Dhaka, Dec 26 (UNB) – Though only three days are left before the curtain falls on electioneering, Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, who is contesting the December-30 election from two seats, could not yet join the campaign either for him or his party candidates, demoralising his party leaders and activists.
Party senior leaders said their chairman will return home from Singapore on Wednesday evening after receiving treatment for over two weeks, but he will not be able to carry out that much of campaign as his physical condition is not good.
Talking to UNB, a number of mid-level party leaders said they are virtually now without the guardian in absence of Ershad as they are not getting any directive about the election from their senior leaders, including senior co-chairman Raushon Ershad, co-chairman GM Quader, Ershad’s special assistant Ruhul Amin Hawlader and secretary general Moshiur Rahman Ranga.
They also said they are not clear about the reasons behind their chairman’s absence from all sorts of election activities, changing the party secretary general, making Hawlader party’s second-in-command and fielding 145 party candidates to run the election independently out of the Grand Alliance.
The Jatiya Party leaders said they have strong doubt about their chairman’s illness as he had been admitted to the hospital before the 2014 national election as well.
Amid various speculations, Ershad was admitted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka on November 27 and since then, remained inactive in the party’s election-related activities.
On December 3, he made party presidium member Moshiur Rahman Ranga its secretary general removing Ruhul Amin Hawlader from the post.
Five days later, the Jatiya Party chief appointed removed Hawlader as his special assistant and party’s second-in-command to discharge all the organisational responsibilities of the party chairman in his absence.
On December 10, Ershad along with party presidium member Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu and his APS Manjurul Islam went to Singapore for treatment.
The Jatiya Party chief is contesting the 11th parliamentary elections from Dhaka-17 and Rangpur-3 seats.
“We’re now guardian-less as we have no contact with party senior leaders in absence of our chairman. Our most senior leaders are busy carrying out their election campaign. Though Ruhul Amin Hawlader was supposed to discharge our chairman’s responsibilities, he is not active. Now, we’re not getting any instruction from party high command during the crucial election,” a Jatiya Party independent candidate from a Rajshahi seat told UNB wishing anonymity.
Contacted, Jatiya Party presidium member SM Faisal Chisti said Ershad is returning home on Wednesday evening and will carry out campaign in Dhaka-17 seat, but he may not go to Rangpur due to his physical condition.
He said there is worry and frustration among their party leaders and activists across the country as their chairman still could not carry out any electioneering either in favour of him or for any other party candidate. “It’s true that our leaders and activists could have been more spirited had our chairman been there in the country.”
Once returns home, Chisti said, Ershad will take steps to warm up party rank and file removing all kinds of confusion and frustration among them.
Jatiya Party presidium member Maj (retd) Khaled Akter said their party leaders and activists are little worried as their chairman has been missing since the beginning of the electioneering. “When the chief of a major party is sick and can’t take part in the election is a matter of some worry for its leaders and activists. But they’re not disappointed.”
Khaled said Ershad could not have carried out election campaign for the party candidates that much even had he been there in the country as his physical condition is not good. “But, he could have campaigned in the two seats where he has been contesting the election.”
In absence of their party chairman, he said, its senior leaders are carrying out campaign in favour of him.
He said their leaders and activists are unitedly working hard to ensure the victory of party’s other candidates at different parts of the country.
Khaled, a Jatiya Party candidate for Lalmonirhat-1 seat, said he is getting huge response from voters though his not a Grand Alliance candidate.
Jatiya Party senior joint secretary general Advocate Rezaul Islam Bhuiyan said their party leaders and activists have got demoralised to some extent as Ershad has been staying abroad for nearly two weeks during the national election. “But there’s no impact of it in my constituency as I’m a Grand Alliance candidate.”
He said he is getting support from both the party leaders and activists and also from their alliance partners in his area.
Bhuiyan hoped that their party leaders and activists will be rejuvenated as their chairman is coming home on Wednesday.
Rangpur city mayor and city unit Jatiya Party president Mostafizur Rahman Mostafa along with party leaders and activist are carrying out electioneering in favour of Ershad in Rangpur-3 seat.
Mostafa said they are carrying out hectic campaign in fabour of Ershad and getting huge response from voters. “Though sir (Ershad) can’t go to voters, there’s no impact of it as all know he is sick. People of Rangpur love him very much. Even, he was elected from jail in the past and got elected.”