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MSM of 2021 facing similar pressure as in 1987

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The MSM government is facing a situation similar to the 1985-1987 crisis in the party.

But this time, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth does not seem to be in a position to salvage his son’s government.

In 1985, SAJ still had Nando Bodha in his circle. The articulate Bodha was good at diffusing some tough situations for the government.

In 2021, Bodha is now in the opposition camp and this has sparked a flurry of excitement and concern.

As long as Bodha was in the MSM, SAJ would feel safe and he would believe PM Pravind Jugnauth was also safe.

Currently, he can only count on enemy-turned-family-friend Shawkatally Soodhun.

However, the latter is not in the government and he can only play a role at the party level.


Bodha has left the party the same day he left the government. As we said above, there is a lot of excitement among the population from his move.

It was impossible to believe a senior minister, a friend of SAJ, would just quit.

SAJ had mentored him since the days he played the ‘media’ link for the PM at the PMO.

I had numerous encounters with Mr Bodha. He was always ahead of the game, though as a BBC correspondent, my game was also far ahead at times.

In Bodha, I saw a defender of the PM SAJ and an ambitious man whom I knew was tempted to play politics.

However, it was Mr Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo and Mr Madan Dulloo who were the top leaders behind SAJ.

They played a crucial role in deflecting the attention of numerous scandals. Not that they were involved in machinations. Not at all.

But as leaders of the MSM, they felt the duty to defend the SAJ regime during the mother of scandals.


The government was on the brink of collapse when the Amsterdam Boys were caught with a drug haul.

Yes, it was in Amsterdam and among those caught was MPs of the ruling coalition.

Who still remember the day when SAJ faced the media (I was there) to explain the drug link.

The newsmen called him ‘kimé’ from that day because he was in sweat and was on the defensive. This was too much for Mr Bodha to handle and the media ran amock against the MSM and SAJ for months.

The Amsterdam Boys scandal almost caused the breaking of the SAJ government.

Many MPS left the party to join the opposition but in 1987, SAJ played his cards well.

Harish Boodhoo, who became too heavy a weight to carry for SAJ, was fired from the MSM. That was in 1986. No one knows why Boodhoo did not take part in the 1987 elections.

SAJ won with a big margin defeating the MMM and consolidating his government with fresh faces.


In 2021, it is all about Pravind Jugnauth and he does not have the ace Bodha on his side.

The latter joining the opposition will weigh severely on the MSM and Pravind. This is already being discussed within the MSM.

The Sunday incident in which Mr Bodha was harassed during a religious ceremony will perhaps seal the split between Bodha and the Jugnauths.

When SAJ faced the crisis in 1987, he did not openly attack Boodhoo or the MPs who resigned from his party.

He knew he was weak at that moment and played diplomacy with the politicians.

Yes, his wife was also on the ground leveraging with the public to explain why the MSM must come back to power in 1987.

Their victory was also because of the MMM’s frequent break-ups and internal tussles.

Nevertheless, the MMM won the biggest share of vote any opposition party has ever won during those elections.

The MMM won 47.3% of votes with Prem Nababsing as the Prime Minister candidate. But that was not sufficient to dislodge SAJ and the MSM-Labour.

Will Pravind survive without Bodha or will Pravind seal an alliance with the Labour Party?

The resignation of Arvind Boolell as the opposition leader indicates the Labour is now split from the opposition alliance.

The MMM-PMSD-RP and others will form the biggest opposition bloc in Parliament.

The RP does not have a representative in Parliament. But the opposition group may have Bodha on their side.

Unless Bodha joins the Labour Party. We never know. But if he joins Labour, then it will be awkward for him since Labour may be heading for an alliance with the MSM.

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