BNP MP Md Harunur Rashid said the opposition parties exist only on pen and paper, not in the parliament. The root of the crisis should be identified for an effective parliament.

He further mentioned that he did not get the answers to his questions as to whether an inspector general of police (IGP) can be the president of Boat Club or not and does anyone have the right to hold a post after breaking the oath as per Section no 148 of the constitution?

Jatiya Party MP Fakhrul Islam said, “If you want a strong opposition, you have to empower the opposition.”

He also demanded for electing deputy speaker from the opposition party, determining the status of whip from the opposition party in accordance with the status of the ruling party and appointing chairmen of different parliamentary standing committees from the oppositions.

Another JaPa MP Md Rustum Ali Faraji said, “The post of chief whip from the opposition party exists only on pen and paper. They do not have any protocol.”

Ganoforum MP Mukabbir Khan said, “The opposition did not get the opportunity to play a proper role in the parliament.”

“Equal opportunities should be ensured for all”, he added.

A bill was placed in the parliament to enact a new law by repealing the law formulated during the military rule regarding the remuneration and privileges of the leader and deputy leader of opposition. Later, it was passed through voice vote in the parliament.

Earlier, speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury disposed of the proposals regarding the correction, verification of the public opinion on the bill and sending it to the selection committee. In the bill placed in the parliament the title ‘Opposition leader’ was used, which was later amended to ‘Leader of the Opposition’.

According to the bill, the Leader of the Opposition shall be entitled to the same salary, allowances and other privileges like a minister. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition shall be entitled to the same salary, allowances and other privileges like a state minister.

The issue of state religion

During the discussion on another bill, BNP MP Harunur Rashid condemned the remark of Murad Hasan, state minister for the information ministry, regarding the state religion. He also played a recorded version of the statement of the state minister from his mobile in the parliament.

Harunur Rashid said, “What steps would be taken if anyone breaks the oath? This cannot be done while in charge of a constitutional post. This is similar to sedition. According to the constitution, Islam is the state religion. If anyone tries to alter the basic points of the constitution, he or she should be punished.”

Planning minister MA Mannan said, “I believe in BAKSAL. State religion is a pernicious thing.”