By Helasingha Bandara –
Bring back Mahinda
The bring back Mahinda campaign cries out loud that they will bring back Mahinda as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka but fails to explain why and how. The speakers who flank MR are Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Tissa Vitharane, and Udaya Gammanpila, the leaders of the insignificant constituent parties of the UPFA, the same coterie that stood by Mahinda at the previous election. The previous election results do not seem to have made them learn that the voters have advanced in their understanding of politics, far beyond the comprehension of those politicians. The voters today attend rallies not wishing to listen to insults aimed at opponents, speeches that lack substance, promises that have been repeatedly kept unfulfilled, praises that are untrue or partially true. Gammanpila related a folk tale at the Anuradhapura rally that involved a lion and a fox. He insinuated Mahinda to be the Lion and Maithri to be the Fox. Gentlemen do present their views to enable people to make an informed choice without resorting to insults aimed at their opponents. Only a fox would try to fox people with such banalities.
Bring back lawlessness
The Elections Commissioner has requested all TV channels not to telecast the President’s speech in view that it may prejudice the voters’ decision. He has cautioned the Prime Minister not to use his office for political propaganda. The police is emboldened to state that the police officers who favour politicians would be subjected to disciplinary action. Such actions were possible and all parties are enabled to enjoy full freedom to engage in politics without being subjected to state terrorism because of the President’s determination to ensure the prevalence of democracy, law and order, and human rights. During the MR regime such an action or a proclamation could have been unthinkable and an officer who took such a bold decision could have been stripped of his titles and subjected to punishment. Shirani Bandaranayake is a good example. The people of the country have a justifiable fear that with the possible return of Mahinda and the corrupt lot, lawlessness, corruption, intimidation, impunity, plundering, drugs, and nepotism would return and democracy and human rights would disappear.
UNP Vs SLFP
At the Anuradhapura rally all the speakers vowed to bring back Mahinda as the Prime Minister. Apart from shouting at the top of their voices they did not elaborate how they intend to do it. Perhaps they assume that traditional anti UNP voters would not change.
Today’s voter is educated enough to understand that the UNP is only one constituent party of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) that has been formed to defeat the re-emergence of Mahinda Rajapaksha. The politicians who directly and openly objected to the corrupt governance of MR and played the most crucial part in defeating Rajapaksa are Patali Champika Ranawaka, Arjuna Ranathunga, Hirunika Premachandra, Gunawardene, Rajitha Senaratne, and Rathana Thera. They all opposed the inclusion of MR in the nomination lists and then joined the UNFGG in protest. The majority of the remaining lot of the former government either remained undecided or supported Rajapaksha. Therefore there is no change in the support base for Mahinda at this election. Those who opposed MR would oppose him again.
Besides, does it make any sense if people are divided into UNP and SLFP just on party names? Let’s take the Kurunegela district that became crucially important with Mahinda’s invasion after deserting his homeland for the fear of Premadasa Junior. It can be argued that if you can’t vote for the UNP you can’t vote for Johnston, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Indika Bandaranayke, Anura Priya Darshana Yapa, Senarath Wijesingha or Jayarathna Herath (all of them are UPFA nominees) because until very recently Johnston, Dayasiri and Indika were strong UNPers. IMRA Eriyagolla was the MP for Kuliyapitiya and the Minister of Education of the UNP government and one of the most powerful politicians in that era. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa is from his family. Jayarathna Herath is married to the niece of Kavisena Herath. Kavisena of Hulugalla was the UNP strongman from Nikeweratiya who used to contest against Mudiyanse Tennakoon. If the UNP Vs SLFP story is analysed in this manner, people would understand that the party name alone would not mean much. It is the individual who matters most, either being corrupt or clean. Since the country rejects the corrupt, it is difficult to comprehend how the MR coterie fulfils its promise of making MR the Prime Minister.