Group of leading citizens urges president to act, create room for BNP in polls
A delegation of eminent citizens yesterday met President Abdul Hamid, and proposed limiting the prime minister’s power to overrule ministers’ decisions in a bid to have the BNP join the polls-time government and contest the next general election.
This could be done by amending the government’s rules of business and would be effective only for the interim cabinet. And it would still be in conformity with the constitution, said meeting sources citing the proposal.
The government’s rules of business now gives the PM unlimited powers to override any decision of her cabinet members.
In view of the eminent citizens, this provision may prevent the BNP from joining the polls-time government led by Sheikh Hasina.
The BNP might think even if it gets desired ministries in the interim government, this provision would allow the PM to overrule any decisions of BNP ministers. This fear might have refrained the BNP from joining the polls-time cabinet, said a delegation member, asking not to be named.
On behalf of the delegation, Dr Akbar Ali Khan, a former adviser to a caretaker government, placed the proposal before the president.
If needed, a new provision might be included in the rules of business that the interim cabinet will make decisions on the basis of consensus, not majority, according to the proposal.
“The president told us that he would consider this proposal,” a delegation member told The Daily Star on condition of anonymity.
Speaking at a press briefing after the meeting, Akbar, also former cabinet secretary, said the president told the delegation that he was trying to resolve the political standoff between the Awami League and the BNP over polls-time government.
Briefing reporters, President’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said the president told the delegation that he would convey their concern and message to the government.
When contacted by The Daily Star over the phone, Osman Faruk, adviser to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, said they would welcome any move to resolve the ongoing political crisis.
On the delegation’s proposal, he said they could speak about the proposal once it got a formal shape.
The meeting between the president and the eminent citizens took place amid growing concern over the current political standoff between the two rival camps.
The six-member delegation led by noted jurist Dr Kamal Hossain urged the president to take steps to resolve the crisis.
The delegation told the president that any election without the main opposition would spell disaster for the country, Akbar told journalists coming out of the Bangabhaban.
Source: The Daily Star