The Election Commission (EC) today received two letters from the Jatiya Party, one on behalf of GM Quader, the brother of party's founder HM Ershad, and the other signed by Raushan Ershad, the founder's wife.
In a letter by its Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu, he said, "The symbols and candidate nominations [for the upcoming elections] will be decided by our party chairman Golam Mohammad Quader."
Meanwhile, in the letter sent by Raushan Ershad, who holds the chief patron position, she said, "We will go to the elections in an alliance with the Awami League…But we will make our decisions independently after the polls."
Raushan, also the wife of Ershad, signed her letter as the "leader of the opposition", a position she currently holds.
The letter by Chunnu, meanwhile, made no mention of any alliance.
On the issue, Election Commission (EC) Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath, confirmed that the EC received two letters from the Jatiya Party.
The EC will make a decision in this regard and that will be considered final, he said.
After handing over Raushan's letter, her spokesperson Kazi Mamunur Rashid said the party will participate in the election in an alliance with the AL.
Asked about the earlier letter sent by Chunnu, the spokesperson said, "There is no other faction of the Jatiya Party. The party's position is Raushan's position. The nomination papers of the party will be signed by her."
Mentioning a discussion yesterday where the alliance decision was taken, Rashid said, "We hope GM Quader also joins us. If not, he may disappear from politics altogether."
Rubbishing Raushan Ershad's letter, Jatiya Party presidium member and mayor of Rangpur City Corporation Mostafizur Rahman Mostafa said the party no longer wished to be known as a broker for someone else's path to success.
Speaking at a joint staff meeting of the party, he said Raushan had no authority to take any decisions.
"We are waiting for the central decision, meaning the decision of party Chairman GM Quader. We are ready to implement that at the field level. For this, everyone has been instructed to prepare for either agitation or the elections."
He also said the 22 seats of Rangpur region, the stronghold of the party, would not be given to anyone.
Earlier today, Mujibul Haque Chunnu told the media that as there were no visible efforts to hold political talks, and that the the Jatiya Party would decide within a couple of days whether it would join the next national election or not.
"Our senior leaders will convene a meeting of our presidium members, if necessary, and we'll decide through discussions within a day or two whether we will go to the polls or not," Chunnu said.
Since 2001, the Jatiya Party has flipped between its position on alliances before elections, often resulting in splits within the party.
In the late '90s, when the party, then headed by its founder Hussain Mohammad Ershad, decided to join the BNP and Jamaat to form the four-party alliance, it led to a splinter group being formed.
This party was led by Anwar Hossain Manju, which then called itself Jatiya Party (Manju).
In 2001, Naziur Rahman Manzur split from the original Jatiya Party and formed the Bangladesh Jatiya Party.
The breakaway came due to policy differences. The Bangladesh Jatiya Party went on to maintain a place in the BNP-led Four Party Alliance, even securing four electoral seats in the 8th National Parliament.
The Jatiya Party also flirted with going in an alliance with the BNP in 2006, media reports say.
Ershad even announced his decision to join the alliance, before changing his mind.
Before the latest confusion in the party – about the leadership of Quader or Raushan – in 2013, there was a falling out with Kazi Zafar Ahmed, a former prime minister of Bangladesh from 1989-1990.
Zafar, who was also a presidium member of the Jatiya Party, ordered the removal of Ershad, over his "repeatedly changing stances."
Earlier in the day, Ershad had ordered the removal of Zafar.
On November 23, Kazi Zafar lambasted Ershad for joining the polls-time government, saying the party chairman was "betraying the nation".
In 2014, Ershad and the Jatiya Party once again became the centrepieces of a long-drawn-out drama over the party's flip-flopping regarding joining the polls.
He was taken to the Combined Military Hospital at one point, reportedly by intelligence forces.
The same day, Ershad made a "miraculous recovery", and was named special envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, giving him the rank and status of a cabinet minister.
The Jatiya Party then joined the elections as the main opposition in the 2018 elections.
It was the same elections where in an emergency press conference he announced his party leaders contesting from "open seats" would support the ruling AL-led grand alliance candidates.