Bangladesh's main opposition Awami League has questioned the constitutional propriety of having "two presidents" and reiterated its allegation of a political conspiracy to upstage the highest office.
The allegation came after President Iajuddin Ahmed returned from Singapore following a surgery, but did not take over charge. Hence Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Jamiruddin Sarkar continues to be the acting president.
Awami League chief and Leader of Opposition Sheikh Hasina had earlier alleged that her archrival, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, planned to take over as the caretaker president to ensure her party's victory in the parliamentary polls later this year.
Hasina told the media before leaving for India on a five-day visit that the government was violating the country's constitution and that two presidents could not exist in a democratic country, the news agency BD News said.
"They are violating the constitution. As soon as the president arrives in the country, the speaker cannot receive him as acting president. He can receive him (the president) as speaker. As per rule, the prime minister should receive him," Hasina said.
Hasina said she suspected that Zia might take over charge of the presidency by making the president "ill again".
The Bangladesh Observer said the issue caused an unscheduled debate in the National Assembly. Awami League lawmaker Mohammad Nasim said the president is a symbol of sovereignty and there should be only one president as per the constitution.
"I want to know from the government how many presidents exist in the country right now," he said.
The president had returned home after his treatment. "But why has the acting president Jamiruddin Sircar not handed over charge to him?" he asked.
"Two presidents can't exist in a country," he said adding that the constitution had been violated through this act.
In reply, Law Minister Moudud Ahmed said the president went abroad for treatment. He was brought back home, as there was no scope of staying there after receiving treatment.
"But he is not able to take over charge. The president will take over charge when he becomes able to do so," he added.