The Jatiya Party founded by late president H. M. Ershad is once again very close to another split after factions led by Kazi Zafar Ahmed, Anwar Hossain Monju and Najiur Rahman Manju broke away from the party to maintain separate existence. Within less than two months since the death of its founder, the remaining faction of JP has obviously broken asunder amid dispute as to who will lead the party as its chairperson and/or the leader of the opposition in parliament.
The drama within JP now revolves round two key contenders for the posts – Raushan Ershad and GM Quader, the widow and the younger brother of the party founder respectively. A family dispute has now assumed a party proportion, expressing itself as a factional conflict over party hierarchy. All other leaders and activists of JP are just secondary actors in the family drama.The JP factions led by Raushan Ershad and GM Quader held separate meetings and separate press conferences. Both of the groups have reportedly sent letters to the Speaker of the parliament and the Election Commission expressing their respective claims over the coveted posts.
A political party in a democratic environment is supposed to have a constitution and be guided by it in all its affairs including election of leaders and office bearers at all levels of the organisation. Then why claims and counter-claims over such vital issues? A situation like this can only arise when the party constitution is set aside and decisions are made arbitrarily, in accordance with the sweet will of individuals. This was exactly the case when Ershad very frequently removed and reinstated persons in key posts without going through any democratic process.
What is now happening in the Jatiya Party are inevitable consequences of undemocratic practices that were in vogue throughout its history, in choosing party leaders and making important decisions. Democratic norms took a backseat or were relegated to a secondary and subordinate position in JP as personal and factional interests gained the upper hand over party interests. The Jatiya Party clearly failed to set itself on a truly democratic base and act democratically.