The Fiji Labour Party is very pleased with its landslide victory in the by-election for the Labasa Rural Indian Communal constituency seat.
In the first ever one day poll, FLP’s Mohammed Rafiq scooped the highest number of votes with 4347 votes, National Federation Party’s Charan Jeath Singh collected 1211 votes, Subrail Gounder of SDL collected 525 votes, Dildar Shah of Justice and Freedom collected 138 votes and Independent Tazil Mohammed collected 58 votes.
There were 18 polling stations within the constituency with 10,973 voters. Of these, 7255 votes were cast with 976 invalid votes and 6279 valid votes. The absolute majority required 3141 votes.
“The win was of course anticipated and is a re-endorsement of our continuing strong support among the electorate. I would like to thank all workers, FLP supporters and the voters of Labasa for maintaining this strong support for the Party,” Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said.
It is quite clear from the results that the voters have categorically rejected the SDL Party and its vote buying tactics.
The SDL government should see this as a vote against its discriminatory policies vis a vis the Indian community, the Prime Minister’s failure to resolve the land lease issue and his withdrawal of the $28,000 grant to displaced farmers that had been introduced by the People’s Coalition Government.
The $10,000 farming assistance grant promised by the SDL has not materialised, either, in most cases.
People in the North are also very unhappy that little has been done by the government to assist and rehabilitate victims of Cyclone Ami. People whose houses were blown away by the cyclone are still waiting for government assistance.
They are not going to be fooled by election-time promises of scholarships , bore holes and decent roads. The North is in a state of decline and decadence but the government has done nothing to assist the people in their time of difficulty or to help revive the depressed economy of the region.
The SDL government’s budgetary measures to increase VAT to 12.5% and to raise the price of food and everyday consumer items by increasing duty on them has exposed it as a party that penalises the poor.
People, the poor and disadvantaged of all races, sees the SDL government as utterly insensitive to the hardship facing the ordinary workers, the farmers and the poor but panders to the rich and the powerful.
As for the National Federation Party, this is the third time it has been categorically rejected by the Indian community in as many years. It should get the message by now.
Mr. Chaudhry has expressed concern at the large numbers of voters who were turned away because their names did not appear on the roll.
“This is a denial of the their right to vote and I intend to take this up seriously with the Supervisor of Elections,” Mr. Chaudhry said.
He also expressed concern at the large number of invalid votes.