Rift between Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader and the party’s chief patron Raushan Ershad became evident yesterday again, after Raushan “appointed” 16 JP leaders including her son Saad Ershad to different top-level posts of the party.
In a press release sent to the media, Raushan -- also leader of the opposition in the parliament -- said she appointed Saad and MA Sattar as the party’s co-chairmen.
She also included 11 others -- including Maj (retd) Khaled Akhter, Delowar Hossain, Raushan Ara Mannan and Mahjabeen Morshed -- in the JP presidium body, and gave Amanat Hossain and Md Yahiya the JP vice chairman posts.
Claiming that it was as per the power bestowed on her in the party’s December 28 council, Raushan yesterday also appointed Jashim Uddin Buiyan and Rejaul Karim as the party’s joint secretary generals.
Immediately after Raushan’s press release, Delowar Jalali, deputy press secretary of JP chairman GM Quader, in a counter release called upon all to ignore the one Raushan had sent.
Urging media not to publish the “confusing news”, Delowar said Raushan has no jurisdiction, according to the party charter, to appoint any leaders to any party post.
He also said it is the party chairman who has the authority to do so.
GM Quader, younger brother of Ershad, did not respond to requests for comments over phone, despite several attempts.
The Daily Star also could not reach Raushan for her comments.
According to JP insiders, Raushan wanted to bring those deprived leaders by her side by giving them posts in the party.
A JP leader who Raushan included in the presidium body last night told this correspondent that he was not aware of his post.
“Through media, I came to know that I was made the JP presidium member,” said the leader, a close relative of late founding chairman of the party HM Ershad.
“Raushan madam’s latest move is a clear indication that rivalry between her and GM Quader has become open, which will definitely harm the party,” he also said.
Party insiders said a section of JP leaders are backing Raushan to pit her against Quader to make Raushan the party’s chairperson and tighten their grip in the party. This correspondent, however, could not reach them for comments despite repeated phone calls to their mobile phones.
Raushan Ershad, who was made JP’s chief patron at the party’s ninth council on December 28, skipped the council as “she was unhappy with her new post”, said insiders.
Raushan, widow of HM Ershad, was elected for the top -- albeit ornamental -- post unopposed.
GM Quader was elected chairman of the party unopposed at the council.
Several top leaders close to Raushan told this correspondent Raushan wanted to become the party chairperson in absence of her husband.
“Quader bhai’s move to give her [Raushan] the ceremonial and powerless post didn’t please her,” said a presidium member of the party, wishing anonymity.
Along with the chief patron post, the party during its council also introduced eight new posts of additional secretary general and seven new posts of co-chairperson.
After the council, Quader nominated Anisul Islam Mahmud, Mujibul Haque Chunnu, Ruhul Amin Hawlader, Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu and Kazi Firoz Rashid to the posts of co-chairman in a bid to pacify a section of the party’s top leaders who are loyal to Raushan.
Through this move, the JP chief also wanted to tighten his grip on the party.
“But Raushan’s latest move proved that Anisul, Chunnu, Hawlader and a section of other leaders of the party still remain with Raushan,” said Maj (retd) Khaled Akhter.
After the demise of Ershad on July 14 last year, both Raushan and Quader were at loggerheads over becoming the party chairperson and opposition leader. Later, Quader was declared party chairman, an appointment opposed by Raushan’s faction.
Supporters of Raushan and GM Quader -- after several meetings in September last year -- came to an understanding that Quader would remain the chairperson, while Raushan would be the opposition leader.