Opposition Leader Raushan Ershad on Tuesday acknowledged that Jatiya Party has suffered a loss of credibility and respect due to their “dual role” in Parliament.
"I had requested the prime minister to withdraw our party members from the cabinet and allow us to play the role of the opposition. But it did not happen," said Raushan, joining the general discussion over thanksgiving motion on the president's speech in the House.
"Had you (PM) allowed it, Jatiya Party could have been saved and remained in a respectable position. Now we are not in a respectable position," she said, asking Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to consider the issue as one more year of the current parliament still remains.
Raushan said JaPa cannot credibly claim to be in the opposition while taking part in the cabinet.
“We will be either the opposition or be part of the government. Otherwise, take our 40 members of parliament into the government. There is no need for an opposition.”
She said the prime minister could have asked the Jatiya Party ministers to quit from the cabinet saying that there is no need for them to remain in post.
The senior co-chairperson of the Jatiya Party said she feels ashamed when she talks to journalists about the identity of her party.
“When we go anywhere, we can't talk to journalists. When I talk to journalists, I feel ashamed. Are we opposition or in the government? Which one are we?”
Pointing at the prime minister again, Raushan said: “If you give directives, who won't follow it? But you didn't do it.....Or else, take all of us (in the government) and make us ministers.”
At one stage, a Jatiya Party MP suggested she should avoid the issue. Raushan in reply said, “It's important. Why should I avoid it?”
She questioned the MP whether they can introduce themselves as the opposition when they go abroad. “You can't say so. I can't either.”
“This is why I don't give interviews to any media. I don't talk to journalists. When I do it they (journalist) first hurl such questions,” Raushan went on saying.
Turning to public sufferings due to traffic congestion, she said now people are very annoyed at traffic congestion as it has turned severe in cities, particularly Dhaka.
“People are fed-up with traffic congestion. What a miserable situation it is! The prime minister cannot realize how common people suffer from traffic jam,” she added.
The opposition leader also recycled her old suggestion that the prime minister roam the city's streets in the disguise of a commoner to realize how people suffer from the nagging traffic gridlock.
She also criticized the Dhaka city corporation authorities for not containing the mosquito nuisance in the capital.
Later, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina participated in the general discussion over the thanksgiving motion.
In reply to Raushan's remarks, the Prime Minister said the opposition Jatiya Party led by Raushan Ershad is playing a constructive and critical role.
Sheikh Hasina also thanked the opposition for playing a constructive role in the Parliament saying that when BNP was in Parliament, they used all kinds of indecent words in the House.
The prime minister noted that the Jatiya Party MPs move various amendment proposals when a bill is placed in the House.
“An example has been set up over how the democratic practices can be fair in this parliament. This is why we cordially thank the opposition,” Hasina said.
Following the marathon discussion over the thanksgiving motion on the president's speech, the Jatiya Sangsad unanimously adopted the motion.
President Abdul Hamid on January 7 last delivered the speech in the first session of the New Year in the House in line with the Constitutional provision. Subsequently, Chief Whip ASM Feroz moved a thanksgiving motion on the President speech.