Raushon-led Jatiya Party faction ‘won’t contest election’ as rivalry with GM Quader peaks

The chief patron of the party and her followers meet after GM Quader-led faction leaves them out of nomination

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 29 Nov 2023, 06:56 PM
Updated : 29 Nov 2023, 06:56 PM

Raushon Ershad, the chief patron of the Jatiya Party, and leaders loyal to her have decided to not contest the Jan 7 general election, the latest twist in her rivalry with Chairman GM Quader.

She made the announcement after discussing the issue with her followers in a closed-door meeting for nearly two hours at her home in Dhaka on Wednesday night, a day before the deadline for nomination submission.

The decision has added to the factors the ruling Awami League is considering to finalise its strategy for the crucial vote amid the BNP’s boycott and protests.

Raushon, an ally of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said she had participated in the 2014 and 2018 polls “for the sake of the country and democracy”.

“I also welcomed the election schedule and prepared for the vote this time,” she said.

Raushon, the leader of the opposition in parliament, said “tested” leaders were denied party nomination because of a lack of cooperation by Quader and Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu.

“Under these circumstances, where the party and its leaders have been belittled, it’s not possible for me to join the race.”

Internal strife is a longstanding issue within the main opposition in parliament and the discord over leadership started to peak after the death of founder HM Ershad in 2019.

His wife Raushon and brother Quader have time and again made it clear that they want more control than the other.

After the schedule of the 12th parliamentary polls was announced, Raushon told the Election Commission in a letter that they were willing to contest the election under an alliance.

But Quader’s letter to the EC made no mention of a coalition.

Raushon was also always positive about joining the race under the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government, but Raushon and her followers have stayed away from the nomination process.

Quader and his supporters said they would keep an option to boycott the polls amid the BNP’s protests to topple the ruling party from power. But under his leadership, the Jatiya Party sold nomination forms from Nov 20-23.

It extended the deadline by a day seemingly for Raushon, but she did not appear or send a representative to collect the form.

After Quader met Raushon at her residence on Saturday night, the party interviewed the hopefuls.

When it announced the names of the nominees, no candidate was declared in Raushon’s seat.

Secretary General Chunnu said Raushon had asked for three nomination forms and he would take those to her home.

But on Wednesday, the party named another candidate for Raushon’s seat.

Rahgir Al Mahi aka Shad Ershad, son of HM Ershad and Raushon, was elected MP from Ershad’s Rangpur-3 seat after his death.

This time the party declared GM Quader as the candidate for the constituency.

“I would have handed the forms to her had she asked me to, or if they had come, but they hadn’t. It’s wrong to blame me now [for a lack of cooperation],” Chunnu said on Wednesday.

Asked why the party left out “tested” leaders, he said: “If there are three tested leaders and we have to pick one, two others will naturally be dropped.”