GM Quader says people consider JP part of govt

People consider the Jatiya Party a part of the government, not an opposition party (in parliament), and that's why they have voted for 'boat' not for 'plough' in the recent municipal polls, senior JP leader GM Quader has said.

He made the remarks yesterday at a reception for him and Ruhul Amin Howlader on becoming the co-chair and secretary general of the party. Jatiya Sangskritik Party, JP's cultural wing, organised the programme at party chief's Banani office in the capital.

JP Chairman HM Ershad has made the changes in the party recently apparently to tighten his grip on it.

However, party leaders and activists are sharply divided over his sudden announcement on January 17, making his younger brother Quader the party co-chairman. The post does not exist in the party charter.

Howlader has replaced Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu.

Bablu and some JP MPs, including three ministers, on the following day rejected Quader's appointment and named Raushan Ershad, leader of the opposition, the party's acting chair. Interestingly, this post too does not exist in JP charter.

Last week, Ershad said he would resign as the special envoy to the prime minister and his party's three ministers from the cabinet in phases to play the role of a “real opposition party”.

While Quader was delivering his speech at the programme yesterday, many JP leaders and activists started shouting slogans, calling upon Ershad to take measures so that the JP leaders leave the cabinet immediately.

They also urged Quader to play an active role in strengthening the party grass roots and lambasted Bablu, calling him “a collaborator of the government”.

At one point, Quader started talking again and stressed the need for the resignations in a bid to “regain people's trust in the JP”.

He also called upon the government to offer his party necessary cooperation (in this regard) so that the JP could work as a true opposition party, making parliament functional.

“Currently, an all-party cabinet is not a necessity as the country is not facing any emergency situation,” he said to a thunderous applause from the audience.

He claimed that his party had failed to gain people's trust for being a part of the government. Now, the JP wants to work as a real opposition party, he said.

Quader also claimed that a plot was underway to malign his party. “The municipal polls was a demonstration how the party is losing public support,” he said.

In the recent polls in 234 municipalities, ruling AL's candidates for mayor with 'boat' electoral symbol won in 181  municipalities while JP candidates with 'plough' in just one municipality.