Touria Prayag's Blog

L’Express Weekly, 5 August 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on February 27, 2012

Bluff, call and fold

The MSM members woke up this morning licking their wounds. The party’s gambit, for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time, against the ally on whose back it rode to get into power after years in the desert, fi nally turned pear shaped.

Apart from the political issues it has raised on the local scene, it should inspire a healthy debate about solidarity, party loyalty, party line and personal convictions.

The drama and histrionics did not last long. The MSM leader must have been frustrated in his plan to hold spellbound the press and the whole nation while negotiating “ proposals” made to him to consider and either accept or reject. His desperate last- minute reiteration of loyalty to a party it chose to breakaway from came to nothing. “ No proposal has been put to us,” he admits. Read, our blackmail and bluff came to naught.

That Navin Ramgoolam read the mood of the populace and aligned himself on overwhelming public opinion concerning the Med- Point scandal, the ongoing ICAC investigation and the resignation of the MSM ministers is yet another instantiation of the wily politician he is. Giving in to blackmail at the expense of respect for our institutions and endorsing the tolerance of fraud and corruption, the perception of which is rife in this country, would have sounded the death knell for his political career.

This whole episode leaves us with a few unanswered questions worth debating. What does solidarity mean? When the MSM ministers resigned, exactly what principle did they defend? That institutions should only be allowed to go on with their work for as long as they impeach only the poor and powerless? That the real culprits should not be disturbed if they are related to powerful people? Or perhaps toeing the party line means that I do whatever my leader asks me to do irrespective of what principles and personal convictions I may hold? That I stand by my fair- weather colleagues who run for cover when the going gets tough? We have lived a unique period these last few days. Something we have to remember and make use of as a lesson. Of course, History provides us with examples of several party alliances where, at some point, a split becomes necessary and inevitable as they arrive at a fork in the road. This week’s break up, however, will go down in history as an episode of blackmail turned rotten. There are no heroes among those who gave up their ministerial portfolios. At best, there are blind followers. At worst, there are spoilt children who, instead of admitting their mistakes and showing remorse, made a cynical move that has turned against them.

There are tractions going on at the moment and some opportunists will cross the fl oor. That is their decision. But for heavens’ sake, let them not insult our intelligence by talking about the interests of the country that they have suddenly discovered. Where were these interests when they held our institutions and the whole population hostage? How come the interest of the country became relevant only after the blackmail episode turned sour for them? Let the people of this country write history as they lived it. And, when they are called upon to cast their ballots again, let them not forget the lessons of the recent suicidal political brinkmanship and what actuated it.

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