Rony goes back on quit threat
Published: 2013-07-23 16:28:32.0 BdST Updated: 2013-07-24 01:14:18.0 BdST
Awami League MP Golam Maula Rony has gone back on his decision to resign immediately, two and a half hours after announcing it on Facebook.
He has changed his mind to say he is not resigning ‘right now’.
“I represent a party. I’ll talk to the party leadership and to the Prime Minister. I’ll quit if the party, Parliament or the government is embarrassed (by my behaviour) and if the party asks me to quit,” he told reporters after meeting the Speaker on Tuesday afternoon.
The MP from Patuakhali, facing a barrage of criticism for assaulting two Independent TV journalists on Saturday, met Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury to discuss his move.
He said before the meeting that "most" of his party colleagues were speaking up for Salman F Rahman. "So, I felt I should quit. I have come to discuss this with the Speaker since it is a constitutional matter.”
A furore over his assault on journalists, leading to back-to-back cases and the Awami League distancing itself from him, had preceded Rony’s resignation threat.
He told bdnews24.com on Tuesday, “I’ve decided to resign," but refused to elaborate before meeting the Speaker.
Rony entered the Speaker’s room in Parliament at around 2:20pm.
Earlier, he had posted on his Facebook page, “Probably I am going to resign. I feel I should face the conspiracy as an ordinary citizen.”
Rony had beaten up two Independent TV journalists—reporter Imtiaz Momin Sony and cameraman Mohsin Mukul—on Saturday when they had gone to interview him at his Meherba Plaza office on Topkhana Road for Talash, a programme that probes incidents of crime.
The TV management sued him for ‘murderous assault’. Rony, in turn, filed a case against the Independent TV journalists, accusing them of extortion and blackmail.
Rony said after meeting the Speaker: “As an MP, I enjoy certain privileges. A case has been filed and people may think that it can be influenced because of my privileges. That’s why I made the Facebook posting. It was my personal feeling.”
He said the people of his constituency want to know what it was all about, prompting him to defer his resignation before a discussion with them.
“That’s why I’m not quitting right at this moment,” he said.
When asked if his party was embarrassed by his action, Rony said: “Nobody in the party told me that the party was embarrassed.”
He claimed he had not "breached" any discipline and alleged there was deep-rooted conspiracy against him.
About his discussion with the Speaker, Rony said: “I wanted to know if I had any protection as an MP and whether my behaviour had embarrassed Parliament and my party.”
He quoted the Speaker as saying that Parliament had no reason to be embarrassed. And, regarding the party, she had advised him to talk to the leadership.
Rony said he would talk to the Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and would do "what is good".
He claimed the beating up of the journalists had not broken any law. “That day, I did whatever I could within the limits of the law in self defence.”
Rony denied kicking the journalists.
He alleged they had invaded his privacy by transgressing his personal property. “I’ll file two cases (against them). One for defamation and another for intrusion,” he said.
Earlier, Rony had claimed that the TV station had unleashed its investigative team at the behest of Salman F Rahman, a co-owner of the channel and an Advisor to the Awami League President, as he had been outspoken about the capital market debacle.
Rony’s party, meanwhile, expressed dismay and hinted at possible parliamentary action against him Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif on Sunday said: “The Rony incident is lamentable, unwanted and unexpected.”
Rony got bail from the trial court on Sunday, while Sony and Mukul took bail from the High Court on Tuesday.
Senior TV journalists issued a statement appealing to TV channels to boycott Rony. In addition, leaders of several journalists' bodies formed a human chain on Tuesday, demanding Rony's arrest within a week. They also demand the cancellation of his Parliament membership.
Rony has faced criticism from inside his party.
Party Advisory Council member Suranjit Sengupta said: “Rony’s behaviour with the media is indecent and unsolicited.”
Rony was elected MP from the Patuakhali-3 constituency in the 2008 national polls.
Later, several newspapers ran reports on his alleged corruption, extortion and tender manipulation. The Anti Corruption Commission began an investigation against him for concealing his wealth in his income statement.
Rony had been accused of beating up journalists in Patuakhali earlier too.
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