The sitting of the 18th session of Parliament started at 5.30pm
with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
The day's proceedings
started with recitation from the holy Quran.
Twenty minutes later, 38
opposition MPs, led by Khaleda, walked into the House and the new Speaker
Earlier, in a meeting held at the Parliament Building, the
BNP Parliamentary Party decided to join Parliament. BNP chief and Opposition
Leader Khaleda Zia presided over the meeting attended by the lawmakers of BNP
and its allies.
Most of the lawmakers of the BNP-led opposition were on
the verge of losing their parliamentary membership because of their prolonged
Article 67 of the Constitution specifies that lawmakers who
remain absent for 90 consecutive working days will automatically lose their
The Speaker’s welcome address ended before the opposition
MPs entered. Chaudhury in her address said that an acceptable solution can come
through dialogue in parliamentary democracy.
The opposition MPs were
welcomed by Leader of the Parliament Sheikh Hasina, Deputy Leader Syeda Sajeda
Chowdhury, Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith, Agriculture Minister Matia
Chowdhury, Awami League Advisory Council Member Tofail Ahmed, Information
Minister and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Haque Inu, Jatiya Party
Chairman HM Ershad, Jatiya Party lawmaker Rowshan Ershad and Workers’ Party
President Rashed Khan Menon.
At the end of the meeting of the BNP
Parliamentary Party, Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farrouque told
reporters, “A decision has been made to join Parliament. We’ll join the House
led by Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia after the session
Thirty-five BNP MPs including Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar, Jamiruddin
Sircar, Barkatullah Bulu, AM Mahbub Uddin Khokan, Mujibur Rahman Sarwar, Jafrul
Islam Chowdhury, Muhammad Mosharraf Hossain, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie, Abul
Khair Bhuiyan and ABM Ashrafuddin Nizam attended the session.
Jatiya Party (BJP) Chairman Andaleeve Rahman Partho and Jamaat-e-Islami
lawmakers ANM Shamshul Islam and AHM Hamidur Rahman Azad were also
A fresh boycott began in June 2010 and continued until Mar 16,
2011. By that time the opposition lawmakers were away from the House for 74
consecutive sittings. Then they stormed out of Parliament on Mar 24, 2011 and
returned on March 18, 2012, ending their boycott of 77 sittings.
Chairperson Khaleda Zia has attended only eight of the 370 working days of the
current Parliament. The BNP as a party attended 54 days.
It means that
the BNP boycotted Parliament for 316 days in 17 sessions of the current
Parliament – the highest boycott in the history of the country’s parliamentary
President Abdul Hamid convened the session on May
Finance Minister Muhith is expected to present budget for the 2013-14
fiscal year on June 6.