PPP should embrace all opposition forces

first_imgDear Editor,In a recent letter, Mr. Sean Ori wisely advises PPP/C “to regroup and rethink its strategy” (of winning the next election) if it is going to improve its prospects of returning to office in 2020.So far, the PPP has not displayed a credible strategy to win the next election or to expand its political base. More of the same will not win an election.Bharrat Jagdeo wants to pursue a different strategy of embracing non-PPP forces, but he has been handicapped by hard core elements in the party who are reluctant to embrace change. As Jagdeo had suggested, the party needs to do something different, and to be creative in improving its chance at the polls — like teaming up with other opposition forces, as the PNC did in 2011 and 2015, which led to its capturing the Government.The PPP feels confident it would be victorious in 2020 because of the mis-governance of the APNU+AFC, which has resulted in widespread disgruntlement, even among its own supporters. But historically, disenchanted PNC supporters have never voted for the PPP, and there is no evidence they will do so in 2020.Sean Ori is right in stating that PPP will not win the next general election if it is relying exclusively on the countless errors (bad governance) made by the ruling APNU+AFC coalition. The PPP feels disenchanted PNC supporters would gravitate towards them (PPP). It did not happen in the past, and there is no evidence it would happen in 2020.People don’t vote on governance issues, but on ethnicity. In 1992, after 28 years of bad governance, PNC supporters did not abandon their natural party. And, so far, the PNC (APNU) support remains strong, and there is no evidence that the party is losing its traditional support in spite of all the errors and allegations of widespread corruption.In a free and fair election, the PPP may emerge victorious. Those who crossed over from PPP to vote for AFC are returning home, because of what they describe as the betrayal of the AFC. But a free and fair election is not guaranteed. The PPP needs to put measures in place to attract figures against which it would be nearly impossible for rigging, as took place between 1966 and 1992. If the PPP embraces all opposition forces, it will win.The PPP does not have the numbers to guarantee a win in an election, even if it is free and fair.  But if it has the right, independent, credible personalities in its Civic component, it would win. The party needs to reform itself, and to make alliances with other groups and individuals of integrity. The party is not moving in that direction, in spite of good advice.Had the party taken advice offered it in 2011, it would have retained its majority. Had it taken advice in 2015, it would have won the election. As I found out from various sources, this party has rejected every good, sound advice to expand its support.Since May 2015, the PPP has not been able to attract new faces into the party, or make alliance with any group, although it has reached out to some credible individuals like Chris Ram, Lawrence Latchmansingh, Rhyaan Shah, Joe Singh, Ralph Ramkarran (who declined a nomination), etc. , all of whom were rejected by the APNU+AFC as Chair of GECOM. The PPP has to encourage these individuals and more to become part of its Civic component. It has to give the Civic autonomy to choose its own members and leadership, and to manage its own affairs, like an independent party or political organisation.The PPP cannot choose the leadership of the Civic, or decide who will be its members. The Civic must have complete freedom and independence to decide on these issues.  In this way, towering personalities like Ralph Ramkarran, Joe Singh, Lawrence Latchmansingh, Chris Ram, Rhyaan Shah, Ravi Dev, Gerry Gouveia, etc. can feel comfortable in becoming a member of the Civic without appearing as a member or supporter of the PPP. There is no doubt their presence in the Civic in an alliance would carry the PPP to victory. In fact, such an alliance would win a landslide victory, especially if led by one of these figures (particularly Ramkarran or Joe Singh or Gouveia) all of whom enjoy huge support across the political divide, and in whom people have a lot of confidence for the restoration of good governance and ethnic equality.But will the PPP heed good advice or wise counsel? The PPP must heed Ori’s advice and rethink its strategy for 2020: embrace all, including critics and detractors. The party needs to take bold steps and loosen the Civic component to its appellation and alliance, so that respected professionals and individuals of integrity would feel comfortable in joining the Civic.Yours faithfully,Vishnu Bisramlast_img