Is it PTR for Ramgoolam or PTR is Ramgoolam?November 16, 2019
Supporters of the Labour Party – PTR – are ganging for their leader Navin Ramgoolam despite him losing his bid for Parliament.
On Nov 7, Mauritius voted and Ramgoolam was practically vetoed, some say sanctioned, by the voters.
He is one of the many top Hindu leaders who failed to enter Parliament.
This leaves the leadership of the community in the hands of PM Pravind Jugnauth.
Nevertheless, Ramgoolam won a landmark judgment on Friday. But it came too late for his bid to the Prime Minister post.
Would it have impacted his chances in the elections? Perhaps, but the odds were stacked against him.
Hit hard by a series of videos called ‘Navingate’ and attacked by the opposition MMM, Ramgoolam saw his chances diminished at the polls.
MONEY MONEY MONEY
Since Mauritius is now officially a money politics nation, Ramgoolam’s victory on Friday at the Courts keeps him going.
He is now the most powerful PTR leader though he is out of Parliament. He has the money power to control the party and can swing the votes in his favour within the PTR if it comes to that.
There might be a contestation of his leadership in the party since he does not abide by the rule of vacating the leadership when defeated in the polls.
In 2014, he was defeated in his constituency in the North. But he had a firm grip on the party’s leadership.
In the course of the five years leading to Nov 7, there were little contest of his rule.
An attempt to challenge him was shot down by a manoeuvre against his opponents in the party.
Some party members went to India to try to get support to oust him from his post, but New Delhi did not play into their hands.
With the money back to Dr Ramgoolam, he may now rebuild the party HQ as he promised and keep a firmer grip on the leadership.
WINNING BACK HINDU SUPPORT?
But will the party win the support of the Hindu majority after this defeat? The PTR insisted it was in the lead in the run-up to the polls.
Its agents and members were saying they had won 38 seats. This was a modest estimate from the possible 60-0 they were talking about in May.
Then came the announcement for the elections and the PTR joining forces with the PMSD of Xavier-Luc Duval.
While the deal was a good one for Duval — they could not get a better one— it was a sign the PTR was running out of steam.
From then on, it was a downward slope for the PTR. The party was in denial believing it was strong enough to overrun the MSM-ML-Allies in the villages.
Meanwhile, the MMM also underestimated the power of the ‘transfuges’ who left the party to kowtow to PM Pravind Jugnauth.
While this diminished the Mauve’s ‘kingmaker’ role, it also hurt the Labour’s chances in the rural areas.
The MSM-ML-Allies won almost all the seats in the villages, albeit for the Labour’s own successes in some constituencies.
This clearly indicates the PTR still have support in the villages and towns, while the MSM depended largely on ‘transfuges’ to snatch the vote for the MMM.
It is hard to believe the MSM alone would have pulled such a feat.
Nevertheless, for the PTR, they won sufficient votes to make the count for their natural base. Nothing more.
The same applies to the MMM but this is a party that was hit by several haemorrhages in the five years.
Despite this weakness, the MMM made it back to the Parliament with 8 seats, plus one Best Loser.
Whether the PTR can maintain the base with a Ramgoolam who is not willing to bow, is to be seen.
Like we said above if the Ramgoolam were to spend the money on a massive PTR HQ, this would turn some heads in their direction.