When Dr. Cheddie Jagan faced his first major leadership challenge in the PPP, he resorted to the rigging of elections. This is according to Dr. Baytoram Ramharack in his book, ‘Against the Grain’, where he documents the failed attempts of Balram Singh Rai to become the Chairman of the PPP.

Rai was eventually expelled by the Jagans because he refused to retract his statement that insisted that the Jagans rigged the party elections in 1962 to choreograph their preferred outcome of having Brindley Benn as the party’s Chairman.

Balram Singh Rai was born on the Corentyne and achieved a long list of academic credentials and was a respected member of the PPP. He rose to the position of Minister of Home Affairs and was extremely popular among the rank and file members of the PPP.

The only mistake he made was to show his ambitions to lead the PPP, this resulted in the wanton rigging of the party’s internal elections in 1962. As reported in the book based on the credible testimony of Balram Singh Rai, the Jagans were determined to ensure that Rai never rises to the leadership of the PPP. In service of that interest, the foulest elections ever held in British Guiana occurred.

In a statement after the rigged elections of 1962, Rai issued the following statement in April, 1962:

The PPP elections just concluded were the foulest ever held in British Guiana. Fraud and coercion were its dominant features.

Dozens of genuine delegates from the party groups were discredited while many others supporting the present clique were accredited while not entitled to be delegated status. Several persons were given more than one ballot paper’

Further, he officially declared that the PPP is unqualified to speak about democracy in a subsequent statement. Rai declared:

Truly, Dr’ Jagan and the other ‘Leaders’ of the PPP should hang their heads in shame. No longer should they speak of democracy, no longer should they complain of unfair elections or gerrymandered constituents’

Over the years, the PPP has pinned rigged elections on other parties and has created the myth of rigged elections while distancing themselves, but the story of Balram Singh Rai proves that rigged elections are a permanent part of the culture of the PPP.

More, In The Ring.