Amid controversy, Jatiya Party nominates leader of the opposition

Per the rules, the status will be confirmed if the speaker accepts the nomination letter from the Jatiya Party

Published : 18 Jan 2024, 12:40 PM
Updated : 18 Jan 2024, 12:40 PM

Amid questions about who will be the main opposition party in the 12th parliament, the Jatiya Party, which won 11 seats, has nominated its chairman, GM Quader, as the leader of the opposition.

In addition, the party's Co-Chairman Anisul Islam Mahmud has been nominated as the deputy leader of the opposition party and General Secretary Md Mujibul Haque as the opposition chief whip.

Haque told that the decision was taken at a meeting of the Jatiya Party's parliamentarians in the office of the deputy leader of the opposition party at the parliament house on Thursday.

Jatiya Party MP Hafizuddin Ahmed was nominated as the opposition party whip in the meeting presided over by Quader.

It was decided to inform Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury about the nominations in writing.

According to the rules, the nomination letter from the parliamentary opposition will only be effective if the speaker approves it.

In the Jan 7 election, the candidates of the ruling Awami League won 223 seats and formed a government for a fourth consecutive term with an absolute majority.

Independent candidates won the second-highest number of seats. They were declared winners in 62 constituencies. Of the winners, 59 hold positions in the Awami League despite running without the party's backing.

The Jatiya Party, which was the main opposition party in the last two parliaments, won 11 seats. Among the 14 Party Alliance, JaSad got one seat, and the Workers Party got one seat. The Kalyan Party, once allied with the BNP, also won a seat.

The second largest party in parliament by number of seats traditionally takes on the role of the parliamentary opposition. The person selected by the parliamentary opposition becomes the leader of the opposition.

Like the two previous elections, the Jatiya Party won the second-highest number of seats as a party. That is why they are claiming to be the parliamentary opposition in the 12th parliament.

But this time, the process has become tangled in controversy as independent candidates have won almost six times more seats than the second-largest party. There have been questions about whether independents can form a coalition and become the main opposition party. Legal and constitutional experts have also said it is possible.

In the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament, the definition of 'Leader of the Opposition' is stated - "A Member of Parliament who, in the opinion of the Speaker, is the Leader in the House of the Party or of the Group, as the case may be, in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength in the House".

The leader of the opposition in parliament gets the status of minister, and the deputy leader receives the status of state minister. The Leader of Opposition and Deputy Leader (Remuneration and Privileges) Ordinance prescribed these privileges. They also have their offices in the parliament building.

Now, the question is whether the Jatiya Party's nomination of opposition leader, deputy leader, opposition chief whip and whip will be approved.

Former law minister Shafique Ahmed says, according to the law, they have to wait for the speaker's approval.

Commenting on the situation, he told, "The party's parliamentarians may decide. But it remains to be seen if the speaker accepts it. We must wait and see what decision comes at the speaker's discretion."