The ouster of GM Quader from Jatiya Party post and as deputy opposition leader in parliament is the fallout of a feud over the control of the party in absence of its chairman HM Ershad, observe party insiders.
They said the dispute over who will be the successor of Ershad has been raging on for a few years, but it has deepened now as the former military strongman’s health is falling and that he looks unable to run the party.
Ershad’s wife Raushon seems to have won this round as in the past, successfully blocking the chairman’s another bid to make his younger brother his successor. “She has regained full control of the party with the latest developments,” a party leader, who declined to be named, told UNB.
Since Jatiya Party chairman holds the absolute power to take any party decision, he said Raushon and some senior leaders, loyal to her, were worried over their future in the party if GM Quader becomes Jatiya Party chief in case of anything bad happens to Ershad, prompting them to influence Ershad to remove GM Quader from the post of cochairman and withdraw his announcement that his brother will be his successor.
Some party leaders, close to Raushon, hinted that Jatiya Party secretary general Moshiur Rahman Ranga may also be replaced with any other leader, loyal to her, if he fails to convince Raushon that he will be able to protect her interests.
Ershad, the maverick former military ruler, known for frequently changing his decisions, sacked his brother from the party post of cochairman on Friday night saying in a statement that Quader failed to run the party and created divisions in it.
In another statement on Saturday, Ershad also removed GM Quader from the post of deputy leader and replaced him with Raushon.
With 90-year-old HM Ershad at the helm, the Jatiya party has been playing the role of the main opposition in parliament since 2014.
Raushon had established her control over the party before the 10th parliamentary election in 2013 taking a stance against Ershad’s decision of boycotting the national election, and subsequently she played the role of leader of the opposition in the House in the last parliament.
But Ershad regained his control over the party before the December-30 general election and became the leader of the opposition in the current parliament.
Ershad had also picked his brother to run the party in his absence on January 1 last and appointed Quader as the deputy leader of opposition three days later.
In a similar bid on January 18, 2016, the Jatiya Party Chairman tried to install Quader as his successor by making him as party cochairman.
But later, he had to appoint Raushon senior cochairman amid serious resentment among party influential leaders over the promotion of Quader.
Raushon had got silent since Ershad restored his supremacy in the party. “But she and her followers recently became active again as there’s no sign of improvement in Ershad’s falling health condition,” said a party presidium member.
He said some senior party leaders, including Anisul Islam Mahmud, Ruhul Amin Hawlader and Mujib-ul-Haque Chunnu, played the main role in convincing Ershad that the party will face split and trouble if Quader is not removed from the leadership.
The Jatiya Party leader also said influential leaders like Anisul, Hawladar, Chunnu and Kazi Firoz Rashid were unhappy with Ershad’s decision of making Quader deputy opposition leader and party acting chairman.
“The government also wanted Raushon to get back her supremacy in the party since it doesn’t keep trust in Quader for some reasons,” he added.
Contacted, GM Quader termed the recent move against him mysterious, and he believes his brother was forced to take the actions against him under pressure by some party senior leaders who oppose him.
“I know four-five leaders took the move in their own interest and harm the party,” he said.
Quader said he met his brother on Saturday night and talked over the matter. “He told me to have patience as everything will be OK in due time.”
About Ershad’s health condition, he said his brother is still unable to move independently and speak properly as he has been suffering from some health complications.
Jatiya Party presidium member Kazi Firoz Rashid said he is not aware of the reason behind the latest development in the party. “We think our chairman has taken the move in the interest of the party and we all the leaders and activists will obey his decision. I think no one played any role in persuading Ershad to take the decision.”
He, however, said GM Quader could not demonstrate his leadership and play his due role during the general election.
Party secretary general Moshiur Rahman Ranga and some other leaders declined to make any comment over the matter while Raushon could not be reached over phone for her comments.