Infighting keeps JP’s future fragile

Mohammad Al Amin

10 September, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Though it seems that the dust has settled over infighting in the opposition Jatiya Party (JP) following a a consensus over some organizational issues, but reliable sources said that internal conflict continued and could divide the party into two factions – one led by GM Quader and the other by Raushan Ershad.

“The internal conflict has been resolved temporarily through give and take process as GM Quader will run the party as its chairman and Raushan Ershad will remain be the opposition leader in parliament replacing her late husband and party founder General HM Ershad. However, the dust is yet to settle and it is still divided into two groups,” a JP presidium member told the daily sun requesting anonymity.

The leader, who is a supporter of GM Quader, added “We have been compelled to reach a consensus. We are under pressure from top level and from outside the country.”

Talking to the daily sun, another leader who is loyal to Raushan Ershad, said they were yet to accept GM Quader to run the party as its chairman. “We hope the party’s chairman will be changed through next national council session of the Party. You will see a surprise in selecting leadership of the party.”

Talking to reporters at the party’s Banani office in the capital, JP chairman GM Quader on Monday said “There is no difference of opinion inside our party. Problems have been solved through understanding. We are unitedly working to make our party strong and to take it to power in the next polls.”

He said they have nominated Rahgir Al-Mahe Ershad alias Shadd Ershad to contest the Rangpur 3 by-polls. Jatiya Party secretary general Moshiur Rahman Ranga told this correspondent that they will amend the party charter to curtail the absolute power of its chairman. “We will amend the party charter in our general meeting as the article 20 of the party constitution has given absolute power to the chairman.”

He said the party’s national council session scheduled to be held on November 30 may be deferred as new committees of many district units have not been formed yet.

Jatiya Party insiders said though the party has survived a major split but it was temporary as the party’s two big groups are not united yet and were working to gain support for their sides.

“The party may split again. It is just a matter of time. This time both groups have been compelled to reach the consensus. But the party’s future is uncertain,” said another central leader of the Jatiya Party.

Leaders of the two groups of JP reached a consensus over the party leadership at a meeting on September 7 night, saving the party from a likely split amid high drama.

Four leaders of Raushan Ershad group and four leaders from GM Quader group sat in the meeting at Baridhara Cosmopolitan Club in Baridhara area of the capital to resolve their conflict and come to an understanding over the party leadership.

Both groups decided that Raushan Ershad would become the leader of the opposition in parliament while GM Quader would lead the party until next council, said JP presidium member SM Faysal Chishti.

The meeting also decided that Shad Ershad would be the candidate for Rangpur-3 by-election scheduled for October 5, he added.

Earlier, Jatiya Party was very close to a split on September 5 as the faction backing Raushan Ershad, the senior co-chairman and Ershad’s widow, declared her as JP’s new chairman asked the sitting chairman and the former president’s younger brother, GM Quader, to take charge as the co-chairman.

On the other hand in a separate press conference the same day, GM Quader remained adamant, saying he was the chairman as per the party’s charter and would take action against the leaders of Raushan group for violating the party discipline.

GM Quader at another press conference on September 7 announced that they will hold the party’s national council session on November 30 to elect the party’s leader.

The Party’s difference of opinions came to the spotlight once again as Jatiya Party senior co-chairman Raushan Ershad on September 4 wrote to the Speaker not to accept the letter of GM Quader sent to her on September 3 for officially recognising him as the leader of the opposition in parliament.

At a meeting of Jatiya Party Parliamentary Board at the Sangsad Bhaban on September 8, Raushon Ershad was selected as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. The  Jatiya Sangsad speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury on Monday issued a notification making Raushan Ershad the leader of the opposition party in the parliament and GM Quader the deputy leader.