Jatiya Party

The Jatiya Party (Ershad) (National Party (Ershad)) is a political party in Bangladesh established by President Hussain Mohammad Ershad on 1st January 1986. The Army Chief Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad usurped the state power by a coup de'tat on 24th March 1982, and ruled the country as chief martial law administrator till December 1983. Justice A. F. M. Ahsanuddin Chowdhury was made President of Bangladesh. With a view to civilianise his military rule General Ershad endeavoured to form a political party of his own. With a view to forming a party styled as Janadal under the leadership of Ahsanuddin Chowdhury, he declared a 19-point programme on 17th March 1983.

President Ahsanuddin Chowdhury declared the establishment of Janadal at an assembly of political activists held on 27 November 1983. However, the formation of executive committee of the new party was delayed due to adverse political situation in the country. Later, the central executive committee was formed with Justice Ahsanuddin Chowdhury as convenor and MA Matin as general secretary. Consequent upon the assumption of office of President of the country by General Ershad, Justice Ahsanuddin Chowdhury relinquished his position in Janadal. Subsequently Mizaur Rahman Chowdhury and Riazuddin Ahmed (Bhola Miah) were nominated as acting chairman and general secretary of Janadal respectively.

In the second stage of the formation of the party a new political forum, Jatiya Front, was formed at the initiative of General Ershad. A group of leaders from BNP under Shah Aziz, factions of Janadal and Muslim League, the Ganatantri Dal, United Peoples Party, Barrister Moudud Ahmed and Anwar Hossain Manju joined the Front. The steering committee of the Jatiya Front consisted of 13 members. On 1 October 1985, ban on political activities was partially lifted, and within less than six months the Jatiya Front was declared dissolved. A new political party styled as Jatiya Party was formally launched on 1st January 1986 with Hussain Muhammad Ershad as its chairman.

On 21 March 1986, President Ershad placed an appeal to the 15-party alliance and 7-party alliance launching movement against him to participate in the Jatiyo Sangsad elections. Five parties of 15-party alliance, and the 7-party alliance led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the election. In the elections held on 7 May 1986, the Jatiya Party secured 153 seats and the Awami League got 76 seats. The fairness of the elections was questioned and allegation of malpractices was raised both nationally and internationally. In the presidential elections held on 15 October 1986, Ershad was elected President. The opposition parties boycotted the election. Political movement demanding resignation of President Ershad took serious turn in 1987. Consequently Ershad dissolved the Jatiya Sangsad on 6 December 1987. In the elections for the fourth Jatiya Sangsad held on 3 March 1988, the Jatiya Party secured 251 seats while all the political parties including the BNP and the Awami League boycotted the election.

In the face of mass movement against him in 1989, President Ershad declared emergency in the country. He was, however, compelled to resign in December 1990. He formally handed over power to the Acting President Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed on 6th December. Subsequently Hussain Muhammad Ershad was put under arrest and in his absence Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury took over charge of the Jatiya Party as acting chairman. The Jatiya Party emerged as the third force by securuing 35 seats in the Jatiya Sangsad in the elections held on 27 February 1991. After the elections of the fifth Sangsad the Bangladesh Nationalist Party formed the government. Jatiya Party secured 32 seats in the Sangsad elections held on 12 June 1996 under the caretaker government.

In the 1996 elections, Awami League secured majority seats in the Jatiyo Sangsad. Jatiya Party gave support to Awami League to form the government and joined the cabinet. Anwar Hossain Manju, the secretary general of the party, was included in the cabinet of Sheikh Hasina as Minister of Communication. Ershad was released on bail on 9 January 1997. The Jatiya Party had a rift on leadership wrangle in 2000 resulting in the three factions each headed by General Ershad, Anwar Hossain Manju and Naziur Rahman Manju. In the general elections of 2001 Jatiya Party Ershad group and Anwar Hossain group secured 14 and 1 seats respectively.

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