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Om on St Joseph by-election: I am not withdrawing
Despite the ILP’s loss in Monday’s local government elections, ILP St Joseph by-election candidate Om Lalla is not withdrawing from the by-election. “Win, lose or draw, I am proceeding. I have no thought of withdrawing at this stage since I would achieve nothing,” Lalla said yesterday, acknowledging his credibility will be affected by any withdrawal. He spoke following speculation by political analysts on Monday night whether ILP’s defeat in the local government elections might lead it to withdraw its St Joseph by-election candidate.
But yesterday Lalla said although there was a lower turnout in Monday’s local government poll than in 2010 and although the PNM won, it did not mean there was mass contentment with any of the parties involved in Monday’s election. Lalla added: “I think St Joseph will be an interesting testing ground for parties and candidates. There will be tribal responses in some areas, sure, but there is also an emerging discontented group that has not participated and that will still be the people who determine how the politics goes in T&T.
“A lot of reports indicate the St Joseph by-election will attract more attention than Monday’s local government poll in defining how the politics goes.” Lalla said he still believed his initial projection that the St Joseph race would be a PNM-ILP contest. He met with ILP leader Jack Warner on the by-election yesterday. He begins walkabouts in St Joseph this afternoon. ILP chairman Robin Montano said as far as he was concerned there was “no way we are withdrawing in St Joseph.”
UNC St Joseph co-ordinator Ganga Singh, on queries whether Lalla should withdraw, said: “Mr Lalla is a thinking man and I have no doubt he would recognise the political reality of his situation. “It’s also clear from Monday’s local government results the ILP is a ‘midwife’ delivering seats to the PNM and they have to recognise that role. A lot of ILP’s votes delivered corporation seats in San Juan/Laventille to the PNM on Monday, since PP’s vote was split in that area, for instance.
“But our fight is with the PNM and our supporters who went to the ILP should now recognise the ILP’s ‘midwife’ assistance for the PNM and they should come back ‘home’.”
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