Main opposition in parliament Jatiya Party is in a fix over contesting the next parliamentary elections slated for 2023.
Party insiders said top leaders of the party have already been divided into two groups over the poll strategy.
A Jatiya Party leader wishing not to be named said the party now become a ‘B Team’ of the ruling Awami League. “We want to eliminate the bad name, earned by extending blind support to the Awami League”.
Asked whether the Jatiya Party will participate in the next parliamentary election under an alliance, Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader, also deputy leader of the opposition in parliament, said they would take the final decision in this regard analysing the country’s ‘very last’ political situation.
“In the current political context of this subcontinent, no political party can do anything without participating in elections under an alliance. We will take the final decision based on the very last political situation,” he told the Daily Sun.
The 11th parliamentary elections were held on December 30 in 2018. Out of 300 parliamentary seats, Awami League bagged 258 seats, Hussein Muhammad Ershad-led Jatiya Party secured 22 seats while BNP got just five seats. Some other tiny political parties shared the rest of the seats.
Asked about the poll preparations, GM Quader said they have already started preparations for participating in the next parliamentary elections.
He said they already sent letters to some leaders choosing them as possible candidates of the party to contest the next parliamentary elections.
“We have also given a green signal to leaders in few seats where our party candidates either didn’t contest the previous polls or the party has no suitable leadership,” the Jatiya Party chief said. He said they asked the party’s different units, including district and upazila level units and its front and associate organisations, to form new committees by March 31, 2022.
“After reorganising the party, we will start holding rallies across the country to drum up public support and to revamp our party men,” he added.
The Jatiya Party became the main opposition in parliament after the January 5, 2014 elections, which were boycotted by the BNP-led 20-party alliance. The party won 34 seats and its senior leader Raushan Ershad was recognised as the leader of the opposition. Three Jatiya Party MPs were also inducted in that cabinet.
Talking to the Daily Sun, some Jatiya Party leaders said they have lost their popularity and organisational strength due to dependence on Awami League in the last two general elections as many people brand them as agent of the ruling party.
In this situation, the party leaders are divided into two groups--one group wants to participate in the next polls alone while another group wants to participate in the polls under the alliance.
Talking to the Daily Sun about the party’s election preparation, Jatiya Party Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu said if they could strengthen their organisation and get competent candidates, then they would field candidates in all the 300 constituencies in the next general elections.
“We have sent letters to around 50-60 possible candidates to work in their respective parliamentary seats ahead of the next national polls. Besides, we are now preparing a set of our programmes to carry out our election campaign across the country. Such campaign will start at beginning of the next year,” he added.
Chunnu claimed they are now playing a role as opposition in parliament and are not in any alliance too and they also have no plan to join any alliance in the next.
Ahead of the 11th parliament election, Jatiya Party in May, 2017 had formed a political combine, namely United National Alliance under its founding chairman HM Ershad. The former chairman of the Jatiya Party HM Ershad, who passed away on July 14 in 2019, had announced the political alliance of 58 political parties of the country.
The United National Alliance comprises two political parties -- JP (Ershad) and Bangladesh Islami Front led by MA Mannan and components of two alliances –Jatiya Islami Mahajote led by Abu Naser Wahed Faruk and Bangladesh National Alliance (BNA) led by Sekender Ali Moni.
“Actually, it was our election alliance. The political coalition was dissolved automatically after the 11th parliamentary polls,” Mujibul Haque Chunnu said.
The party insiders said it may face trouble from inside centring the next general election as Jatiya Party is already divided into two factions internally-one is leading by GM Quader and another faction is leading by Raushan Ershad, chief patron of the party and leader of the opposition in parliament.
The party is likely to face conflict over choosing candidates and finalising its political strategies, including over the involvement with any other major political party or coalition to participate in the national polls, the sources added.
On December 28, 2019, Raushan Ershad, widow of Jatiya Party founder HM Ershad, was elected as the chief patron of the party during its national council for the next three years. And GM Quader was elected as chairman of the party unopposed while Moshiur Rahman Ranga was secretary general.
After the demise of HM Ershad on July 14, 2019, both Raushan and Quader were at loggerheads over who would become the Jatiya Party chairman and leader of the opposition.