The Jatiya Party which seen a number dramas over its leadership in the absence of its sick chairman and former president Hussain Muhhamad Ershad and well-placed sources said the party was likely to split into two factions.
Party insiders said the internal conflict over choosing Ershad’s successor has deepened now as the former military ruler’s health condition has worsened over the past several months as he is not fit to run the party.The internal feud over party leadership has widened as its chairman Ershad recently nominated his younger brother GM Quader as the acting chairman of the party and his successor. The decision has made his wife Raushan Ershad and her followers unhappy, the sources said.
Talking to the daily sun, one presidium member of Jatiya Party, on condition of anonymity, said “HM Ershad is now suffering from old age complications. Sometimes, he is unable to speak. He is now counting his time.”
About the future of the party, the former close aide to Ershad said, “It is a matter of time. Actually, after the death of Ershad, the future leadership of the party will be decided. The party is in total disarray and it is likely to split into two factions— GM Quader faction and Raushan Ershad faction.”
He further said, “GM Quader has lost his image inside the party by hurriedly taking the responsibility of the party’s acting chairman. Otherwise, Jatiya Party leaders would bring him to the party as the successor of Ershad, after his death. But, internal conflict has now surfaced.”
Asked about internal conflict and situation inside the party, its presidium member ABM Ruhul Amin Howlader, also former secretary general of JP, told the daily sun, “I’m away from politics for a few days to meet family needs. But I’ll always remain our leader, HM Ershad.”
On May 4, Ershad, at an urgent press conference at his Baridhara residence in the capital, announced the name of his younger brother, GM Quader, as the acting chairman of Jatiya Party and said that GM Quader will become the chairman of the party in his absence.“As I’m physically ill, regular activities of the party chairman are being hampered to a great extent. So, I’ve appointed GM Quader, MP, as the acting chairman of the party to perform my duties until further instructions. The decision will come into effect immediately,” he said.
Later, GM Quader, at a press conference said, “Jatiya Party chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad is unable to run the party activities due to his physical illness. As a result, the party activities have slowed down. So, the party chairman has given me the responsibility of the party as its acting chairman,”
He also said that HM Ershad had appointed him the chairman of the party in his (Ershad’s) absence at a press conference in the capital on April 4 night. “He has done this so that no confusion is created inside the party. The expectations of the party leaders and activists have been fulfilled through the announcement. Jatiya Party will be run under Ershad’s directives until his death,” he said.
On March 23, Ershad removed GM Quader from the parliamentary post of deputy leader of the opposition and replaced him by party’s senior co-chairman Raushan Ershad.
“Flip-flops in taking organisational decisions by the party chief has surfaced internal conflict and created divisions. The party has become weak due to frequent change in top leadership. Party activists have become confused about party leadership and its future,” another presidium member said.
Talking to the daily sun, some central leaders of the party said there are two factions inside Jatiya Party. Raushan Ershad is leading a faction while GM Quader is leading the other one.
Most of the top leaders of the party, including Anisul Islam Mahmud, Kazi Feroz Rashid and Mujib-ul-Haque Chunnu, are under the umbrellah of Raushan Ershad and they are unhappy with the latest organisational decision of making GM Quader the acting chairman of the party and his successor.
Asked about the current situation of the party, its presidium member Kazi Feroz Rashid said, “All of us are followers of Ershad. We are bound to obey his directives.”
Another presidium member of the party, on condition of not to be named, said, “Jatiya Party’s future is uncertain as most of the top leaders, including a number of presidium members led by Raushan Ershad, may revolt challenging the current decision of Ershad by making his younger brother GM Quader his successor after his death. They also may declare GM Quader persona-non-grata in the party.”
He said thyat GM Quader won’t be able to run the party as its acting chairman for long as most of its senior leaders are against him. “Now, the senior leaders are counting time. They will take a decision soon.”
A number of the party central leaders alleged that the party is now in total disarray while some 54 leaders have been made presidium members ignoring the party charter.
“GM Quader has included eight of his followers as presidium members of the party. That’s a why a number of dedicated leaders have become unhappy with the party high command,” said a party leader.
According to party insiders, ongoing rift over leadership of Jatiya Party has taken a new turn on Friday as three central committee leaders, including senior joint secretary general Liaquat Hossain Khoka, lawmaker from Narayanganj-3 constituency, resigned from their respective posts.
In separate resignation letters addressing party chairman HM Ershad, they expressed their dissatisfaction over the decision of inducting eight new presidium members, what they said was done for strengthening the position of the newly appointed acting chairman GM Quader.