Give me 70 seats | Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:02 AM, April 16, 2018

Give me 70 seats

Ershad threatens to take JP in polls alone if ruling alliance did not budge

Jatiya Party chief HM Ershad has said his party must be allowed to contest the next parliamentary polls in 70 constituencies with no ruling alliance opponents and subsequently hold 10 to 12 posts in the cabinet subject to victory.

Otherwise, the current main opposition in parliament having one minister and two state ministers in the Sheikh Hasina-led cabinet, would run separately in the elections.

Ershad, who is also a special envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said this while talking to reporters at Rangpur Circuit House on Saturday.

The JP boss who started JP's election campaign from Sylhet in February has been saying that they would bat in all 300 constituencies as the party is gaining trust and popularity.

On Saturday, Ershad, who is popularly known as an unpredictable character in politics for his flip-flops, demanded 70 seats including 22 in greater Rangpur Division from the ruling AL.

“The Jatiya Party will also have to be given the charge of 10 to 12 ministries. If Awami League does not meet our demand, we will contest in 300 constituencies and will go to power by winning the next polls,” he said.

Ershad added JP would take part in the election irrespective of whatever decision BNP took to that end.

He said, “Though I was innocent, the government of Khaleda Zia put me in jail without granting me bail for five years. Now, she [Khaleda] is in jail and it reflects the persecution done to me back then.”

Terming the movement for reform in the quota system logical, Ershad said, “It was not logical to completely cancel the quotas. I think the prime minister herself did not want to totally scrap it.

“There is a quota system in the Constitution. It cannot be cancelled by anyone. It is necessary to make some reforms to bring it to a logical level and there should be a quota system for the freedom fighters.”

Ershad expressed the hope that the premier would give a decision to keep some quota for the freedom fighters.

In another rally in Rangpur, the JP chief yesterday said people want change and freedom as they are “living in an unpleasant situation”.

“Incidents of rape and killing are taking place everywhere. There are nepotism and looting all over the country. There is no money in the banks. The executive is not paying any heed to anyone,” he alleged.

Pointing to the PM, Ershad said nothing works without her instruction. “We do not want a one-party rule. We want people's rule. We will have to establish good governance through abolishing bad rule. The opportunity has come this time.”

Ershad also said AL would not come to power if the upcoming election was held in a free and fair manner. 

JP Co-Chairman GM Quader, State Minister for LGRD Moshiur Rahman Ranga, JP Secretary General Ruhul Amin Hawladar, among others, addressed the rally.

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