2 December, 2020

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A Government Sinking Under The Weight Of Incompetence

By A. Ilango

The Opposition’s election rally held in Nallur on 30th December was attended by a large crowd that came spontaneously. By contrast Rajapaksa’s rally held on the Jaffna esplanade on 2nd January involved a huge effort and bribery, using the government machinery in Jaffna and all those given jobs in government and public institutions over several years on political quotas. Being on call by their political bosses for occasions like this is more important than their duties in assigned places of work. The result has been a steep rise in lack of initiative, incompetence and indifference.

Rats in the sinking ship?

On 2nd January a forum styled Momentum was organised by the Government at Tilko City Hotel facing the esplanade for which academics and professionals were invited and asked to be seated by 9.00 AM. Apart from the President and his secretary, the main speaker was Prof. Balasundarampillai, a former VC of Jaffna University and member of the Council. Speakers claimed credit for the student from Jaffna who topped the A. Levels in Mathematics, for getting that there had been outstanding performances when students had to study by the light of kerosene lamps during the 1990s. One speaker promised to make Jaffna the educational hub of Sri Lanka – though how it could be do

Douglas and Rajapaksa

Douglas and Rajapaksa

ne given the dead weight resulting from the recruitment of poor quality academics under Balasundarampillai’s vice-chancellorship, which continues to this day, was not explained.

Usually at such functions, university persons, several of whom have secured prominence by being more than willing to take political instructions from Ministers Devananda and S.B. Dissanayake, would have participated prominently. But at the Momentum function the University’s presence as seen in the television footage was very low key. Only one professor of Agriculture was listed among the speakers.

Samurdhi Recipients

What was of greater significance was the President’s address of Samurdhi recipients that was arranged to make the occasion a grand show. It demonstrated the political cost of running a government using automatons with no sense of purpose, no concern for people, no use for their intelligence and no imagination, who could only function as menials on elementary instructions.

The idea seemed to some a sure route to election victory. People who wanted hand outs had been asked to come to Samurdhi offices that are meant to help the poor to make a living. They were promised Rs. 10,000 each, 2500 upon registration and the balance 7500 after their attendance was marked at Rajapaksa’s election rally. They were literally treated like cattle. On the morning of the 2nd they were to be bussed for the rally. All CTB buses that are crucial for public transport were commandeered for this purpose. From early in the morning the crowds were bussed, the later ones getting there by 9.30 AM. Many had understood that they would be given the balance Rs. 7500 when they marked attendance at the rally. They were told that the sum would be paid at some future date.

The disorganization was evident from the start. Many of the people had been told that they would meet the President at Veerasingam Hall, just east of Tilco. That is the Cooperative Hall with decent seating and the people thought they would actually meet the President. They did not take account of the heat of the sun and had left behind their umbrellas, for as it turned out they were herded into Duraiappah Stadium, where cover and seating was provided for only a small fraction of the huge crowd of mainly elderly men, women and children. Others did not have chairs and many could not even enter the stadium. They mainly sat on newspapers in the sun outside the boundary fence.

By the time the President came to address them it was 11.30 AM and by then the people were dreadfully tired, especially those who were left in the sun. This can be seen even in the official photographs of those seated under cover. Most of the people hardly got a glimpse of the President.

The numbers were huge, well over 10,000, 15 bus loads or about 1200 people from Karainagar alone. Refreshment, plastic bags containing bottled water, milk and buns, was brought in lorries. But there were no means to distribute these to the milling crowd. There was a rush and the distribution became disorganised. Many could not even get there. The refreshment bags were then thrown into the crowd. In the resulting crush people got hurt, one girl who was almost asphyxiated was rushed to the hospital for emergency care according to local media reports.

The result was an anti-climax. Unable to bear the heat people started leaving by around mid-day well before the end of the meeting, finding their own transport. Normal commuters were left cursing, such as office workers and those who had to go to distant places like Udupiddy for funerals or other urgent business. Many stayed at home for the fear of being stranded.

Many were angry about the whole affair. The folk in the North have been affected by the war and lack job opportunities, means of getting into a viable trade and generally lack opportunity for upward mobility. Owing to this they face a dilemma when they are given promises and are asked to come for political functions. They see no other way out. One cannot say how they would vote and one must sympathise with them. But one could guess that a significant number would vote for the Opposition.

Jaffna folk have long been isolated from serious political discussion. However the fact that there was going to be genuine competition in this election, and the result would affect them, had awakened interest mainly among younger persons. One could see many of them wanting to do something about changing the government. If such interest increases the TNA would start feeling the heat. Having declared its support for the Opposition, it has done next to nothing on politically educating the people, something perhaps it never did.

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  • 3
    0

    A. Ilango –

    RE:A Government Sinking Under The Weight Of Incompetence

    And as a result the people are suffering..courtsey of Medamulana Mahinda Rajapaksa (MaRa) their Shills, Cronies and others

    “The Opposition’s election rally held in Nallur on 30th December was attended by a large crowd that came spontaneously. By contrast Rajapaksa’s rally held on the Jaffna esplanade on 2nd January involved a huge effort and bribery, using the government machinery in Jaffna and all those given jobs in government and public institutions over several years on political quotas.”

