This politician’s party-hopping may be unique in Bangladesh’s history
Abdur Rashid Sarker, a Jatiya Party leader from Gaibandha, suddenly joined BNP just before the general election. After an unsuccessful bid at office with the BNP ticket, he announced on Mondaythat he had returned to his previous position with JaPa.
Switching allegiances is nothing new in Bangladeshi politics, but Rashid’s somersault is unique in many ways.
In a press conference at his home in Gaibandha town’s College Road, Rashid told reporters: “I am still a Presidium member of the party and the president of the district committee.”
Rashid vied for the parliamentary seat of Gaibandha 2 as the BNP candidate.
“I was frustrated and upset when Jatiya Party did not nominate me for the national election. Then BNP offered me their nomination,” he said by way of explaining why he had made the sudden switch.
The BNP suffered a crushing defeat in the election, gaining only five seats, whereas JaPa earned 20 seats.
But when he was nominated, the local BNP unit became jealous of Rashid and conspired against him, the politician claimed.
“At one point they set fire to their own local party office and tried to put blame on another party. I got no cooperation from these people. None of the BNP leaders and activists took part in campaigns,” he said.
“The local BNP has lost its image due to infighting and jealousy. The 68,670 votes that I got are purely due to my clean image and people’s love for me,
“For these reasons I will have nothing more to do with the BNP. I will continue to lead the district JaPa unit as per the orders of the chairman and secretary general,” he added.
Rashid claimed JaPa Chairman HM Ershad and Secretary General Moshiur Rahman Ranga had asked him to continue in his former position.
Local JaPa leaders were present at the press briefing.
Abdur Rashid Sarker was elected MP from the Jatiya Party in 1991 and 1996, and has been in charge of the local party unit for decades. He has also held other public offices, including the office of the Gaibandha municipal chairman.
In the 11th general election, which was held on December 30, Rashid lost to Awami League candidate Mahabub Ara Begum Gini, who got 189,617 votes.