Since 2014, Jatiya Party (JaPa)'s political presence has been limited to being the main opposition party in the national parliament, and having four ministers in the cabinet.
But JaPa wants to step out of this enfeebled status and present themselves as a viable opposition party by protesting against the government in the parliament and on the streets.
The opposition party and other political powers have complained that JaPa has failed to establish itself as an active opposition. Senior Co-Chairman of JaPa Raushan Ershad has admitted to this fact, saying: "The MPs of JaPa cannot introduce themselves as the opposition. They are ashamed to talk to journalists, as they [journalists] want to know whether we are the ruling or the opposition party."
Raushan has also demanded of the government to either remove or keep her party's members as ministers. Two days after this, JaPa Chairman HM Ershad announced that the three JaPa MPs would resign from the cabinet.
After BNP's rejection of the January 5, 2014 election, Jatiya Party took part in the 10th election as the main opposition party, and later joined the government as well. Three leaders of the party joined the cabinet, and HM Ershad was deployed as a special envoy to the prime minister.
Several JaPa presidium members have said that, even though JaPa has been in the national parliament for the last four years, they have failed to represent themselves as an opposition party. None of the members of JaPa paid heed to the party chairman when he ordered them to resign from their posts in the cabinet. Even the chairman himself did not resign from his post as the special envoy. However, as always, Ershad declined to comment on these matters.
According to GM Quader, the co-chairman of JaPa, the members of JaPa should have resigned from the cabinet much earlier. But he did not comment on why the members had failed to resign before.
A reputed detective agency has claimed that this was not the first time Ershad had asked his party members to resign. However, these decisions are only made to create a political panic. With the election ahead, JaPa can either join BNP if the latter participates, or go it alone if it does not.
According to the detective agency, JaPa became mollified after hearing Raushan Ershad's comments on the resignation of the party members. But higher levels of the government are not worried about it; as several government affiliated parties are aspiring to be ministers, higher echelons of the government are supporting Raushan Ershad's decision.
While speaking on this issue, JaPa leader and Deputy Minister of Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu said: "Any decision taken by the party is the final decision. I do not have any personal opinion about it."
When asked about resignation of his post as a minister, Chunnu replied: "I do not know why the party chairman or the co-chairman has made this decision. Since it does not fall under my jurisdiction, I did not even ask them about it."
Secretary General of JaPa Ruhul Amin Howlader was unreachable for a comment on the issue.
A party presidium member and a member of the parliament thinks that people are confused whether JaPa is actually an opposition party or not. But it is true that JaPa is neither the ruling nor the opposition party. Now, in the election year, JaPa wants to move ahead with the combined strength of being in the government and the opposition party at the same time.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com