Conflict escalates over picking opposition leader in Parliament
The confrontation which was prevailing inside Jatiya Party (JaPa) for the last one and a half months has escalated further yesterday with the announcement of making HM Ershad’s widow Raushon Ershad its chairperson.
While Ershad was alive, the party was divided into two: one was pro-Ershad, and the other pro-Raushon. After Ershad’s death, his followers became known as pro-GM Quader. But they repeatedly said that there was no fraction inside the party.
The confrontation took a serious turn when GM Quader sent a letter to the Speaker of the parliament to take steps for announcing him the opposition party leader in the house on September 3.
Following the letter, Raushon also sent a letter to the Speaker demanding the announcement of declaring her as the opposition leader of the parliament.
While the conflict was growing among the two factions of JaPa, a group of leaders in a press briefing held at Raushon’s Gulshan residence yesterday announced her as its chairperson, making it clear that the party has two factions.
Party’s senior presidium member Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud came up with the announcement in her presence.
“Raushon Ershad will discharge the responsibilities of Jatiya Party Chairman. A permanent chairman of the party will be appointed in a democratic manner through a council by the next six months,” he said.
Anisul alleged, GM Quader was announced as Jatiya Party chairman violating the party constitution.
He also announced that lawmaker Mashiur Rahman Ranga will work as the party secretary general.
Anisul, citing the party constitution, said: “According to the sub-article 2(ka) of article 20, the senior co-chairman-1 would be the chairman after the death of the existing chairman.”
Later, Raushon urged the leaders of the other faction to join her.
However, hours after the briefing, GM Quader, who was announced chairman just four days after the death of the party founder, dismissed the claim saying he was selected as chairman by Ershad himself.
“He [HM Ershad] had declared me as the chairman of Jatiya Party in front of the media. At the same time, all presidium members congratulated me for assuming the post of party chairman in the first presidium meeting after his demise,” Kader added.
“Apart from that, 15 parliamentarians from the party have made their decision on electing the Opposition Leader of the House, and a letter was sent to the Speaker based on that decision. All these decisions were taken democratically as per the party’s constitution,” he said.
"Action will be taken against those who are involved in violating party discipline,” he added.
According to the JaPa party constitution, the chairman holds the ultimate power of taking any decision. However, before his demise, Ershad expressed his wish to see his party running in a democratic way, and urged all to elect GM Quader as their next leader.
Quader said if there is any confusion over electing the party chairman, according to article 38 of the party constitution, the decision from the party chairman would be the final one.
He said Raushon Ershad is like my mother, and she herself did not say that she is the chairman. He believed that Raushon would not do anything that would decrease his honour.
JaPa's press secretary and JaPa Presidium Member, Sunil Shuvo Roy said: “The person who has the support of a majority of MPs will be elected head of the opposition.”
We took the signatures of 15 MPs, and gave a letter to the speaker to appoint GM Quader as head of the opposition, he added.
Meanwhile, pro-Raushon followers have submitted a letter to the Election Commission urging them not to allow any letter carrying the signature of anyone other than Raushon. The factions leaders confirmed that some 13 lawmakers have signed the letter.
EC sources said GM Quader also sent a similar letter to EC a few days back.
Where is Ranga?
The secretary general of the party Md Mashiur Rahman Ranga was not present in any of the press conferences.
Anusul claimed that Ranga was with them. At the same time, GM Quader said, Ranga could not attend the briefing as he was in another meeting. He also claimed that Ranga is with the leaders who are the actual followers of Ershad.
Sunil Shuvo Roy said he heard that Ranga was attending a meeting of the road safety council in the ministry.
A party insider said Ranga might not join any of the party as he is observing the situation, and might join the group who will be in a stronger position.