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Nepotism you may call: Sherifa banks on Ershad bourse

Asad Zaman, Staff Correspondent |
Update: 2010-08-29 22:00:42
Nepotism you may call: Sherifa banks on Ershad bourse

DHAKA: Sherifa Quader, wife of the Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister, began to go sailing in a fair weather as soon as she became active in Jatiya Party politics of late.

She became active in JP politics in the middle of July. JP chairman and ex-president HM Ershad made her party vice-chairman at her very debut in politics.

There are rumours in the party circles that she will be given yet more important position very soon--in a meteoric rise, indeed.

The recent steps by Ershad demonstrate that his brother’s wife is being given importance due to illness of Rowshan Ershad.

Sherifa, who had so long used to take her seat in audience row in party programmes, is now seen seated beside Ershad.

On occasion, she is enjoying more preeminence than her minister-husband, GM Quader.

At an Iftar party, arranged by Dhaka City JP (North) at a posh Gulshan restaurant last week, a JP presidium member had cordially vacated the chair beside Ershad to make room for the up-and-coming politico.

Party sources said that she figures high in the party programmes in what appears to be the process of her transformation from a private housewife into a prominent politician from the Ershad dynasty.

However, the rise of Sherifa Quader evoked mixed reactions within the former ruling party, now a partner of the ruling Grand Alliance led by Awami League.

Some favour her position in the party hierarchy while others think that it is too much, according to the sources.

But the dissidents would not dare to speak up lest they should fall in Ershad’s wrath.

Party-insiders said that since the inception of JP, Ershad’s wife, Rowshan, has held important positions and played a vital role in party politics.

But, in recent days, she is conspicuously absent from party functions.

Party sources claimed that Rowshan is ill. But family sources said that her illness was not that severe to make her remain constantly absent from the party programmes.

Rather, she is keeping herself aloof from party programmes as her relations with Ershad have reportedly been soured.

The party-insiders believe that the sharp rise of Sherifa poses a threat of eclipsing Rowshan’s political career.     

When contacted, party vice-chairman Anwara Begum told, “I think that Sherifa has become active with an ambition for politics. But, definitely, it is too much to give her such importance at this stage.”

Another JP vice-chairman, Mahjabin Morshed MP, would not make any comment. But she said, “Sir (Ershad) has given her (Sherifa) the position as he found her suitable for it. We have nothing to say in this matter.”

JP presidium member Professor Masuda M. Rashid Chowdhury would go for quality and merit for politics.

“Merit, capability and active role in the party should be the basis for anyone’s position,” she said.

Ershad also hinted at his retirement time. During the latest joint meeting, Ershad instructed party-men to strengthen the party under the leadership of his younger brother, GM Quader.

The party sources said Ershad wants to place Sherifa in a position so that she can facilitate GM Quader when he will no longer be at the JP helm.

BDST 1630 HRS, AUGUST 30, 2010.

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