On Thursday Jahidur Rahman from Thakurgaon 3 became the first BNP lawmaker in the 11th National Parliament. Three days later on Monday four more MPs-elect from the party were sworn into office
After a surprising U-turn with BNP MP-elects swearing into the Parliament on Monday, many political analysts and politicians have asked whether this is a bid for the party to free their Chairperson Khaleda Zia on bail.
On Thursday Jahidur Rahman from Thakurgaon 3 became the first BNP lawmaker in the 11th National Parliament. Three days later on Monday four more MPs-elect from the party were sworn into office.
Harun ur Rashid from Chapainawabganj 3, Aminul Islam from Chapainawabganj 2, Ukil Abdus Sattar from Brahmanbaria 2 and Mosharraf Hossain from Bogra 4 were sworn in by Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury at her office.
Harun said the MPs were taking oaths as instructed by Tarique Rahman, acting BNP chairperson.
BNP won only six seats in the latest national polls. With five MPs now sworn in, Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir is the only elected BNP leader yet to join parliament.
Mirza Fakhrul was elected from Bogra 6 but has surpassed the time stipulated by the Election Commission (EC) to take his oath.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in parliament on Tuesday evening vacated his seat.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said his decision to not take oath as an MP on Tuesday morning was part of his party's political strategy, and the decision came from the party.
However talking with the Dhaka Tribune several BNP leaders claimed that they did not know anything about the decision by Tareque Rahman’s to have the MPs-elect join the parliament in a bid to save his mother from lifelong jail terms.
BNP Standing Committee Member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said that it was an individual’s decision and party leaders were in dark about this.
Although BNP claimed that its decision was part of political strategy several political commentators claimed that BNP went in the parliament after intra party negotiation to save Khaleda Zia from serving lifelong jail term.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder and political commentator Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune: “BNP has taken right decision in the wrong way. After December 30 election I has suggested that they go to the parliament to help release Khaleda Zia.”
“This step should have been taken earlier.”
Constitution expert Dr Shadhin Malik said: “People will not trust BNP since they joined the Parliament four months after taking a controversial position, especially if the rumors of them joining are only to help free Khaleda Zia and not to fulfill the people’s mandate.”
Jatiya Oikya Front leader and Nagorik Oikya Convener, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, said BNP should come clean and publicly say what their agenda is for joining the Parliament after holding out for so long.
"We were fighting for the unity of the Front and our space to practice democracy and this fight was gathering momentum but now we are just swinging from one decision to another, like a pendulum," he said.
Amir Hossain Amu, Awami League advisor member, said BNP’s decision to join in the parliament is a good example of parliamentary politics and it will help BNP.
“Now BNP leaders can raise their voice in the parliament,” he said.
However he claimed that he has no idea about negotiation with ruling Awami League and BNP over BNP’s join in the parliament.
A joint general secretary of Awami League seeking anonymity told the Dhaka Tribune that BNP lawmakers joined the Parliament as part of political negotiations for the sake of democracy.
He added that the issue was discussed in Awami League’s highest level several times.
He said Awami League has always been positive about BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s parole in-exchange for BNP’s lawmakers joining in Parliament.
When contacted, Awami League joint General Secretary Abdur Rahman said Awami League did not pressure BNP into joining the Parliament and they came on their own volition.