Dhaka – The Jatiyo Party headed by former military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad has decided to play its part as an opposition in parliament despite the party participated December 30 national election as a coalition partner of the Awami League-led ruling coalition of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The party secured the second position in terms of seats it bagged outshining the Bangladesh Nationalist Party of jailed former prime minister Khaleda Zia. The Jatiyo Party secured 20 seats while the BNP took only five seats against the Awami League’s overwhelming majority of 259 seats.
The party chairman, Hussain Muhammad Ershad, also a former president, in a press statement on Friday said that his party would sit in the opposition bench. Ershad was a special envoy to Prime Minister Hasina during the 2014-2018 tenure while his party leaders were inducted in the cabinet as well. His wife Raushan Ershad was the leader of the opposition.
Soon after the swearing-in on Thursday, the Jatiyo Party lawmakers at a meeting, in which Ershad remained absent, in principal decided that its leaders would be in the new cabinet. The party wanted to join the government and remain in opposition at the same time. But the chairman, who is well known to change his colour very frequently, came up with a different version a day after.
Party Co-Chairman Ghulam Muhammad Quader said on Saturday that his party would emerge as strong opposition in the parliament. He vowed to raise voice to ensure interest of the people.
“Instead of resorting to the acts of violence, we want to emerge as strong opposition in parliament,” Quader said.
Quader was made the deputy leader of the opposition in the House while his brother Ershad was announced as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
Quader at a news conference in Dhaka said the Party took the decision to act as an opposition party considering the smooth functioning of parliament.
He ensured that no Jatiyo Party lawmakers be inducted in the new cabinet.
Ershad, who was ill for the last couple of days and could not take oath as lawmaker, will take oath immediately after talking to the Speaker of the House, said Quader.