LALIT on 1 October held a press conference at its Grande Riviere offices to launch its electoral program, its series of “youtube clips”, and to announce the way in which candidates are to be aligned. (See separate articles on sections of the Press Conference concerning LALIT Program launch, youtube launch, and on the issue of “the drawing of lots for so called community.”)
“We are standing for Parliament,” Lindsey Collen, one of LALIT’s leading members who was presiding, said, “not for Government”. She appealed to the journalists to make the distinction, because it is a strategic distinction. “The people, in particular working people, are not at present mobilized enough to defend a LALIT Program in Government, which is why we are aligning candidates and calling for a vote for a LALIT opposition, both in Parliament and outside of Parliament, based on our Program”.
LALIT is the first party to present a program. Lindsey Collen, in her introduction, said that the only “things” presented so far were the MMM-PT outline of how to “share the cake” now that Navin Ramgoolam has decided not “to eat it all himself”, to use his own metaphor, and the Lalyans Lepep’s “10 points”, half vague and the other half pure populism. Neither are a program. Neither show any vision for the future.
Other members present for LALIT were Rada Kistnasamy, Roland Boussac, Rajni Lallah, Laval Yves, Kisna Kistnasamy, Anne-Marie Joly, Ram Seegobin, Shabeela Kalla, Martine Mavisa. Alain Ah-Vee is in the Seychelles for a conference on the mother tongue.
LALIT will be aligning a candidate in each constituency for the Island of Mauritius. This gives everyone a choice viz-a-vi the two well-nigh identical blocks, both corrupt and dangerous.
Plus we will choose some constituencies which we will fill up with three candidates, as a sign that we are in alliance with neither of them. If people vote for our program in a disciplined way, LALIT can become an opposition in Parliament. This is our aim. Lindsey Collen insisted that it is erroneously reported by some journalists, when we say we seek votes “on the basis of our program” which is correct, they report that we are “spreading our message”. We call on people to vote for LALIT. And we have no message to spread, only a program to which people adhere. Our “modord” for the other two votes in places where we do not have three candidates will depend on the actual line-up.
She illustrated the unification just under the surface of PT-MMM and Lalyans Lepep by drawing attention to the fact that both Ramgoolam’s Finance Minister’s in his present mandate are in Lalyans Lepep, while Bérenger was part of the Re-Make with the MSM until as late as April this year. The PMSD was just the other day in Government with Ramgoolam. So, that really is one block.
However, she said that there is a corrupt process by which many opinion leaders and commentators, however corrupt and dangerous they know both alliances to be, pretend that there is no other choice. Even in the last bye-election in 2009, when LALIT had a good candidate, the media continued to pretend that electors had only two choices: Ashok Jugnauth who was standing again for re-election in the very constituency that his own election had been quashed for bribery, thus provoking the bye-election. He was supported by Paul Bérenger’s MMM. Whole-heartedly. This is not surprising because the bribery was the work of not just the Minister of Health, Ashok Jugnauth but also Prime Minister elect Paul Bérenger and Finance Minister, Pravind Jugnauth in a previous alliance. Opposite him was this very Pravind Jugnauth, who in turn got support from the party that challenged Ashok Jugnauth for bribery, and Pravind Jugnauth then in the Opposition got the support of the Prime Minister’s party! Even with this brand of truly filthy bipolarization, so many people still thought that was the only choice. It was not, she said. And for the next elections, there is a choice to vote LALIT.
Lindsey Collen also said that LALIT was aiming at parity for women and men candidates, and that there would certainly be more than one-third women.
Present for the Press were MBC-TV, Le Mauricien, ION-NEWS, Le Defi, 24 Heures Info, Radio Plus, Top FM.