Ranga said Jatiya Party stands united
Jatiya Party (JaPa), the main opposition in the 11th parliament, has apparently managed to avert a crisis that had reared its ugly head due to a power struggle within the leadership, following the death of its founder HM Ershad.
From now on, Ershad’s younger brother GM Quader will continue representing JaPa as its chairman, and the late military dictator’s widow Raushon Ershad will serve as the opposition leader in parliament.
The party’s Secretary General Md Mashiur Rahman Ranga made the announcement on Sunday at a press conference held at the party chairman's Banani office in Dhaka.
He said the decisions were made at a meeting between JaPa leaders of both factions, held on Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan Club in Dhaka’s Baridhara, in order to settle the dispute over party chairmanship.
"Until the next party council on November 30, GM Quader will continue as the party chairman, in line with the directives of late party chief HM Ershad, who had nominated Quader to carry out the duties in his absence,” Ranga said.
"Meanwhile, Raushon Ershad will be the opposition leader in parliament, and she will decide who is going to be the deputy leader, and chief whip,” he added.
He said that JaPa would write to the speaker of the House soon to declare Raushon as the opposition leader. “This may happen during the current session or the next.”
The fourth session of the 11th parliament started on Sunday, and will continue until Thursday.
"The party remains united. There is no chance for any fission within the party. We have decided everything in the meeting last night [Saturday]," said Ranga, who is also the MP of Rangpur 1 constituency – a JaPa stronghold.
Following the death of Ershad in July, there has been a rift between Raushon and Quader over the party leadership, and the post of opposition leader in the parliament.
The confrontation took a serious turn when Quader on September 3 sent a letter to the speaker of the parliament to take steps to declare him as the opposition leader.
The next day, Raushon sent another letter to the speaker making the same demand.
The conflict intensified when a group of pro-Raushon leaders at a press briefing last Thursday announced her as the JaPa chairperson.
However, several hours later, Quader, who was announced JaPa chairman four days after Ershad’s death, dismissed the claim saying he was made chairman by Ershad himself.
On Saturday afternoon, Quader as the chairman also announced that JaPa will hold its National Council on November 30.
Rangpur 3 by-polls
The Rangpur 3 constituency had fallen vacant after HM Ershad’s death. The Election Commission has announced that the by-election to the seat will be held on October 5.
Raushon had wanted Rahgir Al Mahi alias Saad Ershad, her and Ershad’s eldest son, to be a candidatefor that seat.
JaPa Secretary General Ranga, during Sunday morning’s press briefing said: "Some leaders were in favour of Saad being the candidate, and some against it, in the meeting [on Saturday]. But at the end, the chairman, and I have been given the responsibility by all leaders to settle the matter.
“GM Quader will choose the Jatiya Party candidate for the by-election to the Rangpur 3 constituency."
However, later in the afternoon, Ranga told reporters that they have decided to nominate Saad as the JaPa candidate in the Rangpur 3 by-polls.
Yesterday, JaPa leader Ranga said that even though some leaders made public statements over the party’s internal issues, they would not take any step against them for violating party rules as both sides had reached an agreement through Saturday night’s meeting.
“I tried hard over the last three days to come up with a solution to the dispute over chairmanship. Now I can say that I have been successful,” he added.
“The party’s National Council will be held on November 30. Tenures of some committees have expired, and some still doesn’t have full committees. After we take care of them, the council will be held on schedule.”
However, after Ranga’s press briefing, a group of leaders and activists who support Quader, protested yesterday afternoon the idea of two leaders leading JaPa on different fronts.
According to them, the meeting that reached an agreement between the two factions was a “drama.” They do not want different leaders in and outside the parliament.
Their protest, outside the party chairman’s office in Banani, had lasted a little over 30 minutes.