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Dhaka Tribune

JaPa stages walkout

Update : 23 Mar 2014, 08:36 PM

The Jatiya Party lawmakers yesterday staged a brief walkout from the assembly protesting the government decision to increase the power tariff.

This is the first apparent role of the opposition the JaPa played in the 25th sitting since the House was launched on January 29.

Around 20 JaPa MPs including State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque walked out of the House around 5.25 pm – 10minutes after the assembly started its business with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.

According to the parliamentary practices, the ministers cannot oppose the treasury as all government decisions are taken by the cabinet as a collective responsibility.

Tajul Islam Chowdhury, the chief whip of the opposition, took the floor in an unscheduled slot as soon as the speaker tabled the question-answer scripts without discussion, making it a part of the proceedings.

At the outset, Tajul Islam condemned the comments of the Transparency International Bangladesh that at a recent press conference observed that the 10th parliament had no opposition. He claimed that the JaPa was an opposition in the legislature.

“The Jatiya Party was never an exclusive opposition. We were in the opposition bench either with the Awami League or the BNP. A good number of our MPs are young; they need some time to understand the parliamentary rules and practices,” said the opposition chief whip,justifying his party role as an opposition in the House.

He said the JaPa earlier talked against the “criminal activities” of the Chhatra League and raised the power price hike issue.

Leader of the opposition Raushan Ershad was seen sitting on her chair.

Tajul said the government promised to provide electricity to the people at affordable prices, but acted against its promise. He said the power hike would hurt the people further.

“In protest of this unfair and unreasonable decision, we are walking out of the Sangsad,” said the opposition chief whip.

The attending MPs expressed their surprise at the JaPa’s walkout decision.

“This is good walkout,” Atiur Rahman Atik, a whip, said as the JaPa MPs were leaving the House. Most of the MPs were seen laughing.

They returned to the House at 5.32 pm amid desk thumbing from theAwami League MPs. Awami League’s Israfil Alam took floor to deliver his speech on the president’s parliamentary address after the JaPa MPs left.

The JaPa MPs took position at the opposition lobby before they returned.

“Walkout in parliamentary democracy is very common, but the issue for which they walked out is a only a walkout for walkout,” he said.

Israfil then criticised HM Ershad’s government that increased the price of electricity by 135%.

He said the government had no way but to increase the power tariff. 

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