|PNM supporters at Monday's meeting in Chaguanas|
Ojah-Maharaj is a prominent member of the Hindu community. So is Bose Sharma, who has charged that Rolwey is divisive and that under his leadership Indians have not been welcome in the party. Sharma heads a group called "To Preserve the Balisier" and has said the group will support Pennelope Beckles-Robinson in the May 18 leadership election because she is the better candidate.
But Ojah-Maharaj doesn't share that view and said Rowley is the leader who can mend fences and end racial politics in the country. "So this myth that the PNM does not make provisions for Indo-Trinidadians, I want to debunk that tonight," he told supporters.
“Dr Rowley does not see ethnicity. Tobagonians do not see ethnicity. I work with Rennie Dumas. I work with (Stanford) Callender. I work with Dr Rowley, as a deputy political leader, and I understand the man’s commitment to this nation," he added.
"He is the person who would harmonise this nation. When he becomes Prime Minister and political leader there will no racial division in this country. I can give you that assurance.”
Two polls commissioned by a group opposed to Rowley have suggested that with Beckles-Robinson as leader the PNM could win more seats in 2015 than if Rowley led the party.
Rowley and his supporters have rejected that as a cheap political distraction. The party's PRO, Faris Al-Rawi, told local media his side is doing daily polls that show Rowley is "head and shoulders above everyone heading to victory." But he didn't share details of the polls.
One of the people behind the anti-Rowley polls is former Senate President Danny Montano. "We had been looking at T&T for a while and what the alternatives are and what should be done and the group considered a poll," Montano said.
He doesn't share the views expressed by Ojah-Maharaj. "I’m firm in my mind Penny is the one who will unite the party and T&T and can lead us out of the mess we are in," he told the Guardian newspaper.
“It’s never been this bad," he added. "I have never been involved in grassroots politics and I am not now, neither have I ever been an activist but I felt I could not stand idly by and do nothing...I feel she (Beckles-Robinson) can lead us forward and I will do what I can to support her."