S M Mizanur Rahman
Is another big surprise on the cards? Leaders of different political parties are in deep suspense with the 11th parliament’s first session set to convene on January 30.
Widespread discussions are now taking place inside party politics of ruling Awami League, and other political parties over who are to be new speaker, deputy leader of the House, chief whip, whips, chairmen and members of different standing committees. The AL and its ally stalwarts who were excluded from the new cabinet are lobbying through different channels to get AL President Sheikh Hasina’s blessings in order to become deputy leader of the House, chief whip, chairmen and members of different standing committees.
The President has called the session and accordingly with his inaugural speech the session will begin on January 30 .
According to parliament rules of procedure, the duration and proceedings of the first session will be finalised at a meeting of the business advisory committee of the parliament, with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair, the same day.
On January 30, speaker and deputy speaker of the 11th parliament will first be elected. Later, the chief whip, other whips and parliamentary standing committees will be formed in phases.
Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury will be elected Speaker again while change may take place in the deputy speaker post. Chief Whip ASM Firoz Rashid will be replaced by a fresh face, according to party sources.
Before these formal proceedings, both treasury and opposition benches will send the list of their respective party-nominated candidates for women reserved seats to the Speaker.
Besides, discussions are also taking place about who is going to be the chief of whip of the treasury bench.
Apart from these, lawmakers from ruling Awami League, Jatiya Party, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASAD) 2, Workers Party of Bangladesh 3, Tarikat Federation 1, Jatiya Party (Manju) 1 and Independent have also started lobbying to become either standing committee chairman or members.
On the other hand, as the Election Commission’s focus has now turned to the contest for the parliamentary seats reserved exclusively for women, discussions are also taking place in the country’s political arena.
As a result who are going to be the lawmakers from women reserved seats have also come up for discussion.
Meanwhile, many Awami League women leaders and relatives of the ruling party have also expressed their willingness to be lawmakers in women reserved seats.
The reserved seats for women are allocated to political parties in proportion with their number of seats in parliament.
Accordingly, 43 seats will be allotted to the Awami League, four to the Jatiya Party, one apiece for the BNP and the Workers’ Party while the independent candidates may receive one seat if they join the votes.
Jatiya Party chairman HM Ershad, the leader of the opposition in parliament, has submitted a list of four candidates from his party to the Speaker on Wednesday.
The election to the 50 reserved seats is required to be held within 90 days after the election results are gazetted.
However, the ruling Awami League has not prepared the names of the women reserved seats. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina plans to pick up dedicated and honest women leaders for the reserved seats.
The senior AL leaders who were excluded from the new cabinet and who had dreamed to be ministers are now racing for the standing committee chairmen and members.
“Nobody but Awami League President Sheikh Hasina knows. Everything will come to light within this month. Although the formation of standing committee may take some time, everything will be settled immediately,” a highly placed source in ruling Awami League told Bangladesh Post on Friday.
According to party insiders, AL presidium member Matia Chowdhury is likely to be picked as deputy leader of the House as she owns a clean image.
Besides, on behalf of AL senior leader Tofail Ahmed, some leaders and workers have been running campaigns on social media sites expressing their desire to make their leader deputy leader of the House.
On the other hand, the 10th parliament had formed 50 committees to oversee the activities of the all ministries and other government agencies.
The names of AL senior leader Amir Hossain Amu and former LGRD Minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain have also come up for discussion as deputy leader of the House.
The heavyweight ministers who lost their posts, Tofail Ahmed, Amir Hossain Amu, Matia Chowdhury, Mohammed Nasim, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Nurul Islam, Rashed Khan Menon, Eng. Mosharraf Hossain, Emaz Uddin Pramanik, Hasanul Haq Inu, Anisul Islam Mahmud, Anwar Hossain, Nurul Islam Nahid, Shajahan Khan, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Mazibul Hoque, Mostafizur Rahman, Asaduzzaman Noor, Shamsur Rahman Sherif, Kamrul Islam, Narayan Chandra Chanda, Shahjahan Kamal, and Matiur Rahman are likely to chair parliamentary standing committees.
Besides, Mujibul Haque, Mirza Azam, Biren Sikder, Meher Afroze, Muhammad Nazrul Islam, Mashiur Rahman Ranga, and Keramat Ali are also likely to be inducted in the parliamentary standing committees.
The committees are on Estimates, Public Undertakings, Government Assurances, Library, Petitions, Private Member’s Bills and Resolutions, Committee, Business Advisory and Standing Committee of Privileges, Rules of Procedure, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Ministry of Railway, Ministry of Hill Tracts and Ministry of Science and Technology.
Besides, standing Committee on Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Land, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Forest and Environment, Ministry of Textile and Jute, Ministry of Food, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Post Telecommunication and Information Technology, Ministry of Health and Family Planning, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Administration, Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Liberation War, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Finance and on Public Accounts
Bangladesh Awami League clinched 259 seats, Jatiya Party 20, Bangladesh Nationalist Party 5, Gano Forum 2, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh 2, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASAD) 2, Workers Party of Bangladesh 3, Tarikat Federation 1, Jatiya Party (Manju) 1 and Independent candidates 3 in the December 30, 2018 polls.