If he emerges successful Vasant Bharath has revealed that his main aim as political leader would be to revive and rebuild the United National Congress (UNC).
He also said he would also ensure that there is a place for Kamla Persad-Bissessar in the party.
In outlining his plan at a virtual meeting on Wednesday night, Bharath expressed disappointment in what he said was the UNC’s inability to garner support outside party lines as well as what he termed a shrinking base.
Flanked by former ODPM (Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management) CEO Dr Stephen Ramroop, former Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial, Attorney Larry Lalla and radio talk show host Barrington ‘Skippy’ Thomas, Bharath cited a remarkable drop in support in the August General Elections.
“I say our ever-shrinking base because in every single one of our heartland constituencies, whether it’s Siparia, whether it’s Naparima, Couva North, Couva South, Oropouche East, Oropouche West; look at the figures yourselves, we have lost 2 and 3 thousand votes in each of our heartland constituencies. What that tells us is that even our own supporters, even our own people are no longer interested,” Bharath said.
To this end, he said a lot of work needs to be done in strengthening the organs of the party.
“Everywhere I have been there are no party groups in this country for the UNC, none, zero; there are none.”
He added that constituency executives are non-functional.
He also said there are no meetings of the national congress, the women’s arm or the youth arm.
He said his plan is not only to fix this and retain the support of party faithful but to “expand the UNC into a truly national party.”
Bharath cited Tobago, which the UNC did not contest in 2020, as a place where tremendous work has to be done.
He said the party once had thousands of members on the island and “today in Tobago West and in Tobago East in total we have less than 20 members of the United National Congress.
But even as he wants to take over the helm of the party he indicated that he has no desire to leave anyone behind, including incumbent political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, a person he said still has a part to play in the party going forward.
“Tonight I want to assure everyone that is looking on that there will always be a place in the United National Congress for Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, either in an advisory capacity or role or in her current role as Leader of the Opposition.”
He once again expressed his desire to help the party in any way possible even before the election on December 6.
So far Bharath is the only person challenging Persad-Bissessar for the leadership of the party.