Poker face

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For those of our readers who are completely confused by the current political situation, take heart. You are not the only ones. Every time we think we can see a bit more clearly, we are thrown back into the dungeons of darkness. And the prime minister’s encrypted language does not help. His statements and actions recently have been shrouded in a good deal of ambiguity.

But maybe the answers to our questions are more in what has not been said rather than what has. Yes, the prime minister’s suggestion that he would like to be given the cake to eat it alone left journalists and citizens bemused. Isn’t this the same prime minister who is negotiating a second republic – in other words a cake-sharing with the person he already shares chemistry with? Many political analysts, however, saw in this statement a plea to Navin Ramgoolam’s electorate that he is unlikely to get the whole cake and that he therefore has to scale back his ambitions a good deal.

The same silence pregnant with meaning was used yesterday at the inauguration of the Bambous Solar Farm when he talked about a foreign company which apparently conducted a survey where the Labour Party came fi rst, followed by the MMM and the MSM with 3% of the vote and “I’d better stop there,” he said, suggesting that there is an even worse score for the party which was not mentioned – the PMSD. However, if both leaders think it is easy to rush to the plate and help themselves, they are probably underestimating the resistance in their respective electorate. And Ramgoolam will have a harder task selling the concept to his. The suspicion between the two ‘vote banks’ has existed for years and been nourished by politicians at every election. And every time the word ‘ballot’ is mentioned, people are pushed back to their primitive instincts and their fears – which have been kept simmering in-between elections – come back to the front burner. And what boils over is not always sweet smelling.

So the game of poker has only just started. While some of Bérenger’s former allies are already writing his political obituary – forgetting the number of crises he has survived and triumphed over – some of Ramgoolam’s allies are putting tremendous pressure on him for a Labour/MSM alliance under any condition. How both will come out of this episode and how they hold the knife as they share the cake will determine whether they will get to eat it. Several steps are awaiting the bill. First, parliament. Then the electorate. In the meantime, there is a lot of posturing going on! Some are posturing less, some more. Because none of them has visibility and the confidence to face the electorate alone. And there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip. Or rather between the pawn and the chessboard.

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