Rahman Zahid, the lawmaker-elect from Thakurgaon-3 told daily sun on Tuesday.Another lawmaker-elect of BNP told the daily sun wishing anonymity that five MPs-elect of his party except Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir held a meeting on Monday night and discussed oathtaking.
“We sat in a Gulshan restaurant after Magrib prayer and discussed the issue. In the meeting, we agreed that we would take oath and go to Parliament if BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is released on bail,” he said.
In the 11th parliamentary elections, BNP-dominated political coalition Jatiya Oikya Front won only eight seats -- six by the BNP and two by Gana Forum -- while the ruling Awami League-led grand alliance secured a landslide victory by winning 288 constituencies out of the total 300 seats.
The six BNP lawmakers-elect are party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir from Bogura-6, Mosharraf Hossain from Bogura-4, Aminul Islam from Chapainawabganj-2, Harun-or-Rashid from Chapainawabganj-3, Zahidur Rahman Zahid from Thakurgaon-3 and Ukil Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan from Brahmanbaria-2 constituencies.
Zahidur Rahman said: “If our leader (Khaleda Zia) is released from jail, we will take oath. Now we’re waiting for the government positive decision in this regard. If the government desires, our leader can get bail in cases filed against her.”
He said he is now under pressure of the people of his constituency to join Parliament.“People of my constituency are pressurising me. I’m elected by people’s vote and BNP won the constituency in the general election after a long time.”
Talking to the daily sun, Harun-or-Rashid said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also held an urgent meeting with the BNP lawmakers-elect at the party chairperson’s office in the capital on Monday night and discussed oathtaking.
“In the meeting, BNP top leader told us (the lawmakers-elect of BNP) not to take any decision individually about taking oath without the party decision. We also told him that we would not do anything outside the party decision,” he added.
Replying to a question, Harun-or-Rashid said they will not take oath without the party decision.
Another lawmaker-elect Aminul Islam echoed the same.
He said Fakhrul asked the lawmakers-elect not to take any isolated decision about taking oath as MP.
Admitting their meeting of the five lawmakers-elect at a restaurant, he said they discussed going to parliament.
“We took nomination to contest the election to be elected and to go to parliament. Of course, we are interested in taking oath as MP,” added Aminul Islam from Chapainawabganj-2.
Sources from lawmakers-elect of BNP said finally, if the party doesn’t reach any understanding with the Awami League about going to parliament, some lawmakers-elect may take oath going beyond the party decision and they are also ready to face any punishment from the party to this end.
BNP insiders said the party senior leaders are now very much active about the release of Khaleda Zia for her treatment either in home or abroad immediately, as according to them the health condition of BNP chief has deteriorated as she is suffering from various health complications for old age.
The party leaders are even interested in reaching agreement with the ruling Awami League to ensure her release either on parole or ensuring bail in cases filed against her, sources added.
Some BNP central leaders said the party’s senior leaders are talking with the Awami League leaders in private about Khaleda’s release from jail either on parole or on bail.
As per the ‘understanding’, Khaleda Zia, who has been staying in jail since February 8, 2018 after conviction in graft cases, might go to London in a flight any day before April 30, the last day for oath taking as MPs by six BNP leaders, who got elected in the December 30, 2018 general elections, they said.
“We heard that such negotiation is going on between the BNP and Awami League leaders in private. And the decision may come after finalizing it about our taking oath,” said an MP-elect of BNP.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a general meeting of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) pro-BNP faction at the national Press Club in the capital on Tuesday said: “I would like to clearly tell that our leader (Khaleda Zia) didn’t give any decision yet about seeking parole.”
Earlier on Monday, Mirza Fakhrul said: “Seeking parole is not the matter of our party. Our leader Khaleda Zia is sick. It is totally up to her and her family about the release on parole.”
Mirza Fakhrul along with Gayeshwar Chandra Roy and Nazrul Islam Khan met Khaleda Zia at the BSMMU on Sunday where she is undergoing treatment as a prisoner.
“During our meeting with Khaleda Zia, we discussed the issues relating to her treatment and legal sides of cases filed against her,” said Fakhrul.
Asked whether they have any discussion with their party chief about taking oath by their party’s six MPs-elect, he replied in the negative.