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Politic-Economic-Society-Tech

President asked to quit
Resignation letter likely to be submitted today

Star Report


President Badruddoza Chowdhury has been asked to step down immediately. The BNP Parliamentary Party at a meeting last night asked the President to leave office for 'betraying' the party. Accepting the fate, the president is likely to hand over his resignation letter to the Speaker sometime today after staying at the helm of the country's highest office for only 219 days.

This is for the first time a democratically elected president in the country has been forced out of office by an elected government. None other than the President's son, Mahi B Chowdhury, was designated to tell the President that he has been asked to stand down.

"The President has made up his mind to step down," Mahi said yesterday following the party decision. "He will resign tomorrow (this) evening after completion of some formalities like meeting with the Bangabhaban staff and bidding them bye."
"The President has decided to resign on three considerations. First, as a respect for democracy, second, to honour the resolution of the party of which he was the founding secretary general and third, since the licence of the BNP is in the name of President Chowdhury."
Mahi, who is also a BNP lawmaker, responded to queries from reporters at the Bangabhaban entrance. He stepped out of the presidential motorcade that brought President Chowdhury to the presidential mansion at around 9:20pm. The President, accompanied by his wife Hasina Warda Chowdhury, had left Bangabhaban for his private residence at Baridhara around 5:00pm. On the way, he visited the KC Memorial Clinic which he owns.

The BNP Parliamentary Party decided to ask for his immediate ouster in a brief resolution at the end of a two-day hectic session with Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in the chair. After the deliberations that ended at 7:00pm, Chief Whip Khandaker Delwar Hussain read out the terse resolution at his Sangsad Bhaban chamber for the waiting newsmen.

At the meeting, most of the lawmakers denounced the president for his recent role, saying that he is trying to be politically 'neutral'. They demanded his resignation.

During the two-day meeting, some 35 ruling BNP lawmakers condemned the "neutral role" played by the BNP-appointed President. Initially, the flak was opened by young Turks of the party who seem to have been gaining an edge in the party affairs in recent times. Senior party men like M Saifur Rahman, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Nazmul Huda also joined the chorus of the young party men.

"The BNP Parliamentary Party (BNPPP) has unanimously adopted a resolution requesting President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury to resign immediately as he has lost the confidence of the BNP lawmakers," the resolution stated.


The decision of the BNP with a two-thirds majority in the parliament was resulted from the recent standoff between the president and the party over his skipping the traditional visit to the grave of late president Ziaur Rahman on the occasion of his death anniversary that fell on May 30.


On Wednesday, the first day of the BNPPP meeting, parliamentarians belonging to the ruling BNP demanded that the president be impeached.

"I heard your speeches, a resolution was taken based on your deliberations and I share your sentiments," a smiling Prime Minister Khaleda Zia told the party deputies while rounding off the two-day long deliberations.


The resolution was conveyed through a low-level official messenger late at night to President Chowdhury. But the President had made up his mind to step down after being informed by his son who was told to give the president the news.

The President and his wife Hasina Warda Chowdhury appeared relaxed on the way to the Bangabhaban, waving to reporters.


Asked about the resolution, Mahi said he does not think that his father wanted to belittle or dishonour the image of the party founder. He had also visited late president's grave after being sworn in the office. "However, as a party member I can only endorse the decision of my party."

Asked if Prof. Chowdhury, being the licence holder of the BNP, will be back in the party or form any other platform, Mahi said, "You better ask my father about that."

However, he added, "He is 71. I think he will retire from politics."

Asked if the President has resigned to escape being impeached, he said, "My father has practised democracy and has been the founding secretary general of the BNP. He has resigned to keep the President's office above controversy.


"That is the way democracy works where the will of the majority is honoured," Mahi told reporters.


President Chowdhury will fly to Chatkil in Noakhali by helicopter at around 9:00 am to attend a family engagement. He is due to return to the capital by 4:30pm.


sourc
e: The Daily Star, Fri. June 21, 2002
 


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