“Un opportuniste et un bateleur de la politique.” It is hard to find better words to qualify political actions of one who changes colour. Dr Millien has been realist enough to find that people may take him for an opportunist. For certain they will. What else has he been throughout his political career?
The Dr Millien who used to stand on the trade union platform of Anquetil and Rozemont from where he was glorified veered round and openly proclaimed that in Mauritius people use the trade union movement for political purposes. Rozemont had succeeded in unmasking him early in life and had expulsed him from the Labour Party in 1948. In 1951 our “Socialiste Indépendant” joined the Conservatives so that he might be elected as member of the Executive Council but in 1953 he had again changed his ideology.
He was again a member of the Labour Party and presented himself for the elections under Labour’s banner. He was elected, yet he was neither a staunch supporter of the Party nor a stickler to its principles. To him, being a member of the Labour Party was to reach the uppermost rung of the political ladder. And the comrades who helped him to climb up are today in his eyes no more than “politiciens fanatiques ou aveugles”.
Dr Millien glorifies himself in biting the hand that fed him. These very fanatical and blind politicians made him Mayor in 1957 — the first time that Labour was in power at the Municipality and Minister — the highest glory a politician can aspire to.
Though he has left the Labour Party, Dr Millien still proclaims himself a socialist. It is difficult to understand how he can claim to be a socialist, he who was lately prosecuted as Mayor for paying less labourers at the Municipality of their wages, he who opposed to the legitimate demands of the Midland tea workers for better wages, he who arbitrarily cancelled the TUC course which was elaborately planned and from which the trade unionists would have gained so much. Today he has left the Labour Party to stand at the forthcoming elections as “Socialist Indépendant”. Dr Millien cannot fool the people all the time. His actions in the past have completely shown him up. Leaving the Labour Party, which stands for socialist principles, to stand as an independent candidate is not the mark of socialism.
Dr Millien has left the Labour Party not because of an ideology but because he felt that his election in Constituency No. 2 would not be easy. He had ever been the bitter opponent of Mr Mohamed and that could only have the inevitable effect of alienating the 876 Muslims in that Constituency. It would have been hard for the 1,200 Hindus in that Constituency to vote for him after his repeated contemptuous declarations against them. And the workers of Port Louis have little reason to like him. He had managed to alienate everybody against him. In these circumstances what else could he do than give up the Labour Party and stand somewhere where he hopes better chances would favour him. In his case party loyalty and socialist principles could serve as no barrier.
Will the electorate of Rose Hill return Dr Millien? Everything pleads against him. The Parti Mauricien has no mean candidate in Dr Ythier. The Labour Party will have its own candidate. Dr Millien will be crushed in between. Politics in modern times has little or no room for independent candidates and Mauritius is no exception. Opportunity may have helped him in the past. But Dr Millien has overstepped the limits. The old political strategist has at last caught himself in meshes of his own making. There is no doubt that the electorate of Rose-Hill will reject him.
And the trouble with Dr Millien is that he has reached a stage in his life when he thinks he is infallible, when he fools himself in believing that he is the master of all he surveys. He thinks he has learned enough and that is the fatal mistakes of politicians. It is therefore natural that he should hurry to the end of his political career.
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At 2 pm on Sunday His Worship the Mayor of Port Louis, Mr Guy Forget, will unveil a life-size statue of Manilal Doctor at the Company’s Garden, Port Louis. By so doing Mr Forget will but immortalize a man who redeemed the workers of this country and who certainly has today a place in every worker’s heart.
It is hardly necessary to recall that Manilal Doctor was the man by whose determination to split the shackles of slavery with which the Indian immigrants were bound that the great struggles for the emancipation of workers were sparked off. If he were alive today he would have certainly realised to what extent his mission has been successful.
We therefore appeal to every worker to whatever community he may belong to make it a point to pay his homage to a great leader by attending the ceremony on Sunday which will henceforth be regarded as one of the glowing dates in the history of Mauritian workers.
We wish also to express the workers’ gratitude to the Manilal Memorial Committee which has left no stone unturned to perpetuate the memory of a man who laid down his life for the uplift of the downtrodden. It is not always good to live too much in the past but we cannot afford not to be grateful to the past.
May we hope that Dr Millien and those of his group will not find in our attitude a communalist tendency.
6th Year – No 233 Friday 30th January 1959
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 7 July 2023
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