We can deduce from the evidence Maharaj́s raison d́etre — he was beaten roundly and soundly in the 2010 UNC leadership race by Kamla Persad-Bissessar and likely pique has moved him to join forces with the Opposition to dismantle her regime. By teaming up with Rowley and the PNM, he is guaranteed a political platform, an additional opportunity to maintain a high profile and to bash the government, and possibly another shot at a seat in the parliament.
But what does the PNM gain by cozying up to Maharaj who has no party, no supporters to bring to the table? Maharaj led a team of lawyers who assisted the opposition NNP in Grenada; he is a member of the legal team for the Highway Re-Route Movement and a relentless and vocal opponent of this government, so perhaps Dr Rowley is of the belief that Maharaj can help him with opposition strategy. Or maybe Maharaj is considered a feather in the Balisier hat-an ex UNC criticising the UNC and attempting to split the coalition is possibly seen as a prize. However, is the PNM prepared to pay the political price his assistance will demand? Are PNM members content with the Ramesh/Rowley union?
The political tryst will definitely not help the PNM increase Indo Trinidadian votes, nor can it erase the stain of the Calcutta ship remarks.
Additionally, Maharaj was rejected by the UNC membership in 2010, as he was in 2001 when he was unable to win a seat on his own after he broke away from the UNC to establish Team Unity. He is not loved in traditional UNC strongholds or in the marginals and Rowley’s alliance with Ramesh is certain to alienate voters: Maharaj is considered a man who plays political musical chairs, a drifter who has moved from membership in the PNM to the UNC to Team Unity, back to the UNC and who now is aligning himself once more with the PNM.
Both Rowley and Ramesh are so thirsty for power they are oblivious to the fact that they are successful only when they play second fiddle. Rowley is no Patrick Manning and Ramesh no Basdeo Panday, neither possessing the appeal these men enjoyed.
Rowley is not greeted at PNM functions with the enthusiasm with which the crowds embraced Manning (it is unlikely that Manning would have compromised and embarrassed the party by appearing on the sort of platform Rowley did on Monday night.) As for Maharaj, he was never the star he wanted to be in the UNC and he will never plant his flag on a political summit. What a pair! — The raging bull and the opportunist.
It might be naive to believe that the results of the Tobago election will necessarily translate to a win for the PNM in the local poll this year, particularly if Rowley continues on his present course. The coalition may have lost some ground, but the political spectre of “Ramley” is unsettling. Tobago rejected the TOP because it feared the UNC and by extension the Indo Trini. In addition, Dr Rowley was playing politics on his home turf. In Trinidad the UNC has a strong base and wider support and Rowley lacks the popular appeal of Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Rowley’s flirtation with Ramesh et al draws the PNM into a non-coalition which will not help modernise the party, but is guaranteed to set it back.
Minister of National Security Jack Warner has said repeatedly that the opinions of the minority are being heard while the majority is whistling a different tune. Though he often talks more than he should, there is some truth to this assertion. There is public outcry but where is it coming from?
Mainly from PNM supporters acting in unison with their new found allies. Their voices raised in protest every day, they live to give the impression that the entire country is tired of the People’s Partnership.
While the PP has had its share of embarrassments and faux pas and stands accused of nepotism and corruption, the PNM and its new pals may soon enough learn that they have been preaching to the choir, or have been shouting so, that the relative silence of the COP and UNC party members has gone unnoticed.
Behind the scenes, COP and UNC members are involved in political discussions and quite a few have concluded that Dr Rowley and his cohorts have been bullying the Prime Minister and the PP, engaging in relentless nitpicking and they are of the opinion that this government has been scrutinised and pushed around like no other. They are also convinced that there is a conspiracy to destabilise the country and break the coalition before 2015.
These supporters are angered and fed up, but they aren’t going to march, or fight their battles in the mainstream media, which they sense is by and large biased.
They are talking in their homes, at their gatherings, and they are waiting for their opportunity to give their view, which will be communicated quietly via the ballot. Something for the second fiddle duet, Ramesh and Rowley to consider.