POST TIME: 16 July, 2019 12:57:18 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 July, 2019 12:26:12 PM
Experts see ‘existential crisis’ for JP following Ershad’s demise
GM Quader bins views of political analysts
Abu Jakir, Dhaka

Experts see ‘existential crisis’ for JP following Ershad’s demise

The Jatiya Party (JP-Ershad), main opposition in Parliament, is likely to face an existential crisis in the near future following the death of its founder chairman HM Ershad, say some political analysts. They think that the dispute between two groups in the Jatiya Party as well as intra-party feuds will intensify further in the aftermath of the death of Ershad, who passed away on Sunday morning at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka at the age of 89.

With Ershad's wife Raushan Ershad in the forefront, JP senior leaders Anisul Islam Mahmud, Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu, Ruhul Amin Hawlader, Kazi Feroz Rashid, and Fakhrul Imam are leading one group, while Ershad's younger brother, GM Quader, is leading another. Both sides are now trying to grab the key posts of the party, insiders say.

On April 4, Ershad had reinstated Quader as the JP’s co-chairman. Later, on May 4, he announced that Quader would be the party’s chairman in his absence. “I would like to inform JP leaders and activists at all levels, as well as its supporters and well-wishers, that in my absence the party's present co-chairman, GM Quader, will act as the chairman of the party,” Ershad told his followers.

Political analyst Prof. Nehal Karim told this correspondent: “Neither Raushan Ershad nor GM Quader has the personality or the intellectual capability of HM Ershad. And most of the party’s leaders and workers are opportunists. So, I think, the party will not survive in the long run.”

Karim, head of the sociology department of Dhaka University, described HM Ershad as a sophisticated person.

He said the JP founder could have made his party stronger, but was blackmailed by different political party chiefs at different times. He had been imprisoned at different times during his life, he added.

Giving many examples of Ershad’s development works, Karim said most of the country’s development projects had been executed during his rule.

When contacted, political analyst and renowned columnist Prof. Serajul Islam Chowdhury said the JP was centred on HM Ershad. Although Ershad had announced GM Quader as his successor, he (Quader) did not have the ability to lead the party, he felt. “The JP will be in an existential crisis due to its internal conflict. So I don’t see any future for the party following its founder’s demise,” he added.

JP chairman GM Quader, however, brushed aside the political analysts’ apprehensions regarding his party. He said the JP will exist as long as the existence Bangladesh as the party’s roots run very deep. The party has tens of

thousands leaders and workers across the country, he added. “I don’t see anything wrong with the JP. There is no intra-party feud or crisis. Yes, there are some disputes among the party leaders, but I hope I will be able to resolve the crisis through discussions,” he said.

Replying to a question, Quader said: “I think party leaders and workers will support me in leading the party and will accept my leadership.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior JP leader said the party’s new leader should be decided by the party forum and grass-roots leaders. “Although we always support our chairman’s decisions, I want to say that the JP is not the property of any particular family. We want competent leaders at the party’s key posts,” he added.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, JP leaders got involved in a conflict over forming a district committee of the party in front of GM Quader, who was preparing to brief the media about Ershad’s health condition at the party Banani office.

When JP presidium member SM Faisal Chisti accused GM Quader of creating pocket committees, some leaders got involved in a scuffle at the party’s Banani office on that day. Intervention by GM Quader and other top leaders of the party brought the situation under control.