Akash Samaroo interviews UNC leadership challenger Vasant Bharath on the party’s internal election at CNC3 studio, GML Building, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain on Thursday.

The current United National Congress is mired in divisive tactics, this is the view of aspirant to the party’s political leadership post, Vasant Bharath.

In an interview on CNC3 on Thursday evening, Bharath said the incumbent leader frequently relied on a strategy of division.

“Our politics has changed, we have to change we have to understand a level of maturity,” he said.

“This issue of elitism and knife and fork Indian, because they’re twinned, has really come about because of politicians like Mrs Bissessar who attempt to continue to divide the population.”

He added: “So if you can’t divide them between African and Indian, you divide them between 1 per cent and 99 per cent, you divide them between caste and class or you divide them between knife and fork Indian and the others.”

Earlier, the former cabinet minister explained the change of heart by former UNC member and Independent Liberal Party leader Jack Warner, who endorsed him for the leadership post.

“Jack reached out to me a few weeks ago, he felt my writings over the last four or five years based on my outspoken sentiment with regard to the collective failure of the PNM government in many respects and many aspects based on the fact that the opposition has been dormant for the last five years and lost a general election,” he said.

“I think Jack Warner was mature enough to have changed his mind as to my ability to lead the party so therefore he reached out about two weeks ago asking if he could support and how he could support.”

Bharath said the recent images which depicted him as the People’s National Movement candidate for UNC leader, which he said came directly “from the heart of the leadership of the UNC.”

Barath also distanced himself from claims that he campaigned for the PNM, explaining that the photograph of him standing behind Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters during the general election campaign earlier this year came about because the PNM member took it upon himself to come to a meeting he had arranged with pineapple farmers in Moruga.

Bharath also defended his stance on the platform which suggested that he initially supported the Opposition’s decision to oppose the anti-gang, then switched his tone claiming that the Opposition put the country at risk by abstaining from the vote to extend the legislation.

He also addressed criticism regarding the ethnic composition on his slate, stating that he was not about tokenism but rather inclusion.

He, however, said that prospective candidates who would have brought that diversity were warned from doing so by senior members of the United National Congress.