'I have written to the speaker’s office for administering the oath on Mar 7'
After months of deliberations, the two MPs elected from Dr Kamal Hossain led Gono Forum, Sultan Md Mansur and Mokabbir Khan, on saturday said they will take oath of office on Mar 7.
“The people are my main priority. They are more important than the party. I have to uphold the peoples’ mandate. They have voted us in and we have to work in their favor,” said Sultan Md Mansur who was voted in from the Moulvibazar 2 seat under the “sheaf of paddy” symbol.
“I have written to the speaker’s office for administering the oath on Mar 7,” he also said to Bangla Tribune.
Mokabbir said that he too has written to the speaker’s office. “It now depends on when the speaker schedules it,” he said.
Mokkabbir won the Sylhet 2 seat with the Gono Forum’s “rising sun” symbol.
When asked if the party had approved their joining parliament, Mokkabbir said the party has always been positive about taking the oath of office.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury was yet to confirm receiving letters from the Gono Forum MPs-elect.
“I have been at my constituency, so I am not aware of the letter. I will have an update tomorrow when I am at the office,” she said.
Gono Forum General Secretary, Mostofa Mohsin Montu, said they are aware of the two MP elects sending the letters but was extremely displeased.
“What kind of greed motivated them to do this we do not know, but this issue will be settled by a party decision,” he said.
“There has been no decision allowing them to write to the speaker. However, what has been agreed is that all the Oikya Front MPs-elect will send letters together, if it’s decided that they will take the oath, as a part of our movement,” he added.
Even back in January, Gono Forum's two elected MPs hinted on January 28 that they were contemplating taking the oath to become members of parliament. The party and Oikya Front’s senior leadership categorically rejected the idea.
Gono Forum's two MPs-elect — Sultan Mohammad Monsur from Moulvibazar 2 constituency and Mokabbir Khan from Sylhet 2 constituency — said they believe Gono Forum will let them join parliament, “showing respect to the people's mandate given in their favour.”
However, reiterating the party’s earlier position of not joining parliament, a party spokesperson said Gono Forum, as a part of the Jatiya Oikya Front alliance, is yet to revise its stance on joining parliament.
“Hence, the Gono Forum’s position on this matter [joining the parliament] aligns with the Oikya Front’s stance,” reads a statement, signed by the party’s Information and Mass Media Secretary, Rafiqul Islam Pathik, released to the media that evening.
Speaking to UNB, Gono Forum Executive President Subrata Chowdhury said his party and Jatiya Oikya Front are still firm in their position from back in January, not to send their MPs to parliament.
The Awami League won 257 seats in the Dec 30 election and has formed a government for a third straight term.
The BNP and its allies in the coalition Jatiya Oikya Front, including Gono Forum, won only eight seats.
The BNP candidates who won are its Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir from Bogura 6, Mosharraf Hossain in Bogura 4, Zahidur Rahman in Thakurgaon 3, Aminul Islam in Chapainawabganj 2, Harun-ur-Rashid in Chapainawabganj 3, and Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan in Brahmanbaria 2.
The Jatiya Oikya Front boycotted the results of the polls late on Election Day, with its Convener, Kamal Hossain, calling for fresh elections.
Since then, BNP’s Mirza Fakhrul, who serves as the coalition’s spokesperson, has said several times that the MPs-elect will not take their oath of office.
Several others of Oikya Front’s top brass, including ASM Abdur Rab of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, and Gono Forum leader Subrata Chowdhury, have also been maintaining that stance.
The Dhaka Tribune’s Nawaz Farhin has also contributed to this report.