Touria Prayag's Blog

The cancer of our politics 28 November 2013

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

If there were any doubts in your mind that, in
politics, we have hit rock bottom, Tuesday’s
parliamentary session should have erased them
by now. What was supposed to be the close of
the budgetary debates turned out to be a fullfl
edged electoral campaign, no less.
But then again that is the problem with politics
in this country. Instead of campaigning and
standing for election at the appropriate time as
they do elsewhere, here we keep running for
election continously. As soon as a government
steps in, the opposition starts a new campaign.
The alliance/misalliance game complicates
matters and literally skews our democracy.
But let’s fi rst start with the opposition’s walkout,
which – like hunger strikes – has become so
commonplace that it has lost its value and some
may say is a dereliction of duty. For heavens’
sake, the job of the opposition is to sit in parliament
and tell us which of the measures proposed
in the budget are bad and how to deal with them.
Instead, they have been boycotting the debates
for the last three years.
Now, while they were out, the prime minister
had an excellent opportunity to start his own
campaign. It is not only the opposition which
keeps running for elections but the government
as well. Navin Ramgoolam took three long hours
and all sorts of diversions to engage in what was
effectively a party political broadcast, going to
the extent of asking again for a three-quarter
majority. Gosh, did someone forget to tell us
that polling day was tomorrow? Opposite, the
benches were empty and there was therefore no
one to stop him.
Then the opposition members reappeared as if
by magic. It was not the minister of fi nance they
were boycotting, just the government, they said.
The budget was good in fact, wasn’t it? Because
it was read by Xavier Duval – a potential future
ally. All the good measures must have come from
him. If there are a few bad measures, they must
have been forced down his throat by the prime
minister and the Labour lobbies. Seriously? And
these are the guys we are paying to protect our
interests? Please join me in a prayer!
Xavier Duval, on the other hand, does nothing
to dispel the rumours of a possible causecauser
between him and members of the opposition.
While appearing to revel in the
courtship and beaming with satisfaction, he
continues to praise the prime minister for his
trust, thus indirectly upping the antes. But
wouldn’t you do the same in an arena where
democracy has been replaced by political bed
hopping? If anything, at least the opposition
lets him off with some measures they may
have wanted to criticise if they felt there was
no hope of his joining them.
So, if you want to know what both the government
and the opposition think about the budgetary
measures, here is a very concise summary:
the government thinks you should give
them another mandate, preferably with a threequarter
majority this time and the opposition
thinks that Xavier Duval is the greatest thing
since sliced bread. For what they thought about
him yesterday, you have to go over your notes.
They also think Pravind Jugnauth is important
enough in the hierarchy to speak just before the
prime minister – again, go over your notes for
what they thought yesterday. The budget? Oh,
please give them a break!
Anybody still serious about electoral reform?
Do us a favour: just ban pre-election alliances
and all the nonsense will stop. Please! It is a real
cancer in our democracy.

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