Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ershad’s Jatiya Party facing split as Raushon, GM Quader tussle for reins

  • Joyanta Saha, Moinul Hoque Chowdhury, Sajidul Haque, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-09-06 05:43:26 BdST

The Jatiya Party HM Ershad had formed by usurping power is on the cusp of suffering yet another split – this time after his death, over an escalating power struggle between his widow Raushon Ershad and brother GM Quader.

With no sign of the dispute ending anytime soon after the deposed military dictator died in July, the rift widened recently over the party’s nomination for by-polls to Rangpur-3, vacated following the death of Ershad.

It heightened on Wednesday when Raushon and her supporters declared illegal Quader’s letter sent to the speaker on Tuesday seeking to succeed Ershad as the leader of the official opposition in parliament.

Named as acting chairman by Ershad before his death, Quader claims to have support of the majority leaders in the Jatiya Party Parliamentary Party, but Raushon and leaders loyal to her do not agree.

The faction led by Raushon declared her chief on Thursday, drawing threat of retaliatory action from Quader.

CONCERNS

The party formed in 1986 had fragmented into splinter groups previously.

In 1996, the then secretary general Anwar Hossain Manju broke away to form another party.

The next secretary general, Naziur Rahman Manju, also parted ways woth Ershad.

Another secretary general, Kazi Zafar, led the other split.

Ershad had kept control of the main faction all the time, but he struggled to take care of the rift inside his family.

With hin gone, signs of concerns were visible in the faces of the leaders and activists who appeared before the media with Raushon or Quader.

“We won’t let the party split,” a group of activists shouted the slogan outside Raushon’s Gulshan residence and the party’s Banani office, where Quader talked to the media, during the briefings.

Raushon acknowledged the fears. “The party is worried. What’s happening in the party? The Jatiya Party had suffered splits earlier. Will it happen again now?” she asked.

Describing Raushon as a 'mother figure' to him, Quader hoped she would not do anything that would undermine her own dignity.

CONFUSION OVER RANGA’S POSITION

Secretary General Mashiur Rahman Ranga has been seen with Quader in the press conferences and party meetings after Ershad’s death.

It was Ranga who had announced Quader's appointment as chief.

But on Thursday, Raushon’s supporters said Ranga had promised them he would attend her press briefing.

Ranga, a transport owners’ leader, however, was busy attending a meeting of the road transport authority.

Presidium member SM Faisal Chishty, who was with Raushon, claimed Ranga had pledged his support to their camp.

Another Presidium member, Anisul Islam Mahmud, said Ranga remains the secretary general with Raushon as chairperson.

Quader appeared a bit surprised on hearing about Ranga.

“I must know first what he said,” Quader told reporters.

The secretary general could not be reached for comments as he did not take calls.

Ershad, known for changing decisions every now and then, had reinstalled him as secretary general after expulsion more than once.