Amid rift over the top leadership, HM Ershad’s younger brother GM Quader took the helm of the Jatiya Party yesterday.
Party Secretary General Moshiur Rahman Ranga made this announcement at Jati-ya Party chairman’s Banani office where Quader was present.
Although Quader dismissed that there is any tension inside the party over the leadership, several senior leaders, including Ershad’s wife Raushan Ershad and some lawmakers of the main opposition, were not present there.
Party insiders said senior JP leaders, including senior co-chairperson Raushan, and presidium members Anisul Islam Mahmud, Mujibul Haque Chunnu, Ruhul Amin Hawlader, and Ziauddin Ahmed, did not accept Quader as the party chairman.
Wishing anonymity, a presidium member told this correspondent that party’s pre-sidium members usually picked its chief.
But another presidium member SM Faysal Chisty said Ershad during his illness made Quader as the party’s acting chairman.
“Sir [Ershad] also announced that Quader bhai will be the party chairman in his absence and urged the party men to elect him [Quader] as the party’s next chief in the next council of Jatiya Party,” he said.
“It is normal that Quader bhai will become the party chief as sir [Ershad] is no more,” he added.
Admitting that a section of JP senior leaders has rift with Quader over the party’s top leadership, Faysal said he and some other leaders were trying to reduce the division between the party’s top leaders to unite the party.
“Party’s senior leaders are getting benefits from the party in different ways. But the party’s mid and lower level leaders have been deprived always. We will suffer further, if the party is divided again,” he said.
“Therefore, we have no alternative but to be united.”
At a press conference in the party’s Banani office, Ranga said that before his death, Ershad announced that Quader would be the party chairman in his ab-sence. “So, we’ve decided that GM Quader is our party chairman from toady [yes-terday].”
He also urged journalists to mention Quader as the JP chairman.
Immediately after the announcement, Quader told reporters that there was no conflict or division within their party.
“All of the Jatiya Party leaders and activists are united. We’ll make the party stronger further with the united efforts by turning our grief over the death of Palli Bondhu [Ershad] into strength.”
Asked, he said party’s parliamentary party would decide who would be the leader of the opposition.
JP chairman and leader of the opposition Ershad who died on Sunday was laid to eternal rest on Tuesday at Polli Nibash in his hometown Rangpur where he was a popular political figure for over three decades.
On May 4, former military ruler Ershad made Quader as the party’s acting chair-man. But party insiders said a section of JP senior leaders could not accept that.
On March 22, he removed Quader from the post as he had been under immense pressure from the Raushan faction to do so, party insiders said.
He also relieved Quader of the co-chairman post, saying his brother failed to dis-charge his duties and created divisions within the party.
The following day, Ershad also removed Quader from the post of deputy leader of the opposition.
But around two weeks later, Ershad, known for his flip-flops in politics, reinstated Quader to the post of co-chairman and then again acting chairman of the party.