Jatiya Party (JaPa) chairman HM Ershad on Tuesday removed Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu as the party secretary general and replaced him with Ruhul Amin Howlader.The former military dictator made the announcement at a news conference at his Banani office in the afternoon as disputes over the party leadership have taken a turn for the worse recently.Ershad said he has the mandate in the party constitution to take such measures.“I’ve relived Bablu of the party secretary general for breaking organisational discipline and also in the party interest. I’d made Bablu party secretary general removing Howlader and made Anis (Anisul Islam Mahmud) acting chairman, but there was no question at that time as I’ve the jurisdiction to do so,” the JaPa chief told journalists.He alleged that Bablu has failed to perform as the party secretary general. “Bablu has been working as the party secretary general for about two years, but he couldn’t hold any party presidium and extended meeting. I’d to join around 40 council meetings across the country at this age of my life as he couldn’t do those alone.”Ershad alleged that Bablu has violated his decision about making his brother GM Quader as party co-chairman and Howlader as member secretary of its national council preparatory committee, and created a division in the party. “From now on, Howlader will act as the party secretary general.”About Bablu’s announcement of making Raushon Ershad as the party acting chairman at a joint meeting of its presidium and parliamentary party members at Raushon’s residence, the JaPa chief said his wife did not convene any meeting. “She knows it very well that it’s me who has the only authority to call for a meeting as a party chairman and no one else has such right.”
He said Bablu and Anisul Islam called over phone Jatiya Party leaders and MPs asking them to come to Raushon’s house. “So, it’s not a presidium meeting and no decision can be made there. It’s me who will take the decision as I’m still the party chairman.”Ershad also disapproved his wife Raushon as the party acting chairman. “She’s not the party acting chairman. She can’t hold this post.”The former military dictator, however, said he has no conflict with his wife. “She’ll lead the party in parliament, and I’ll run the party. I’m also going to attend a meeting of the party parliamentary body. Efforts are on to create a conflict between us.”Ershad claimed that Bablu and Annisul Islam tried to convince Raushon to issue a statement on Tuesday night, but she declined to do so. Asked whether he will take any action against Raushon, the JaPa chief replied in the negative, saying she did not call the meeting.Replying to another question whether his party is facing another division, Ershad said, “It’s impossible, and the party will remain united under my leadership as long as I’m alive. No one will be able to touch this party.”He alleged Bablu and Anisul Islam are trying to create a disorder in the party, “I can challenge even 10 leaders of the party are not with them.”Answering to another question, Ershad reiterated he will urge the Prime Minister to relive him of her special envoy assignment as he wants to remain busy making his party stronger with his countrywide visits.The JaPa chairman also said they will arrange the party council in April this year and take approval of all the decisions he has taken now in it.
Defending his decision about making his brother as the party co-chairman, Ershad said he has done it exercising his power the party charter bestowed on him.He said he had also made earlier Naziur Rahman Manju and Anwar Hossain Manju the party’s additional secretary general the same way though there had been no such post in the party charter. “But, no questioned was raised about it on that time.”About his decision of making Howlader the party’s council preparatory committee member secretary, he said he has vast experience in holding such programmes as he did it thrice earlier.Ershad who was on a five-day tour of Rangpur returned to Dhaka at noon for the news conference amid the deepening crisis in the party.On Monday night, Ziauddin Bablu announced Raushon Ershad as the party acting chairman, a day after Ershad made his brother GM Quader party’s co-chairman.Bablu claimed that the decision was taken at a joint meeting of the party’s presidium and parliamentary party members at Raushan’s residence.He said the meeting decided to uphold the party’s constitution under any circumstances.“There’s no co-chairman post in the party charter. The party chairman yesterday (Sunday) made his younger brother GM Quader its co-chairman without any discussion on the matter at any party forum, including its presidium. His (Ershad’s) decisions are contrary to the party constitution.”On Sunday, Ershad announced his younger brother GM Quader as the party co-chairman at a press conference at its Rangpur office.