Letter: Jagdeo and Irfaan remain enormously popular

President Dr Irfaan Ali and Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Dear Editor,

One should not attach much meaning to the ranking of the PPP Central Committee vote at its Congress. President Ali is ranked number one, higher than party leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who is number two, as the vote at the PPP Congress revealed. The two are a team. The Congress was held earlier this month at the Convention Center.

As was reported, Ali received 51 votes more than Jagdeo, suggesting he was more popular than Jagdeo, at least among the delegates. The fact that he received more votes in Congress does not mean he is more liked or popular among voters nationally. The same holds for Central Committee members ranked lower down the order among the 35.

Jagdeo and Irfaan are a partnership, a powerful tag team that is very difficult to unseat from power.

My conversations revealed that Irfaan is more liked than Jagdeo among certain categories or groups of voters, such as Muslims and Africans. I travelled around the country last week, and again last February, November, October, August, and May, to conduct surveys on popularity and various contemporary issues. I can attest that both Irfaan and Jagdeo are enormously popular, almost equally among the population, especially among supporters of the PPP.

Jagdeo had a slightly higher popularity than Irfaan, who has been lagging behind Jagdeo among Hindus.

With regards to the Central Committee (CC) vote, I am not familiar with the process of selection of delegates to attend the Congress, the number of delegates in attendance, the conduct of the voting, and who has the right to vote. Thus, I cannot comment on your criticism of the process.

One should not attach much meaning to the fact that Irfaan scored higher than Jagdeo — number one and Jagdeo number 2 — from the vote at the Congress. Jagdeo was re-elected General Secretary or leader of the party, remaining the boss, suggesting he was number one in the party in terms of power. He is the undisputed leader of the PPP, and will lead the campaign for the incumbent party at next year’s general elections.

The Jagdeo/Irfaan team is formidable and not easy to defeat, certainly not by an opposition led by Aubrey Norton, who has virtually no support among crossover voters.

One should also not be misled by the ranking of several other members of the Central Committee. You mentioned, for example, that the Congress vote showed Anil Nandlall surprisingly ranked lower than several individuals who have very low appeal among voters nationally. Nandlall remains extremely well-liked nationally, as does Zulfikar Mustapha, who is ranked number 3 and Vickram Bharrat ranked number 4 among others.

Nigel Dharamlall, on the other hand, as do several other CC members, has serious challenges among voters.

Yours truly,
Dr Vishnu Bisram