Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon the Jatiya Party to patch up differences, be united and prepare to take part in the next general election independently.
She said this when JP top leaders Raushan Ershad and GM Quader paid a courtesy call on her at the Gono Bhaban, meeting sources told The Daily Star.
Raushan's son Rahgir Al Mahi Ershad, a JP lawmaker popularly known as Saad Ershad, was also present.
The meeting was held against the backdrop of Opposition Leader Raushan and JP Chairman Quader feuding since late August over establishing supremacy in the party.
JP insiders said the meeting came to pass after the PM moved to resolve their longstanding conflict in a bid to unite and strengthen the main opposition party in parliament.
It was also held two days after the BNP at its December 10 rally announced the resignations of the party lawmakers from parliament.
At the meeting, Raushan assured Hasina the JP under no circumstances would form an alliance with the BNP or Jamaat or support their political programmes, meeting sources said.
"By and large, the prime minister's message was that if Raushan and Quader remain united, it will stand the party in good stead, which will be good for all," a JP leader said.
Pointing to the conflict, Hasina said there are discussions outside that a rift has been deepening between Raushan and Quader. But both the JP leaders denied it.
After around two-hour long meeting followed by lunch, Quader went to the JP chairman's Banani office and met the party's leaders.
After returning to Westin hotel, Raushan shared the meeting experience with her political secretary Golam Moshi and others, said sources close to Raushan, who has been staying there since coming back from Bangkok.
The JP participated in the last national polls in 2018 under the grand alliance led by the ruling Awami League.
Quader has lately been under pressure and "inactive" in the party's affairs since a Dhaka court in October ordered him to refrain from performing any activities regarding his party.
Talking to this correspondent, JP leaders loyal to Quader said yesterday's meeting was part of the government efforts to keep the JP under its control ahead of the next general election.
On November 16, Quader told this paper that efforts were on to control the Jatiya Party in favour of the government.
At yesterday's meeting, it was also discussed that Raushan would remain the opposition leader, meeting sources said.
Earlier, JP Parliamentary Party decided to make Quader the opposition leader, dropping Raushan.
Hasina also urged the JP to join the by-polls to the parliamentary seats that fell vacant following resignations of the BNP MPs, added the sources.
A press release of the PMO said the PM enquired about the health of the opposition leader and exchanged greetings.
She also thanked the Jatiya Party for playing a constructive and positive role in the parliamentary democracy.
The JP leaders said a stable democratic system is in place in the country. The people are getting the benefit of this, and positive changes are being made in every sector, the release said.
The party is committed to helping the democratic and constitutional government system continue, they added.
The fresh conflict between Quader and Raushan, wife of former president and JP founder HM Ershad, started brewing when she suddenly on August 31 convened the party's 10th council for November 26.
Reportedly on the government's advice, Raushan, also chief patron of the JP, later postponed the council.
Sources at the JP said that through the council, pro-Raushan faction had planned to oust Quader, younger brother of Ershad, from the party helm.
Feud between Raushan and Quader started over taking the party helm when Ershad fell sick in early 2019. The conflict reached its peak following his demise in July that year.