The lingering crisis in the opposition Jatiya Party (JP) over a number of issues, including its final successor to late chairman --- former president Hussain Muhhamad Ershad ---, has further aggravated and well-placed inside sources said the party was likely to split into two factions.
Party insiders said the JP has seen many dramas of choosing Ershad’s successor as the former military dictator’s health situation worsened and the internal conflict became public.The internal feud over party leadership took a serious turn when Ershad recently nominated his younger brother, GM Quader, as the acting chairman of the party and his successor. The decision was rejected by his estranged wife Raushan Ershad and her followers, the sources said.
Talking to the daily sun, one JP 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 do not accept GM Quader as Ershad’s successor.”
About the future of the party, one of the former close aides to Ershad said, “It is a matter of time for the internal conflict to take a serious turn in the absence of Ershad, who died on Sunday. The party’s next leadership will be decided now. It is likely to split into two factions— GM Quader faction and Raushan Ershad faction.”
He further said, “GM Quader has lost his image inside the party by hurriedly taking the responsibility of the party’s acting chairman and not showing courtesy by asking others about the decision. But, the internal conflict widened since then and likely to turn serious now.”
Asked about internal conflict and situation inside the party, its presidium member ABM Ruhul Amin Howlader, also former secretary general of the JP, told the daily sun, “I’m away from politics for a few days to meet family needs. But for me, HM Ershad will will always be my leader.”
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. Raushan Ershad is currently deputy leader of the opposition in parliament.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.
“The internal conflict and divisions have been surfaced. The party has become weak due to the internal feuds. Party activists now worried about its future,” another presidium member of the JP said.
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 and Mujib-ul-Haque Chunnu, are under the umbrellah 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.
Another presidium member of the party, on condition of not to be named, said, “Jatiya Party’s future is uncertain as most of the top leaders, including a number of presidium members led by Raushan Ershad, may revolt against GM Quader. They also may declare GM Quader persona-non-grata in the party.”
He claimed that GM Quader won’t be able to run the party as its chief for long as most of its senior leaders are against him. “Now, the senior leaders are counting time. They will take a decision soon.”
However, talking to daily sun those are followers of GM Quader said most of the party leaders and activists particularly the grassroots leaders and activists want him as the Ershad’s successor and as leader of the opposition in parliament.
Former President and opposition Jatiya Party chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad passed away Sunday at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka and is scheduled to be buried today.