A large number of the opposition Jatiya Party (JP) supporters, particularly those from the grassroots, want their current acting party chief Ghulam Muhammed Quader to succeed his brother late military dictator H.M. Ershad who died two days ago.
Talking to the daily sun, a number of central and grassroots leaders said they want Quader as their new chairman and also the opposition leader in the parliament as Ershad too wanted his younger brother to succeed him.Claiming that he believes in running the party as per desire of the party leaders and activists, GM Quader said he wanted JP to be a political party owned and run by its members. “It is my dream that it (JP) will emerge as a party that would draw the people of the country.”
Meanwhile, JP Secretary General Moshiur Rahman Ranga told this correspondent soon after the burial of Ershad that party’s presidium would decide on the leadership and other issues.
Talking to the daily sun, Jatiya Party presidium member Syed Didar Bakht said “Jatiya Party parliamentary party will hold a meeting immediately to decide the leader of the opposition in parliament. After the meeting it will be clear who will be succeed Ershad.”
“HM Ershad has already made GM Quader as his successor. Madam (Raushan Ershad) is now at an advanced age. It will be difficult for her to run the activities as leader of the opposition in parliament. We want GM Quader will be made the opposition leader. But we hope everything will be settled through understanding,” Jahirul Alam Rubel, vice chairman of the Jatiya Party told daily sun.
Talking to daily sun, Monirul Islam Milon, joint secretary general of the party also expressed hope that GM Quader will be made leader of the opposition in parliament as he has been made the Jatiya Party chairman as successor of Ershad.
However, a few central leaders want deputy leader of the opposition Raushan Ershad, also senior co-chairman of the Jatiya Party as leader of the opposition in parliament.“Raushan Ershad is now deputy leader of the opposition in parliament. We think she will be leader of the opposition. Our party secretary general Moshiur Rahman Ranga also on Monday said GM Quader will run Jatiya Party as its chairman and Raushan Ershad will run the parliamentary party as opposition leader,” Jatiya Party presidium member Kazi Feroj Rashid MP told daily sun on Tuesday.
He however said the Jatiya Party parliamentary party will hold a meeting soon and take final decision about who will be the opposition leader.
Talking to the daily sun, one Jatiya Party presidium member, said on condition of anonymity, “Some senior leaders of the Jatiya Party who are known as loyal to Raushan Ershad and beneficiary of power want to make Raushan Ershad as leader of the opposition in parliament.”
HM Ershad was chairman of the Jatiya Party and leader of the opposition in parliament while his younger brother GM Quader was made acting chairman and successor of the party founder.
After the death of Ershad, GM Quader is supposed to be the Jatiya Party chairman and in normal conditions he should become also the leader of the opposition in parliament to succeed Ershad. But that too will not be easy amid the widening rift between the two sides, one JP leader said.
Asked who will be the leader of the opposition in parliament, Jatiya Party presidium member and lawmaker Syed Abu Hossain Babla told daily sun that “No decision has been taken yet in the party forum. The party may take the decision in this regard soon.”
On May 4 night, 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.
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.
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, Fakhrul Imam and Mujib-ul-Haque Chunnu, are under the umbrella of Raushan Ershad and they are unhappy with leadership of GM Quader and they also want Raushan Ershad as leader of the opposition in parliament.
Asked whether there is any internal conflict over the party’s leadership, GM Quader, replied in the negative.
Replying to another question on reported grouping between himself and the Jatiya Party senior co-chairman Raushan Ershad, the wife of late party chairman Ershad, he said “Competition over leadership always exists in a big political party. I don’t think that my sister in law (Raushan) is involved in such a race. Some people are trying to gain advantage by using her name.”
Former President Hussain Muhammad Ershad passed away Sunday at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka and he has been buried in his home town Rangpur on Tuesday.