In a surprise move, former military ruler of Bangladesh H M Ershad on Saturday announced his resignation as the chairman of his Jatiya Party, apparently to thwart the attempt by his wife to take over the reins of the party as declared by her four days ago.
Instead of his wife, seniormost JP presidium member Raushan Ershad who rebelled against him and declared herself the party chief, Ershad appointed presidium member Anisul Islam Mahmud as the acting chief of JP until the next council session which, he said would be held after the withdrawal of a ban on indoor politics in the emergency-ruled country.
"Seniormost presidium member Begum Raushan Ershad has already implicated herself in controversy and her case is related to dynastic politics. The second senior Presidium Member Kazi Jafar Ahmed is physically unwell. Therefore, the third senior presidium member Anisul Islam Mahmud was given the responsibility," he said in a statement.
The ex-military dictator ruled the country for nearly a decade until his ouster in a pro-democracy mass upsurge in 1990.
Four days ago his wife, flanked by some JP leaders, declared herself as the chief saying "a single person cannot run the party for long".
Mahmud, an economist, was the foreign minister during Ershad's nine-year regime.
Ershad, however, said he would formally resign from the chair of his party when the next party council would be held but until then Mahmud would carry out the responsibility as the acting chairman.