Suranjit says no scope to amend constitutionStaff Correspondent
The minister without portfolio, Suranjit Sengupta, on Tuesday told parliament that there was no scope to touch the constitution right now and the next general election would be held as it was prescribed in the constitution.
While speaking in parliament during budget discussion, he called on the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party to return to the House and clear its intention whether it wants to take part in the interim administration during the elections, scheduled for early 2014.
‘If you have any desire to be a part of it, speak out loud in parliament and I believe prime minister Sheikh Hasina may consider it,’ he said.
Suranjit brushed aside a proposal for amendment to the constitution from ruling coalition lawmaker Rashed Khan Menon, president of the Workers Party of Bangladesh, for credible holding of the next election and giving a clear framework for the interim administration.
‘There is no scope to amend the constitution under any circumstance. The next general election will be held under the existing provision of the constitution,’ he said.
He rejected the opposition alliance’s demand for restoration of provisions for caretaker government branding it a dead issue.
Suranjit urged the opposition leaders to take part in the coming elections shunning their street agitaion and destructive activities in the name of political movement.
‘The caretaker government is dead. We will not revive it. If you want to restore the system, take part in the election and amend the constitution wining a two-thirds majority in parliament,’ Suranjit said.
Menon on Monday wanted amendment to the Article 123 (3) of the constitution dealing with the general election.
Suranjit said Menon was a member of the special committee formed to prepare proposals for the 15th amendment to the constitution and also gave note of dissent to three proposals, but said nothing about reinstatement of Article 123(3).
‘Why he is speaking in such a way? Will he guarantee that all the crises would be eliminated through amendment to this section? Will it ensure return of opposition to parliament or shun them from anarchy and credible holding of the election?,’ Suranjit asked.
Suranjit rejected Menon’s logic of creating ‘level-playing-field’ between sitting lawmakers and intending lawmakers during the elections, saying there was no such term in constitution rather it was coined by civil-military bureaucrats who were against democracy.
Suranjit also hit back at Menon for his criticism of his (Suranjit’s) stand on the quick rental power plants. ‘Menon tried to give the impression that my stand was for protecting my position and to get a portfolio. I can feel his pain of not being a minister with or without any portfolio,’ he said.
Speaking about power crisis, Memon on Monday had told the House, ‘I will not speak anything about electricity as it annoys the prime minister and Suranjit stands up to regain his lost empire.’
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