Vol. 5 Num 598 Thu. February 02, 2006  
Front Page

JP's short JS boycott drama ends by BNP intervention

Five lawmakers of the Jatiya Party (JP), including Rawshan Ershad, joined the House yesterday upon the government intervention, ignoring a JP Parliamentary Party (JPPP) decision taken a few minutes back to boycott Sangsad for two consecutive workdays.

The ten other lawmakers who refused to join the House blasted JPPP chief Rawshan and the four MPs on their return to the office during Magrib prayers break of the sitting.

Having heated words exchanged for over an hour, the JPPP then formally cancelled its decision to boycott the House in protest against a 'discriminatory attitude' of the deputy speaker in running the House and 'discriminatory' allocation of development funds.

Led by Rawshan Ershad, the JP lawmakers later sat with the prime minister's Political Secretary Harris Chowdhury in the parliament building where he assured them of resolving the crisis in their next meeting at the Prime Minister's Office Sunday.

However, the rebel JP lawmakers came down hard on their colleagues during the JPPP meeting over the shortest boycott drama.

"You can not join the House without cancelling the parliamentary party's decision," a meeting source said, quoting a furious Tajul Islam Chowdhury, a presidium member and whip of the JP. "I am not speaking against you. I am just speaking about the party's decision."

Lawmaker Noor Mohammad Mandal, meanwhile, asked, "Why do we take decision if we can not follow it?"

"The party can not be run in this manner. I don't care anybody, I will resign from the party, if necessary," he said, practically shouting.

However, Rawshan told The Daily Star that she had joined the House on the government's assurance of a meeting to address their issues of boycott.

"The political secretary to the prime minister assured us of a discussion. So, we joined the House," said Rawshan in her defence. The four lawmakers who joined the House along with Rawshan also criticised the other MPs for not joining parliament.

The JP drama started as soon as it decided to boycott parliament at a meeting chaired by Rawshan.

"We also decided to sit Sunday again to finalise the next course of action," Tajul told The Daily Star.

But a lawmaker soon broke the news to Harris Chowdhury over phone, sources said. Harris Chowdhury and a whip, Rezaul Bari Deena, then rushed to the JPPP office and talked the five lawmakers into joining the House.

"Please, join the House before the prime minister's question hour is over," the political secretary was quoted as saying by a JP lawmaker.

Rawshan Ershad and four lawmakers -- Hafizuddin Ahmed, Mahsiur Rahman Ranga, Golam Habib Dulal and Marina Rahman -- joined the House just before the prime minister ended her hour.

"The parliamentary party took the decision on paper that we will not join the House today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday)," Tajul said. "The deputy speaker on Tuesday did not allow us to raise any question. Even he told us that we are free to walk out of the House," he said.