Commentators are having a field on the pale performance of Labour and that of its leader. What comes to my mind is the answer of a general, Napoleon I think; when a lady asked him whether the true architect of the victory the French army was celebrating was that of his next in command, La Paille au Nez replied with a smile ‘ I don’t really know, dear lady; however, what I can assure you is that if the army had lost the battle, I would have been the one responsible for the defeat’.
The political history of Mauritius is replete with instances of defeat at a time when victory seemed too obvious: SAJ, the architect of modern Mauritius, was rejected by the electorate immediately after a brilliant tenure as far as economic performance is concerned. Berenger, the leader of the best structured party, has known more defeats than victories.
I concur with the basic criticism of Navin. He is however, like Berenger in the MMM, both the strength and the weakness of his party. And I don’t think he will change at this age. However one should be careful to propose Boolell as the new leader of LP…… LP suffered its worst defeat when it was led by a certain Sir Satcam Boolell, which brought SAJ to sarcastically comment that the LP was good for the dustbin of history. I honestly believe a leader will emerge with time, if the LP gives room for this outcome. Alas! Our political leaders are like Banyan trees that allow no growth in their shades.
Unlike the 2014 elections, the outcome of the 2019 ones has taken a majority of observers by surprise. It is a totally new phenomenon. If one goes by the numbers at public meetings, LP was the front runner. The electorate changed direction at the last minute to astound everybody. It’s the first time, if my memory serves me right, that a party relying primarily on rural support and not being the darling in the urban areas, has beaten the MMM 11-8 there, an MMM whose vote bank is traditionally in the towns.
LP lost not because of the faults we attribute to Navin but because his ally this time was not able to mobilise and entice its electorate. It will help political leaders to study the cause of the change of behavior of the urban electorate for the first time.
Only a mind reader would have beaten MSM on the 7th of November.
25 November 2019