Monday, May 20, 2024

All 21 opposition demands rejected

Speaker says law, order situation could be addressed under existing law; other notices based on assumption
Staff Correspondent
Speaker of the Parliament Abdul Hamid yesterday turned down all 21 notices from BNP-led opposition lawmakers for holding discussions on various issues adjourning other scheduled businesses of the House.
The opposition lawmakers in their notices, submitted to the parliament secretariat, demanded discussions on ‘violation of the constitution by the immediate past caretaker government led by Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed’, law and order situation, post parliamentary election violence, price hike of essentials, fertilizer crisis, unusual voter turn out in the parliamentary election, etc.
In defence of his action, the speaker said the notices regarding the law and order situation could be addressed under existing laws while the subjects of some other notices were based on assumptions.
“So, the notices could not be accepted for discussion,” Hamid told the House while scrapping them, evoking haunting memories of the last parliament among observers.
Referring to the content of a notice regarding harassment of an upazila executive officer in his own constituency, Speaker Hamid said the perpetrator had been arrested.
“The matter is under investigation and the law will take its own course,” Hamid said.
BNP lawmakers MK Anwar, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, and Zafrul Islam Chowdhury among others submitted the notices.
Interestingly, the speaker came up with the same old arguments for scrapping the opposition’s notices that his predecessors in the last parliament had used for rejecting the notices of the erstwhile opposition lawmakers of Awami League.
The speaker did not accept any of the notices as the treasury bench did not agree to have discussions on the subjects.
According to the rules of procedure, the speaker chalked out the businesses of the House in consultation with Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina who is also the prime minister.
With the rejection of the opposition lawmakers’ notices, it is now almost certain that the inaugural session of the ninth parliament will not have any discussion on any important issue brought up by opposition lawmakers.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s sitting of the House experienced almost a dull day due to opposition lawmakers’ disinterest in only talking about problems of their constituencies during the question-answer session, while almost all treasury bench lawmakers demanded construction of roads and bridges in their constituencies, refraining from raising any question on any national issue.
LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam assured his ruling alliance colleagues of roads and bridges.
More interestingly, the House proceedings yesterday could not be resumed on schedule due to a quorum crisis, meaning not even 60 lawmakers were in the House on schedule, despite over 260 of them being of the treasury bench — again evoking the spectre of the last parliament’s experience.
The House finally resumed its business at least 15 minutes late at 4:45pm.
At the beginning of the sitting, only two cabinet ministers were seen in the front row of the treasury bench.
Neither the leader of the House nor the deputy leader was present at the beginning.
During the question-answer session, Speaker Abdul Hamid repeatedly asked the lawmakers to raise questions, instead of delivering statements. He also urged the lawmakers not to waste time with congratulatory speeches.
The prime minister entered the House after the maghrib prayer break, just to leave soon after.
Again around 9:10pm while the sitting was still on, the front row of the traditional treasury bench became empty, while the traditional opposition front row, which had recently been turned into a treasury bench too, was sporting only Rashed Khan Menon of the ruling alliance led by Awami League.
Menon was allocated the spot recently when the speaker reshuffled the seating arrangement in the House by pushing over some opposition lawmakers from the front row of the traditional opposition bench.
The session was adjourned around 9:20pm.


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