BY RADHICA SOOKRAJ
FORMER Couva South MP Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj is set to fight the Tabaquite seat on a UNC Alliance ticket in the upcoming general election.
UNC leader Basdeo Panday, who had been seeking a safe seat for Maharaj to contest in the November 5 election, finally settled on the Tabaquite seat for the attorney.
Yesterday, Panday ended speculation that Naparima MP Nizam Baksh had been axed to make way for Maharaj.
In a change of heart, Panday decided to retain Baksh to fight the Naparima seat and has instead put Maharaj in the Tabaquite seat—now held by incumbent Adesh Nanan—to fight against Congress of the People’s (COP) Anand Ramlogan.
Nanan has agreed to drop out of the election race.
Party insiders said Nanan was offered a post as a UNC senator instead.
Panday’s latest decision came as Naparima constituents expressed discontent over plans to remove Baksh in order to make way for Maharaj.
Sources said many volunteers had already dropped out from the election committee in that constituency.
Baksh: I had no problem giving Ramesh my seat
In an interview outside the Barrackpore Asja mosque yesterday, Baksh told reporters he had no problem giving up his seat for Maharaj.
He said Maharaj had contributed to T&T’s development.
Baksh said he had already put his election machinery into high gear in Naparima and had been able to mobilise massive support across the constituency.
He also said he was ready and willing to assist Maharaj with his campaign.
“I don’t want to go down the route that (Kenneth) Valley took,” Baksh said.
“Mr Panday spoke to me and he said that he had three or four possible seats that Mr Maharaj could contest, Naparima being one of them.
“I offered up my seat for Maharaj...I thought it was the gentlemanly thing to do.”
A smiling Baksh said he was willing to sacrifice his safe seat for Maharaj, whom he described as a dynamic force and one who would be able to win any seat that he contested for the UNC Alliance.
“I am sensible enough to make any sacrifice for the party...It was Mr Panday who encouraged me to fight this seat and I will help Maharaj,” he said.
While he spoke to reporters, Baksh said he got a call on his cellphone from Panday, giving him the all clear as a candidate to fight the seat.
NAPARIMA SUPPORTERS DELIGHTED
Several supporters expressed happiness upon hearing the news about Baksh.
Imam Ogeer Mohammed said: “Mr Baksh has done so much for Naparima. Flooding, now, is a thing of the past. We have better roads, a distance learning centre, computer literacy courses.”
He also said Baksh was instrumental in uniting Muslim, Hindu and Christian brothers in the area.
Another supporter Shafiyat Ali said: “We are happy. Mr Baksh is an excellent representative and I will be working with him as a volunteer.”
Candace Samaroo of Lower Barrackpore said the UNC Alliance would have lost votes if Baksh was replaced, as he had earned the respect of the Naparima people.
Well all the fockin time ah thought if it was one seat that the COP coulda get was that one in Tabaquite. Because of that cont Adesh Nanan.
Well the good news now is that Ramesh is the man that will take on Anand. Now ah feel sorry for Anand. All the time ah thought that he would have been the lone wolf sitting in Parliment with the other two parties.
Ah tell all yuh that he was caught fockin ah goat as ah youngster. News News News. Its true the Police had conducted an investigated.