Vasant Bharath

Vasant Bharath, right, speaks to attorney Larry Lalla and former Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial during the official launch of Bharath’s campaign for the position of political leader of the United National Congress yesterday at “Campaign Headquarters”, Cyrus Trace, El Socorro. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

Vasant Bharath has conceded defeat at the United National Congress (UNC) internal election and issued an appeal to Kamla Persad-Bissessar to embrace all and rebuild party.

"Members of United National Congress have voted in the National Executive election, and the Lotus Team accepts their decision. We congratulate the Star Team of candidates, led by incumbent Ms. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and wish them all success during their term of office," he stated on Sunday night after preliminary figures showed victory for Persad-Bissessar.

In a statement, shared by Bharath's supporter team member Devant Maharaj, Bharath urged Persad-Bissessar to embrace all and rebuild the party.

"With the electoral process behind us, I urge all party members not to engage in recriminations. Antagonism and reproach would only harm an organisation that requires the commitment and united purpose of all its human resources in order to displace the failed PNM at the next general election," he stated.

"I implore Ms. Persad-Bissessar to embrace and integrate all party supporters and sympathisers in the essential organisational restructuring that is required if the UNC is to become a viable political force," he added.

Bharath stated that a major initial assignment should be to determine why there is such apathy among members, as evidenced by the abysmally low voter turnout.

He stated that it is instructive that 19 UNC Members of Parliament could only motivate a tiny minority of members to participate in the electoral process.

Bharath stated that a first measure in removing the PNM from national office must be to inspire the UNC’s ground troops to the party’s cause.

Bharath stated he and his team are willing to work with Persad-Bissessar.

"We offer to be of assistance in the urgent and extensive exercise of rebuilding and renewing the UNC," he stated.

He extended his gratitude to all Lotus supporters.

Bharath reiterated the irregularities in the internal election which his team had warned about.

He stated many were not allowed to vote.

Bharath stated there were cases of Persad-Bissessar's team members being prominent and active campaigner while also performing as Presiding Officers.

"Revised lists of electors were provided only to candidates and activists of the Star Team. There were many cases of voters being verbally abused, bullied and intimidated at polling stations," he stated.

Bharath stated that paraphernalia of the Start Team were distributed within the precincts of some polling stations.

He added there are several other documented examples of electoral irregularities.

"It is most ironic that these gross abnormalities took place at the hands of an incumbent Political Leader who had lobbied for independent observers for the August 10 general election," he stated.

"Further, the leader had declined to concede defeat in the general election and had claimed for several days that there were electoral irregularities," he stated.

Bharath stated that for weeks before the election, Team Lotus had publicly complained about the absence of transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

He stated their documented objections were never addressed.

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