Navin Ramgoolam, leader of the Labour Party, has tried to bring a conclusive answer to the ongoing debate over who will head the parliamentary group for his party next year. The current head of the Labour Party MPs is Shakeel Mohamed but a win for Arvin Boolell in the by-election could change that.
Given that Boolell is a stalwart of his party and has been considered for several years as Ramgoolam’s successor, several political observers jumped the gun and assumed that he would take over from Mohamed if he defeats his 39 opponents in Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes. However, Boolell has sought to dismiss that possibility. During an interview at the headquarters of l’express on Friday 15 December, he argued that Mohamed was performing well in parliament and that he does not necessarily need to take his place as the head of the Labour Party parliamentary group. The former minister was also keen to point out that this position was symbolic anyway because it did not have any constitutional standing when compared to the position currently held by Leader of the Opposition Xavier-Luc Duval.
In the final Labour Party congress ahead of the by-election and only a few hours after Boolell’s interview with l’express, Ramgoolam tried to downplay the issue. “I said that Arvin Boolell would head the parliamentary group but I did not say that to demean Shakeel Mohamed, who is a great warrior,” said Ramgoolam. “If the parliamentary group wants to stay like it is, then it can stay like it is.”
Boolell will head into the by-election this weekend with the hope of recovering from his first ever electoral defeat in the 2014 general election. It is also the first time that Boolell has ventured outside of Vieux Grand Port and Rose Belle.