Important thing is I am still standing, says Workers Party chief Menon

The 14-Party leader is one of only two from the alliance who won seats in the parliament

Published : 10 Jan 2024, 12:57 PM
Updated : 10 Jan 2024, 12:57 PM

Three leaders from the Workers Party held seats in the previous parliament. Party chief Rashed Khan Menon is the only one who took his oath of office to serve in the 12th parliament on Wednesday.

He was sworn in alongside the newly-elected Awami League MPs at the parliament building.

“The important thing is that I’m still here,” he told the media afterwards. “It is a big deal to survive through struggle.”

“It is difficult for those of us who are part of the common people, who mingle with them and are not wealthy, to come out on top in such elections.

“I was surprised by my victory this time because I won by the biggest margin since 1973. I won by nearly 90,000 votes. I was very happy with the spontaneity with which people voted.”

The 14-Party Alliance and the Awami League became allies during the 2008 polls. In the 11th parliamentary polls, the Awami League ceded 16 seats to its allies. Alliance member JaSaD won two seats, the Workers Party three seats, Bikalpadhara two seats, and Tarikat Federation one seat. JaSaD’s Rezaul Karim Tansen later won a by-poll in the Bogura-4 district to claim a third seat.For the 12th general election, the Awami League only withdrew from six seats in favour of its 14-Party allies. Four of them failed to win, even though they ran under the ruling party’s boat symbol. The two who still survive are Menon and Tansen.JaSaD President Hasanul Haq Inu ran for the Kushtia-2 seat, while party leader Mosharraf Hossain ran for Lakshmipur-4. Both of them contested the polls using the boat symbol, but still lost.Menon had won the Dhaka-8 seat for three consecutive terms, but the Awami League ceded the Barishal-2 seat to him instead.Workers Party General Secretary Fazle Hossain Badshah, the incumbent in the Rajshahi-2 seat, lost by nearly 23,000 votes.Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman Anowar Hossain Manju ran for the Pirojpur-2 seat, but the two-time MP from the seat also lost.Asked how it felt to compete in his home constituency after so many years in Dhaka, Menon said, “In 1991, I was the MP for the same seat [Barishal-2]. Some people in the constituency have fallen behind. And yet, they accepted me just as they used to. And that is how they continue to see me.”