Blog: In Desperation
Pratibha Bholah, resigning from MSM and joining Labour, clearly indicates the direction the wind is blowing. Initially, she had resisted the public offer of the PM to join Labour when MSM had decided to leave the government and join the opposition bench.
What prompted her to leave? Certainly not the lure of a ministerial post. None is available. She has just become PPS, a post she was occupying before the MSM left the government. In fact, as a politician, she found no future in the MMM-MSM remake. I believe her when she says that she was elected to serve her constituents and she can do that best by being in the government. I am sure all political observers know that she comes from a staunch Labour family. She was welcomed with opened arms, not only in her constituency but everywhere. Some elderly people were so moved that they greeted her by touching her feet in all
humility as a support for her action.
The departure of the MSM from government has put the vast majority of its supporters ill at ease. Jim Seetaram and Mireille Martin have ensured a good working majority for the ruling party. The Prime Minister could also rely on some independent MPs.
It is at this juncture that the MMM thinking that iron is hot, decided to strike. It ditched the MSM and opened negotiations with Labour over electoral reforms and eventually in a power sharing alliance.
It is no secret that MMM followers were not at all warm to the MSM. MSM was primarily created to fight the MMM. MMM believes that it was MSM which has denied it its rightful place to govern the country since 1982. On account on mutual interest, they had come together in 1991 and 2000, but the alliance did not work. MMM ditched it in 1995 and in 2005, they lost the elections. MSM took its revenge in 2010 when it joined Labour to defeat the MMM.
Those who have witnessed the birth and rise of the MMM and its role in the political life of the country during the last 40 years, will certainly come to the conclusion that it is a party of the opposition. It performs best in opposition. Having rallied massive support and sweeping the polls in 1982, within nine months its own Prime Minister SAJ split the party and ruled the country with the support of Labour.
Its founders and supporters believe that Paul Berenger has betrayed the cause. From leftist policies, he has adopted rightist policies. Those who are around him are struggling hard to keep him in the centre. All his original collaborators have also left him.
Labour has always attracted and given space to all persons of goodwill from different tendencies and parties to work together. It is a party made to govern. It has consolidated and renewed itself during the last 75 years. It is considered to be one of the oldest parties in the world. All development which has taken place in the country bears its stamp.
I am sure that Paul Bérenger realizes at this stage that there is no future for MMM and its followers if they don’t join hands with Labour. The population has rejected its policies and its leader. Paul Bérenger has survived unchallenged although he has led his party from defeat election after election, having suffered personal defeats in the process. I do not know any such case in a democracy. The power base of MMM was a coalition of interest on minorities.
Slowly Navin Ramgoolam broke MMM’s monopoly over the Muslim community and attracted others to Labour. Labour won in urban strongholds of MMM in 2005 and in 2010. There is a growing uneasiness in the Creole community, the backbone of the support of MMM. Elections will be held in 2015. If the arrangement with MSM works, Paul Berenger may aspire to be PM in 2018. He has no time.
Now that Navin Ramgoolam enjoys more than a comfortable majority in parliament with quite a few MPs from MSM and MMM willing to join, he does not need to go for early elections on any pretext. He knows that as in 2005 and 2010 the choice will still be between Paul Berenger and himself for the premiership. SAJ is just a windscreen. This explains the desperation of Paul Bérenger to find a winning formula for an MMM-Labour alliance.