    The People Vs. the MaRa State.

    “The idea seemed to some a sure route to election victory. People who wanted hand outs had been asked to come to Samurdhi offices that are meant to help the poor to make a living. They were promised Rs. 10,000 each, 2500 upon registration and the balance 7500 after their attendance was marked at Rajapaksa’s election rally. They were literally treated like cattle. On the morning of the 2nd they were to be bussed for the rally. All CTB buses that are crucial for public transport were commandeered for this purpose. From early in the morning the crowds were bussed, the later ones getting there by 9.30 AM. Many had understood that they would be given the balance Rs. 7500 when they marked attendance at the rally. They were told that the sum would be paid at some future date.”

    Promises, promises “the sum would be paid at some future date.” Politicians Promising…at election time…

  • 3
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    Rajapaksa’s minions in Jaffna are treating the poor tamil people like cattle. I hope all those who were deceived to attend the meeting will vote for Mr Sirisena.

  • 3
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    This article touches only the start. The proceedings of the meeting were really laughable!

    Mr Thavarasa, the leader of opposition of Northern Provincial Council deleivered an unprepared drivel. He was not suere where he was. He was attacking Sarath Fonseka in the meetings. He mentioned that Sarath Fonseka spoke in Kittu Park (named after LTTE’s Jaffna commander), then corrected to Subramaniyam Park. He listed a series of ‘bad things’ on Sarath Fonseka, but concluded the sentences as if Mahinda Rajapakse did all of them.

    Douglas Devananda labelled himself as an ‘arasiyal pooraali’. The word poraalai means rebel, but is typically used for the members of the Tamil rebel movements (such as LTTE, TELO, EPDP). He meat to say that rather than an armed rebel (using weapons as a means) he is using politics (arasiyal) to get ‘there’. Then, he laballed Mahinda Rajapaksa as opposition common candidate.

    The MC was trying real, real, real hard with all kinds of techniques to get some applause for Mahinda, but people never bothered to even clap. Compared to the cheer for Prabaharan when Chandrika Kumaratunge mentined his name, Mahinda got NOTHING!

    Then, there are news stories in the local Tamil media and Internet that there was an assault on Thayananda (the brother of Douglas Devananda) by the Ankajan Ramanathan’s supporters, andThayananada was taken to hospital with injuries. Reason? Daouglas group wanted to show the whole crowd as HIS people (remember that EPDP’s red – yellow – green flags were distributed in Jaffna station when Yarl Devi was launched), but Ankajan group distributed SLFP T-shirts. When Thayananda tried to stop that he was allegedly assaulted.

    Poor mahinda did not bother to go to Kankesanthurai for the arrival of Yarl Devi. I read somewhere that the track work has not been compeleted yet for a safe travel, but the train was launched for political reasons.

    More to come over next few days, I suppose.

  • 3
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    It is very evident the people in the very enthusiastic to support Maithree, Forcing people to attend meeting with promises or force, providing free transport, food, liquor etc is not going to add anything but only fool yourself.

  • 1
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    Thank you for this article A. Ilango.

    This clearly shows the amount of respect the regime has for it’s citizens. As you have mentioned what they do not understand is that these actions are only going to curtail the no of votes they are going to get, unless of course the regime has some other plans for bolstering the vote count.

    Lets hope all around the country the voters are matured enough to make the correct decision.

  • 1
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    Thanks llango for keeping the world appraised of the situation in Jaffna. It truly says much of MR’s callous approach with complete disregard for human dignity. These are all his desperate measures in an all-out campaign, a last ditch effort to win hearts and minds of all of the emaciated people living in the North, mainly of the Tamil population. But if correctly assessed, his effort will be of no avail as his fate has seemingly been well and truly sealed.

    These poor people have much to gain from a new leader for our country. Least of which is at least ‘some hope’. It is a hope that would lead them towards a better and brighter future. They deserve it as they have already paid a big price for it. People are fed up with MR’s lip service with no real action on the ground to ameliorate their suffering. Poly-tricks is the name of the game and he has mastered it to a fine art. But then, he must never underestimate the intelligence of the people, by talking gibberish in their own mother tongue says a lot about his insincerity and total disrespect towards their language sensitivities. In his poor effort, he only entertains himself and turns out to be some kind of a comedian of sorts, and in the process only fools himself. People don’t buy into that stuff anymore and therefore don’t take him seriously at all. After all we are referring to a ‘rotten-to-the-core’ President of this country mind you.

  • 0
    0

    Very interesting to read that our Northern brethren are still suffering even though it is now a plague of politicians (rather than bombs and guns).

    Thank You CT for the revealing picture; more security detail than faux worshippers. The Gods must be laughing.

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