Leaders of Jatiya Party, the main opposition in parliament, have been divided over their political strategy on how to play their role under the ruling of the current government.
“A section of the party leaders think that as an opposition political party, Jatiya Party is playing role as pet opposition to the Awami League government. On the other hand, another group thinks that the party has no alternative to it,” a senior leader of the party told the daily sun wishing not to be named.The Jatiya Party insiders said a large number of the party leaders and activists have become upset and inactive due to the party’s compromising strategy with the government and the party’s absence in street in various public issues for long.
A few senior leaders including the party chairman GM Quader, secretary general Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu, senior co chairman Anisul Islam Mahmud are in one group who want to be vocal against the incumbent government in a bid to draw its attention in their favour.
They are also trying to show their position as independent as the party has already lost its hope to get any benefit further from the Awami League government and also want to keep pace with the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) ahead of the next parliament election, the sources added.
“GM Quader as well as some other senior leaders of the party are losing popularity inside the party due to their weak organizational and political activities. That’s why, they are now trying to gain support of the party men and taking anti-government stance,” said a central leader of Jatiya Party.
On the other hand, the party insiders further said another group of the party leaders including its chief patron Raushan Ershad, presidium members SM Faysal Chisti, and Shafiqul Islam Sentu want to continue relationship with the ruling Awami League as they think that the party has no strong organizational capacity to play effective and responsible role as opposition outside the parliament.
They also think that it is not the right time to take any decision about cutting relation with the Awami League,the party insiders said.
“We want to play responsible role as opposition in parliament and outside parliament. We want to speak for the people of the country, criticize government’s failure and want to speak against misrule and corruption,” Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu told the daily sun.
Speaking at a programme, GM Quader on March 11 said, “Bangladesh can’t be called democratic country due to autocracy and lack of good governance. It is not possible to practice democracy because of what is happening in the country in the name of parliamentary democracy. Autocracy is going on in the country in the name of parliamentary democracy since the handover of power by HM Ershad in 1991.” However, Jatiya Party sources said the leaders, who were benefitted from the government, are now vocal against the government and they are now trying to gain support of the leaders and activists of the party.
“The Jatiya Party as an opposition is in crisis of trust of people. They (GM Quader and other leaders) are trying to restore the people’s confidence,” SM Faysal Chisti said.
Meanwhile, the party men are also unhappy for involvement of Jatiya Party leaders in the cabinet alongside playing role as opposition in parliament and for their absence in the street with public issues.
“Jatiya Party has been losing its image due to playing role as opposition loyal to the ruling Awami League. If such situation continues then the party, will lose popularity as well as its strength to win in the next elections including general election,” a central leader said.
The party founder chairman late HM Ershad allied with the ruling party until his death to survive in Bangladesh’s politics, as the leader of the opposition in parliament after performing the duties of the prime minister’s special envoy.
Bizarrely, despite being the main opposition in parliament, the Jatiya Party had its leaders in the government’s council of ministers. Though a number of the party leaders were against the Ershad’s political strategy but they didn’t raise voice against their party chief during that time.
After the demise of HM Ershad on July 14 last year, both Raushan Ershad and GM Quader were at loggerheads over who would become the Jatiya Party chairman and leader of the opposition.
Though the party has survived a major split by electing Raushan Ershad as the leader of the opposition, it was temporary as the party’s two big groups-GM Quader group and Raushan Ershad group are not united yet, and are working to gain support for their sides, Jatiya Party sources said.
On March 13, GM Quader said: "We don't have links with the Awami League-led 14-party alliance. Awami League now does not want Jatiya Party and Jatiya Party also does not want Awami League."