The opposition Jatiya Party (JP) has plunged into serious crisis just over a month after the death of its former chief, late military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad , as his wife and brother were embroiled fights over a number of issues, mainly the selection of its parliamentary leader and the candidature for contesting a by-election to the seat which fell vacant with the death of its founder.
Jatiya Party has sent a letter to the speaker of Jatiya Sangsad on Tuesday afternoon nominating the party chairman GM Quader as leader of the opposition in parliament, reliable party sources said.“The party’s parliamentary board selects opposition leader as per the Jatiya Party charter,” GM Quader, the new Jatiya Party chairman and younger brother of Ershad, told the daily sun.
Drawing attention to the fact that the JP has already formed a committee to select the party candidate to contest the Rangpur-3 by election, he said the process of selecting a candidate would be done as per the party constitution.
Asked whether the JP will participate in the by-election with the Awami League-led grand alliance putting up its own candidate, Quader said, “Decision about this is not finalised yet. But we are talking with Awami League to this end. We’re ready to contest the polls independently.”
Talking to reporters at his Banani office in the capital on Tuesday, the party chairman claimed that there was no division within the party. “Jatiya Party unitedly will announce candidate for by-polls of Rangpur-3 constituency. The party’s nomination board will finalise the candidate. If anyone wants to ruin the party discipline then action will be taken against that person,” he added.
GM Quader hoped that all the leaders and activists of JP will work unitedly for the party nominated candidate in the Rangpur 3 by election.
Jatiya Party insiders said the crisis over selecting some recent issues including the opposition leader in parliament and nomination for Rangpur 3 by polls have been deepen and dispute between GM Quader and the party co-chairman Raushan Ershad has also become evident.The Rangpur-3 parliamentary seat has fallen vacant after Jatiya Party chairman HM Ershad died on July 14. On July 16, the Election Commission declared the seat vacant.
As per the election schedule announced by the election commission recently, the by-election to Rangpur-3 constituency will be held on October 5. The voting will be held using EVM. The last date for submission of nomination papers is September 9 and scrutiny of nomination papers on September 11. And the last date for withdrawal of candidature is September 16, said the poll schedule.
On August 24, Jatiya Party formed an eight-member parliamentary board, headed by GM Quader, to nominate the party’s candidate in Rangpur-3 by-election. The party is already selling nomination papers. And the last day of submitting nomination forms for the by-polls is Thursday.
Rahgir Al-Mahe Ershad (Shad Ershad), the son of Ershad, has collected nomination form on Tuesday as an aspirant for the Rangpur-3 by-polls.
Party insiders said the political equation of the Jatiya Party would change if the party nominated Ershad’s eldest son Shad Ershad. His mother, party Senior Co-Chairman Raushon Ershad, is also highly willing to introduce Shad to the country’s politics and wants him to contest the by-polls.
Conflict on the nomination of the Rangpur-3 seat has become evident already. On Monday night, supporters of Ershad’s nephew former MP Asif Shahriar, who was expelled from the party, burnt an effigy of Shad Ershad. Supporters of Shad protested the incident, sparking clashes between two groups.
Jatiya Party Joint Secretary General S M Yashir, Presidium Member SM Fakhar-Uz-Zaman Jahangir and Ershad’s niece Mehejebunnesa Rahman Tumpa have collected the nomination forms, party sources said.
SM Yashir, also general secretary of Rangpur city unit Jatiya Party collected the nomination form taking Eric Ershad, another son of Ershad, to the party Banani office on August 27.
“A conflict has become apparent in the family of HM Ershad, the founder of the Jatiya Party, over the upcoming by-election of Rangpur-3 seat. The conflict is also evident over selecting opposition leader. The party men are also divided over the issue,” a senior leader of the party told daily sun.
Talking to the daily sun, some senior leaders expressed their concern whether the party can pick the right candidate from half a dozen aspirants on consensus. “The party should pick a senior leader to contest the Rangpur-3 by-polls as the constituency is prestigious for the party,” a presidium member of the party told daily sun wishing not to be named.
Meanwhile, the crisis has also deepened over selecting its parliamentary leader, who will also become the opposition leader, as a large number of the party leaders want GM Quader for the post but on the other hand some other senior leaders want Raushan Ershad in that position.
“Some Jatiya Party leaders at a joint meeting proposed to make leader of the opposition in parliament as per the party constitution. According to the constitution, party chairman can make leader of the opposition in parliament,” Sunil Shuvo Roy, presidium member of the party, told daily sun.
“Our party’s parliamentary board selects the opposition leader. Raushan Ershad is now deputy leader of the opposition in parliament and she might be leader of the opposition but according to our party charter Jatiya Party chairman belongs to supreme power about taking the party decision,” Jatiya Party presidium member Kazi Feroj Rashid MP told daily sun.