Bangladesh’s opposition lawmakers may resign from parliament

Saturday, November 20, 2010

DHAKA - The lawmakers of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) may resign en masse from parliament to force mid-term polls, media reports said Saturday.

Leader of the opposition and former prime minister Khaleda Zia has vowed to resume agitation against the government of her arch rival Sheikh Hasina. She said the government has failed to deliver to the people and was continuing in power “with the help of foreign powers”.

Analysts say if the Zia-led BNP gets its lawmakers to resign, its ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), is bound to follow suit. The party is already building up for confrontation with the government, they said.

Top Jamaat leaders are currently in jail on charges of “war crimes”, for targeting unarmed civilians during the 1971 liberation movement.

The New Age newspaper quoting party sources said that the BNP lawmakers could resign before they lose the membership of parliament because of their absence from parliament for 90 days. Zia and her allies have been boycotting parliament.

A hardcore group within the BNP, led by senior lawmaker Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury and close to the Jamaat, is pressuring the leadership for hard options, the Daily Star said.

The government is already being criticised for its ‘crude’ handling of eviction of Zia from her government-owned house.

The ruling Awami League circles say Zia and her lawyers are bent on drawing political mileage by playing on emotions of the people on this issue.

“I am homeless,” Zia told the media four days after she was evicted from her house. She had urged people during Eid celebrations to pray for her.

The ruling party say Zia’s lawyers deliberately did not prefer an appeal for stay of the execution of the High Court order to vacate the house after expiry of the deadline Nov 12.

Zia’s top legal advisor and former law minister Moudud Ahmed said the eviction issue would be “sorted out on Rajpath” (on the streets).

Zia and her supporters have already taken to the streets on a number of issues, including Hasina’s signing of five agreements with India in January.

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