Touria Prayag's Blog

L’Express Weekly, 21 October 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on February 27, 2012

Beyond tactics into strategy

A part from the dusty press gallery which we happily cleaned up before we sat down, thus allowing the government staff to carry on with their holidays; apart from the excessive noise and the exaggerated smiles which preceded the opening of the parliamentary session – a desperate attempt at portraying serenity; apart from the confusion as to the seating arrangements, there was little to suggest that between the last parliamentary session and the new one, there had been a long break and a collapse of the coalition. If the MMM lived up to its threats and, as Rajesh Bhagwan had promised, questions started fl ying towards the majority like missiles, the MSM may as well have been still sitting on the other side.

Their voices were hardly heard and the questions caused none of the promised embarrassment. Quite the opposite: the moment the leader of the MSM stood up to try and put some questions across, the whole assembly burst out in laughter. The speaker had to intervene by reassuring everyone that he saw “ nothing funny about the Honourable Pravind Jugnauth asking questions.” The leader of the opposition looked the part, and he played it too, but if his voice was raised at times, there was no anger in it. Or rather, if there was, it was faked. The affi nity between him and the one he was bombarding with questions was unmistakable. So was the affection in the looks they discreetly exchanged. The underlying current between the two men was undeniable as the prime minister congratulated the leader of the opposition for asking the questions he must have been dreading “ in his quest for truth, justice and fairness…” and the leader of the opposition let him off with the promise that if any of the cases he brought up has not been reported to the police or to the ICAC, they soon will be. There was no criticism of the institutions and no suggestion that one or the other was controlled by the prime minister.

Neither man showed any intention of wanting to go down into the trenches. Let the president carry on with the campaign against the institutions. Bérenger is not going to be part of it.

The cynic might even wonder whether the question put to the minister of fi nance was indeed an own goal or was done on purpose to remind the MSM leader of his shortcomings. After all, those who know Paul Bérenger know how meticulously he does his homework.

Could such a question have been a mistake? The two factions of the opposition had promised they had tuned their instruments. If they had, they certainly were not playing in the same orchestra. They said they had pulled their socks up. Well, they were not playing the same game. They threatened that they had trained together. But they were not in the same league. Everyone for himself seemed to be the name of the game. And it was fl anked by his own front bench that the leader of the opposition left the House. It was in their company that he had his tea in the lunch room.

While speculations are high, we should look beyond the tactics into the strategy. One thing is for sure, no game can be played without a crucial element: “ affi nity”. And it is either there or it isn’t.

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