Vol. 5 Num 371 Mon. June 13, 2005  
Front Page

Bidisha plotted to overthrow coalition govt
Alliance MPs say during House debate

Parliament yesterday debated briefly, and heatedly, about Bidisha, the estranged wife of former military ruler HM Ershad, with ruling coalition deputies alleging that Bidisha had conspired to overthrow the government.

Opposition Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Janata League lawmaker Kader Siddiqui, who raised the issue on a point of order, contradicted his treasury bench colleagues and wondered why Bidisha was charged with theft, not sedition, if that was the case.

Siddiqui said the pace at which the case against Bidisha is moving has created confusion in the public mind and many are now raising questions about whether the government is pulling strings behind the scenes.

He pointed out that the law stipulates that a husband cannot file a theft case against his wife.

The opposition lawmaker noted that the police's mistreating Bidisha in custody would bring no good for the government as the past Awami League government had also badly treated Ulamas (pious people) and bore the brunt later.

His remarks prompted a number of back-benchers of the ruling BNP to raise hands for floor to discuss the matter despite a futile attempt by the front-line lawmakers to bury the issue. Ministers Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain and Moudud Ahmed urged the party deputies not to discuss the issue.

But, State Minister for Youth and Sports Fazlur Rahman, taking the floor, claimed Bidisha plotted to topple the BNP-Jammat-led coalition government. "She (Bidisha) gathered about Tk 150 crore to topple the government, which has been found in different foreign banks."

Another BNP lawmaker, Ebadur Rahman, differed with Siddiqui to say that Bidisha and Ulamas are not the same thing.

Jatiya Party lawmaker Moshiur Rahman Ranga said his party chairman did not charge Bidisha only with theft. "The case was filed also because Bidisha put the life of Ershad under threat," he said.

The House resumed after a two-day recess and the Speaker started the day's proceedings with discussions on the supplementary budget for the 2004-5 fiscal year.

But most lawmakers hardly dwelled on the budget and were more interested in making political statements, accusing main opposition Awami League of pursuing the politics of destruction. They said instead of joining parliament, it is plotting to topple the government through local and international conspiracies.

BNP lawmakers Kazi Rafiqul Islam and Dildar Hossain Selim spent 40 and 15 minutes on their speech, while Jamaat deputy Abdus Sattar Akand took 16 minutes.