Vol. 5 Num 549 Mon. December 12, 2005  
Front Page

JP to declare March 1 its polls alliance

Jatiya Party (Ershad) will clarify in March whether to form an electoral alliance with the government or the opposition while majority of its district-level leaders yesterday suggested the party chief take a stand against the ruling coalition.

"I will declare on March 1 how we are going to contest the next poll and with whom to form the alliance," Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad told a view-exchange meeting of the party leaders at a city hotel yesterday.

Calling on the leaders to make all-out preparations for the March 1 grand rally at Paltan Maidan, he said. "We will have to prove our strength at the rally. We must be politically ready to face the next election."

JP, the second largest opposition in parliament, arranged the meeting to know the district-level leaders' views on forming an electoral alliance as well as strengthen the organisational activities of the party.

Some 16 leaders, presidents and secretaries of different district units of the party, spoke at the meeting and most of them expressed opinion against allying with the BNP-Jamaat-led ruling coalition.

They said the ruling coalition has lost its popularity and the public have become utterly frustrated with the present government's performance, particularly for its 'sheer failure' to contain the bomb terrorism and price hike of essentials. They also alleged the government is trying to exploit the pending cases against Ershad and use him as a political pawn.

Some leaders, however, spoke against the AL-led 14-party opposition, accusing it of splitting the party while some others advised the party chief not to join any alliance at this moment.

"The BNP already knows it will not be able to return to power with Jamaat on board. So it is desperate to get Jatiya Party as its ally to clear the election hurdle," Abdus Salam Chakladar, president of Tangail district unit JP, said.

"You [Ershad] know very well what the people want. You'd better take the decision, considering all aspects," he noted.

Referring to forming alliance with the ruling coalition, President of Bagerhat district JP Sheikh Mahbubur Rahman questioned, "Why should Jatiya Party take the responsibility of the government's failure to run the country?"

"People are fed up with the ruling coalition for its prolonged indifference to militant activities," observed Mahbub Alam Bachchu, joint secretary general of Jessore JP.

Referring to the pending cases against the party chairman, Khandakar Habibur Rahman, general secretary of Rajbari district JP, suggested Ershad begin discussion with the ruling coalition only after withdrawal of the cases.

The president of Moulvibazar district unit JP Nabab Ali Abbas Khan said both the AL and BNP have been antagonistic to the Jatiya Party.

Referring to the recent Dinajpur-1 by-election, JP Secretary General Ruhul Amin Hawladar said, "The people are getting united against Jamaat-e-Islami and we should respect the sentiment."

Stressing the need for forming an appropriate electoral alliance to take the party to power, Ershad said, "It is the last chance. We simply cannot squander it. We'll have to do everything necessary to better establish the party."

"Through the next election, we'll show that Jatiya Party is still alive and kicking," the chairman assured the grassroots leaders.