Wednesday, 10 August, 2022

Rift surfaces in Jatiya Party

The main opposition Jatiya Party is facing a rift due to a growing mistrust among the senior policymakers of the party.

Although the party leaders deny any rift between chief patron Raushon Ershad and party chairman GM Quader, their actions tell otherwise.

The rift between the two has been more apparent as Raushon on Saturday alleged that the senior leaders kept distance during her several-month treatment abroad.

She lamented that nobody from the party inquired about her treatment.

“I was admitted to a hospital in Thailand for six long months. No one from the party inquired about me. Those, who have been expelled from the party, have inquired about me regularly and arranged doa mahfil in various places of worship,” she said.

The Jatiya Party is now in disorder in absence of Ershad, she said.

Insiders say that the party is facing a three-way conflict which may take a sharp turn ahead of the forthcoming national elections.

The party insiders said Jatiya Party is now divided into three factions---one led by the party chairman GM Quader, another led by the party’s chief patron Raushon Ershad and the other led by Bidisha Siddiqui, former wife of Jatiya Party’s founding chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad.

“There is no division in our party. We are united. There will be no problem ahead of the next national polls. We will join the polls unitedly,” Jatiya Party co-chairman Kazi Firoz Rashid told Daily Sun.

The long-standing internal dispute has surfaced again as Raushon Ershad held a views exchange meeting with the party leaders at a city hotel on July 2, after returning from Thailand where she was undergoing treatment for around eight months.

The opposition leader held the meeting under the banner of the Jatiya Party but the party chairman GM Quader and other senior leaders were not present there.

Raushon’s son Rahgir Al-Mahe Ershad, her political secretary Golam Mosih, Ershad Trust chairman Kazi Mamunur Rashid, party leaders Habibur Rahman Hobi and Habibullah Belali were present at the meeting among others.

Speaking at the programme, Raushon Ershad lamented that “I was admitted in a hospital in Thailand for six long months. No one from the party inquired about me. Those who were expelled from the party inquired about me regularly and arranged doa mahfil in various places of worship.”

Raushon Ershad said those who have been expelled from the party should be brought back to the party again.

At the view exchange programme, Kazi Mamunur Rashid urged Raushon Ershad to take the helm of Jatiya Party and to make Rahgir Al-Mahe Ershad the party’s chairman.

Talking to Daily Sun, a praesidium member of the Jatiya Party wishing not to be named said “Many leaders and activists do not like GM Quader as the party chairman. They want to see Raushon Ershad as chairman of the party.”

The leader said a new polarization will take place in the Jatiya Party ahead of the next general election and either Raushon Ershad or Rahgir Al-Mahe Ershad may take the party’s responsibility.

Asked about Raushon’s move, Jatiya Party secretary-general Mujibul Haque Chunnu said, “Raushon Ershad is a respected person in our party. There is no controversy about her. We will meet her soon.”

“Only some expelled leaders of the Jatiya Party and some outsiders of the party were present in the meeting. We were also invited to attend the views exchange meeting but finally, we didn’t go there due to the presence of the expelled leaders,” he added.

The party insiders said several Jatiya Party leaders who were deprived inside the party in various ways and some other expelled leaders are now communicating with Raushon Ershad to convince her to be the party chief.

In November 2021, Bidisha Siddiqui was declared the Jatiya Party's acting chairman.

“Now I’m reorganizing the party across the country. Already, I have completed the reorganization process in 33 districts. We may hold the party’s national council session in November or December,” Bidisha told the Daily Sun.

Mentioning that only Ershad’s wife and sons can claim the party’s leadership in his absence, Bidisha said “I’m reorganizing the real Jatiya Party. I have been made the chairman of United National Alliance also.”

However, in July 2021, Ershad's son Shahta Zarab Ershad Eric launched a new committee of Jatiya Party consisting of Raushon Ershad, Bidisha Siddique and Ershad's other son Rahgir Al Mahe.

In the 9th council session of Jatiya Party, Raushon Ershad has been made the party’s chief patron in December 2019. She is a ‘toothless tiger’ in the party as she does not have any organizational power which has made the widow of Ershad as well as her people seriously unhappy, party sources said.

Raushon now actually wants to establish her son Saad Ershad in Jatiya Party and expects him as the future chief of the party, the sources added.

In addition, Bidisha Siddiqui is going to be a cause of ‘headache’ for the party ahead of the national polls as some leaders of the party are also with her, few leaders of the party said.

“In the next election, if the Jatiya Party goes to share parliamentary seats with other major political parties including the ruling Awami League and BNP, then GM Quader may face conflict with Raushon Ershad and Bidisha Siddiqui,” another senior leader of the Jatiya Party said.