Our ministers tarnished my image
Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad yesterday said three of his party leaders tarnished his image by taking up ministerial posts.
The former military ruler made the comment at a time when he himself holds the post of prime minister's special envoy with the status of a cabinet minister.
“Sitting in a jail, I wrote letters to Raushan everyday. I asked her not to take part in the national polls… but she accepted the offer to make party leaders ministers. And that sparked the disaster,” Ershad told a joint meeting of the party grassroots leaders at a convention centre in the city.
“They [ministers] are not in my cabinet; they are in Sheikh Hasina's cabinet. You [party men] have to realise it.”
He warned party leaders and activists of stern action if they did not comply with party decisions.
The meeting was organised to get reactions from party grassroots to the recent changes in party leadership. Ershad last month appointed his younger brother GM Quader as co-chairman and Ruhul Amin Hawlader as general secretary of JP.
Only four out of 40 JP MPs were present in the meeting. Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad boycotted the meeting.
On Sunday, the JP's parliamentary party held a meeting at the Sangsad Bhaban. Later, the lawmakers in a statement said they would not join any party meeting convened by Ershad until he appoints Raushan as co-chairman-1.
Speaking at the joint meeting, the PM's special envoy said he did not make Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu party secretary general. “Bablu became the secretary general. For me, it was not easy to remove him. I did not have the strength.”
“Those who want to take my seat have grown old. Please leave the seat for the younger generation,” Ershad told the meeting.
About his decision on the new leadership, he said he would not change the decision as long as he is alive.
Newly appointed JP Co-chairman GM Quader said the upcoming union parishad polls will be a “test exam” for the JP. The party will sit the final exam after assessing the results of the UP polls, he added.
Hasan Sheraj, general secretary of Magura district JP, said although the BNP is not in parliament, it has a big vote bank. “If we want to be a real opposition party, we have to quit the cabinet immediately to sway the voters in our favour,” he noted.
Grassroots leaders expressed their support for Ershad's decision on party leadership and suggested that the party leaders should quit the cabinet to play the role of a real opposition party.
They also urged Ershad to step down from the post of prime minister's special envoy.