Internal division over leadership widens in Jatiya Party as its Chairman HM Ershad has nominated his wife Raushan Ershad for deputy leader of the opposition, removing his younger brother GM Quader from the post.
Ershad, known as an unpredictable character in the country's political arena for his flip-flops on key issues, made the decision public in a statement yesterday, less than 18 hours after he relieved Quader from the JP co-chairman's post.
In a statement issued around 11:00pm on Friday, the former military ruler said he relieved Quader from the party post for failing to discharge his duties and creating divisions in the party.
He, however, stated that the JP Parliamentary Party would decide whether Quader would continue as deputy From page 1
leader of the opposition.
Ershad, also leader of the opposition, in another statement around 5:00pm yesterday said he removed Quader from the parliamentary post as per section 20/1/Ka of the party charter.
The section stipulates that the JP chairman can make any party decision on his own.
Talking to The Daily Star last night, Quader, who was made JP co-chairman in January 2016, said he was not aware of the party chief's latest decision.
“On Thursday night, HM Ershad praised me for my leadership. He also blessed me for being successful.”
The JP leader said he never asked his brother to make him the deputy leader of the opposition as he was not interested in the post.
Sources said Quader was deeply disappointed and felt humiliated by the allegations brought against him that he has failed to discharge his duties.
JP sources said such flip-flops by the party chairman were creating divisions and confusion among the party leadership and ultimately weakening the party.
Ershad, who turned 90 last week, is almost inactive in the party as he has been suffering from multiple old age complications for the last six months.
He joined only one Jatiya Sangsad sitting out of 26 of the recently concluded maiden session of the 11th parliament.
Sources close to Quader, presidium member of the JP, said a section of top party leaders, including Anisul Islam Mahmud, Ruhul Amin Hawlader and Mujib-ul-Haque Chunnu, have convinced Ershad to make the latest decisions.
JP insiders said the government also backed Ershad's latest move.
Anisul and Chunnu, former ministers in Sheikh Hasina's immediate past government, are considered close to the incumbent government.
Raushan, repeatedly praised by the government for her “responsible role” as the opposition leader in last parliament, is also considered close to the ruling Awami League.
Differences developed between Quader and the three JP presidium members (Anisul, Hawladar and Chunnu) after Quader was made deputy leader of the opposition and given the charge of the JP acting chairman.
A JP presidium member said, “The government prefers Raushan Ershad [opposition leader in the last parliament] to Quader Bhai. A section of top party leaders can use madam [Raushan] to run the organisation as they wanted to as she can be easily convinced.”
“If Quader bhai remained in his post, it would not have been possible for them to run the party as they wanted to,” he told this correspondent on condition of anonymity.
Another top JP leader said Quader wanted to turn the party into a “real opposition party” in and outside parliament. “But the leaders loyal to the government did not want this and the government supported their move to remove him [Quader].”
Contacted, Hawlader refuted the allegation of convincing Ershad of making the latest decisions.
“I met the chairman yesterday [Friday] for 10 minutes. It appeared to me that he is still active in party politics and takes every decision correctly for its interests. We all have to accept his decisions,” he told The Daily Star.
Despite repeated attempts, this newspaper could not reach Anisul and Chunnu over the phone for comments.
CHANGES IN TOP LEADERSHIP
On December 3 last year, the JP chief had removed Hawlader as party secretary general. Much to the surprise of many in the party, then state minister for LGRD Moshiur Rahman Ranga was picked for the post.
Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu was made JP secretary general in mid-2014. Ershad removed him from the post on January 19, 2016. He was replaced by Hawladar.
The JP took part in the December 30 parliamentary polls as a key partner of the AL-led Grand Alliance and won 22 seats.