Battle rages for soul of the MF

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Independent Newspapers

Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi says she will be in the temple on her birthday, while senior Minority Front members will be convening a party meeting where she says they will attempt to oust her as party leader.Picture: Puri Devjee

Durban - Attempts to usurp leadership in the Minority Front started even before the death of its founder Amichand Rajbansi, his widow and current MF leader Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi has claimed.

She said that as soon as the man dubbed “The Tiger” by his followers fell ill, there was an attempt to elect Member of Parliament Roy Bhoola as an interim leader.

“While Mr Rajbansi was in ICU [intensive care] they called a conference to elect an interim leader. In fact, Mr Bhoola called it; he wanted to become leader because they had reached a conclusion that our leader was not going to get well and they were sending out wrong information that he was wheelchairbound and everything,” Thakur-Rajbansi said.

But Bhoola denied the allegation on Monday, saying that Thakur-Rajbansi was “dreaming and delusional”.

Thakur-Rajbansi was speaking to the Daily News on Monday as some senior party members – including Bhoola – were finalising plans to convene a conference of the party on Saturday, where they plan to vote her out of her position.

But she would not be attending the conference as she believed it was nothing but an act of provocation.

“Saturday is my birthday, and they know this, which is why they chose it to try to get rid of me. It shows how provocative these men can be. I will be in the temple while they are deciding my fate.”

Bhoola said the conference was not his idea, but one supported by the majority of the MF’s public representatives.

“Thakur-Rajbansi continues to maintain an illegal hold, an illegitimate hold over the party leadership,” he said.

Thakur-Rajbansi said she was not at all worried about her position and felt no man in the MF could “match” her.

“They cannot match me, not in skill, not in strength, not in vitality, not in brains… But I cannot match them in their bad ways.”

She continued: “I am not threatened because I am not at that level. I am talking chalk and cheese here. If you want me to feel threatened, let me compete with a person who is worth it…”

Thakur-Rajbansi said those behind the attempts to unseat her had violated every rule in the party, not because they wanted to serve the party, but (because) they wanted to control the party purse and do as they pleased.

“The MF has become a scapegoat to pay everyone’s debt. I work every day for my living and don’t have to wait for any inheritance.”

She also took aim at Rajbansi’s son, Vimal, who has also expressed a desire to step in and “save” the MF after concerns about leadership.

“I cannot be judged by the biggest failure in life,” she said of Vimal.

“I am not a Mickey Mouse leader and I am not here to destroy the legacy of Mr Rajbansi… I will not have people that Mr Rajbansi never even looked to for advice.”

Thakur-Rajbansi said all those who were rebelling against her were doing so because they wanted to hang on to their positions at all cost.

Vimal said he supported the idea of holding a conference to elect a new leader, as he believed that the MF would never grow under the leadership of his stepmother.

“I am not interested in any position, but interested in protecting the hard work of my father. Shameen Thakur has failed the people whom my father served,” he said.

She said that most of the councillors started revolting because she had introduced strict monitoring and evaluation of their performance.

Thakur-Rajbansi had tried to remove three councillors in eThekwini this year while an attempt was also made to remove Bhoola from the National Assembly.

But Bhoola and the councillors successfully approached the courts to have their expulsions overturned.

She said Bhoola had to be removed as he was only expected to serve half of his five-year term, with the remainder to be served by party stalwart Margaret Rajbally.

Both had been MPs from 2005 and the term-sharing deal was reached after the MF could only muster one seat after the 2009 elections, she claimed.

“We’re not in a business of creating jobs for friends or family”. But Bhoola challenged Thakur-Rajbansi to produce such an agreement in writing. - Daily News


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