THE National Federation Party's biggest mistake was in forming a coalition with the then Soqosoqo Vakavulewa ni Taukei party to contest the 1999 general election.
This is the view of NFP's former parliamentarian Maan Singh who has now retired from politics and will not contest the September general election.
Mr Singh aired his views while commenting on the Social Democratic Liberal Party's decision not to include Sitiveni Rabuka in its line-up of candidates this year.
"I understand that SODELPA dumped Mr Rabuka because of his involvement in the 1987 coup. If it was for some other reason, then it would have been OK," he said.
Mr Singh claims "almost all the indigenous community supported" Rabuka during the 1987 coup, which included the Methodist Church and the Great Council of Chiefs.
"Mr Rabuka was treated like a demi-god then while the Indo-Fijian community went through a lot of sufferings.
"No indigenous organisation said anything then."
Mr Singh asked if there was a change of heart now, as SODELPA had decided not to give Mr Rabuka a ticket to contest the election.
"However, it's good to see SODELPA condemning coups. It appears that iTaukei leaders have realised now that they shouldn't support coups.
"Mr Rabuka was a hero in 1987 and we (NFP) made the mistake of forming a coalition with his SVT Party to contest the 1999 general election.
"We were dumped by our voters and we haven't recovered since then," said Mr Singh.
The Fiji Labour Party had a landslide victory in the 1999 general election while the NFP did not win any seat.
However, the NFP is determined that it will be a part of the new government after the September general election.
At a press conference yesterday, NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said the party was a "new look" one as it prepared for the election.