JP leaders split over joining election

While Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad is at the Combined Military Hospital, the party’s leaders made contradictory statements yesterday over contesting the parliamentary polls.
Claiming to be the spokesperson of the JP chief, Bobby Hajjaj, special adviser to Ershad, said the party chairman would not budge from his decision to boycott the January 5 polls.
“I and the Jatiya Party will not contest the election as it won’t produce a democratic government,” Bobby quoted Ershad as saying.
Briefing reporters at the JP’s research and strategic office at Gulshan, Bobby said Ershad and other party leaders had applied for a withdrawal of their nomination papers, but the authorities did not accept the applications.
“All the instructions from HM Ershad will directly go to Jatiya Party Secretary General Ruhul Amin Hawlader and its presidium member GM Quader,” he mentioned.
Asked if he had any written or verbal approval from the JP chief to be the party’s spokesperson, Bobby said he had been in regular contact with the party chairman.
Meanwhile, after meeting Raushan Ershad at her Gulshan residence, JP office secretary Tajul Islam Chowdhury told reporters that the JP was united under the leadership of Ershad and the party would contest the election.
But JP presidium member Kazi Firoz Rashid, who was also present at the meeting, rejected Tajul’s statement, claiming that they had not made such a decision.
Members of an intelligence agency picked up Ershad from his Baridhara residence and took him to the hospital on Thursday night.
The Election Commission yesterday allocated the “plough” to the Jatiya Party nominees, although Ershad had requested the EC not to allocate the party’s electoral symbol to any candidate.
About the EC’s move, Bobby Hajjaj said the government could do anything if it wanted to. “The Jatiya Party chairman had applied for withdrawing his candidature, but the Election Commission didn’t accept it.”