VASANT Bharath is denying he has switched political allegiance from the United National Congress (UNC) to the People’s National Movement (PNM).
Bharath, who is part of the government’s roadmap to economic recovery committee, was forced to defend his loyalty to his party after a video was circulated on social media. It showed him standing behind his former Cabinet colleague, now contender for the Moruga Tableland seat for the PNM Winston Gypsy Peters. Peters appeared to be campaigning.
However, Bharath – a former UNC MP and minister – took to Facebook to dismiss the circulation of the video as pure mischief.
“Friends,” he wrote, “there appears to be a lot of mischief making in the cooking pot as the election fire heats up. There is currently a video doing the rounds suggesting that I am campaigning for the PNM in the Moruga/Tableland Constituency.
“Nothing could be further from the truth.”
He explained his visit to Moruga last Friday was solely to meet with the Tableland Pineapple Farmers on how they could use the Moruga agro- processing facility.
“Mr Winston Peters turned up as a guest of the president and addressed the farmers.”
Before the 2015 general election, Peters left the UNC, after serving as culture minister in the PP Administration under Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
He has recently joined the PNM and has been selected to contest the seat previously held by Dr Lovell Francis, Minister in the Ministry of Education.
Bharath said over 50 farmers can attest to his presence at the meeting and his reason for being there.
“ I made it very clear that we sat on different sides of the political divide and I was not there in any political capacity but only to assist them with understanding how the facilities could be taken advantage of and how they should ready themselves to serve both the local and export markets.”
He said present at the meeting were also representatives of the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott), the Estate Management and Business Development Company (EMBD) and Evolving Tecknologies and Enterprise Development Company (Eteck).
It was “regrettable”, he said, that because of “the myopic, prejudiced and jaundiced views of some” he had to defend his presence at the meeting.
Immediately afterwards, he said, “I went to Barrackpore to meet with another group of farmers in the Cunjal area who I am assisting with issues of praedial larceny, electricity connection, land tenure and obtaining firearm licences.
“I know this is silly season where emotions run high and common sense and rational (thought) are thrown out of the window but let not silly be turned into stupid.”