3 December, 2020

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Did Mahinda Rajapaksa Believe He Would Win?

By Vishwamithra1984

“Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.” ~George Orwell

Yes, he did. It was not only a hope or wish. It was a strong conviction and belief that he will win and win convincingly. He was a hardened “street-smart“ politician with over 45 years of experience in politics. He had held office (power) since 1970 first as one of the youngest ever parliamentarians, then from 1994 onwards as a Minister and then as Prime Minister and from 2005 as President. He knew and could not think of any other life. Also he was battle-scarred after two successful Presidential elections in 2005 and 2010.

In the 2015 campaign, after the initial thunderbolt of realizing that it was his lieutenant, Maithripala Sirisena and not Ranil Wickremesinghe that he had to fight, he recovered from obvious mental depression and got into the fray cheered on by gigantic crowds at each rally. His “campaign staff” soon took over. They did something grievously wrong. They created an euphoria of victory. They also had more than enough money to spend and the facilities of the print and electronic media of the state sector to use and abuse with impunity. Not even the Elections Commissioner or Court orders could stop him.

Mahinda VWithout looking at the statistical reality of the vote by the Tamils (TNA), the Muslims and the upcountry Indian Estate population (even without Thondaman), Mahinda‘s strategists made up their own minds that the President would win. They entertained no other views and could see, hear or speak of nothing else but certain victory.

These campaign pundits brushed away and devalued the Tamil vote by saying that the Tamils will not vote in their numbers and many will also stay away from polling because neither the candidate nor the cause was theirs. The strategists did not sit down and clearly study the TNA vote in each of the Northern and Eastern electorates and also in other areas like Colombo and Kandy where Tamil voters lived. The TNA vote was a silent but sure vote. Little did they know that Mr. Chandrahasan, a lawyer by profession and the younger son of the famous Tamil leader, the late Mr. S.J.V. Chelvanayagam had come to Sri Lanka from India and was campaigning in Jaffna to make sure of the Tamil vote for Maithripala.

As regards the Muslim votes (which eventually swept like a Tsunami for Maithripala) Mahinda’s strategists argued that not All Muslims will vote against Mahinda. They took the view that the mainstream Muslims are shrewd businessmen and they appreciated the stability of the Rajapaksa regime compared to an unstable regime that the Opposition could offer. Also, that the Muslims highly valued a recent program whereby the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) had enabled Muslim Moulavis to broadcast their daily prayers Island-wide– a practice which had been stopped by a Supreme Court judgment of former Chief Justice Sarath Silva. These same President’s strategists at SLBC argued that this gesture alone which the President had permitted, will sway Muslim votes in Mahinda’s favour. As regards the Indian Estate Workers of the Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts, Mahinda’s strategists had placed all their bets on Thondaman’s Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) to deliver considerable votes for the Betel Leaf.

Apart from showing excellent TV advertisements on development (mainly highways and urban development), Mahinda’s campaign team concentrated on spreading a fear psychosis among the Sinhala Buddhists (the majority of the voters) that the TNA and Muslim alignment with Maithripala Sirisena will weaken and eventually destroy the country’s unitary state. The TNA, they said, was the LTTE or the Tigers in disguise and now the Muslims were also demanding separate Administrative districts. The Tamil Diaspora and International conspiracies led by the United States were truly behind Maithripala’s campaign. This was the main plank on which Mahinda’s strategists walked. They argued that while the 2010 election was won because of gratitude to the President for winning the war, the 2015 election could be won by creating a fear psychosis of a return to conflict.

According to Mahinda’s campaign team, the morning till night coverage from state-controlled TV – Rupavahini and ITN supplemented by the private TV stations – Swarnavahini and Derana – was winning the hearts and minds of the majority of Sinhala/Buddhist voters. Without question, the TV and newspaper advertisements of Rajapaksa campaign were excellent. Both in volume and quality they scored over the Opposition that had fewer advertisements due to their meager financial resources.

Two days before the elections and on Election Day, this columnist spoke to four of such heavyweights and asked them what they thought of the would-be outcome of the vote. All four were adamant that Mahinda will win. Two days before the poll they said he will win by 56% to 44%. On Election Day they had not changed their views about victory but had lowered the winning percentage to 53%.

This columnist told them that the Maithripala camp was also confident of winning and were talking of a 56% win and so were the majority of the published surveys. However, Mahinda’s strategists would not accept any contrary view other than a sure win. One of those strategists this columnist spoke to, was a well-known person who contributes a Political Column to a Sunday paper. The other was the head of a state-owned electronic media institution. The third was a diplomat recalled by the government for election work and the fourth was a very senior officer in the President’s Media Unit. What was amazing was that all of them were convinced of victory and were feeding this same view to Mahinda Rajapaksa. There was no one in his close group or groups that dared to differ or offer another viewpoint.

This columnist can vouch that what happened to Mahinda Rajapaksa on this occasion did not happen to either President J.R. Jayewardene or President Ranasinghe Premadasa. Their governments also contested elections. They also had strategists and confidants. But those strategists did not “feed” their bosses only with victory stories or say it was a sure win. Also, both Jayewardene and Premadasa had enough political experience and acumen to siphon off doubts from the truth and look elsewhere as well for the real ground situation. For instance, J.R. Jayewardene used to get several experts to do the same survey without disclosing that he had employed others. At this election Rajapaksa was “lulled” to believe that he was winning and that he could not lose.

From the accounts now available to the media, it is reliably understood that Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had returned from Beliatta after casting his vote that morning, had gone to the Operations Room at Temple Trees at about 7.00 p.m. in the night of the election day. At about 9. p.m. he had retired for a short nap but when he returned to the Operations Room (Ops Room) at about 10.00 p.m. he had learnt to his dismay – for the first time of the campaign – that the postal vote and votes in some of the electorates were more in favour of Maithripala. The Presidential network always enables early results to be given by mobile phones from the Counting Centers to Temple Trees. By twelve midnight Mahinda knew that the game was up and that the battle will be lost. Thus, in this columnist’s view President Rajapaksa was completely misled by his campaign people and not told of the true effect at least of the statistical analysis of the Tamil and Muslim votes in the North and East and Indian Estate Workers’ votes in the upcountry districts. The Tamil and Muslim votes also had a serious impact on enlarging the votes in favour of Maithripala in the Colombo district. The Colombo district votes for Mahinda were so much lower than what he received in 2010.

Nor did Mahinda’s campaign staff apprise him of the true effect of the harm done by the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) to the hearts and minds of the Muslims. Even if the Muslim leaders had stuck with Mahinda, the rank and file would not have voted for him. To the Muslims, because of the atrocities committed by the BBS in the Aluthgama region which led to the deaths of Muslims and serious property damage to their shops and homes, Mahinda was considered Haram. Among the Muslims the perception was (and still is) that the BBS was created by Gotabhaya, the President’s powerful brother.

It was about that time when it was clear that Maithripala Sirisena was winning that Mahinda Rajapaksa is said to have consulted his brother Gotabhaya – the Defense Secretary and thought of a coup to avoid the election result. However, this plan had not succeeded because it had been rejected by the Police and Army Chiefs who had been summoned to Temple Trees together with the Attorney-General. All these officials had warned against any such step. This resulted in the President requesting a meeting with Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe and then finally departing Temple trees “peacefully” after farewells to his staff.

The attempted coup story is yet untold but what is certain is that President Mahinda Rajapaksa did truly believe that he will win the election until about 12 midnight on election night itself !

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Latest comments

  • 5
    23

    To date, almost every body who talks about the Aluthgama incident is dishonest except one muslim wrote here and said some truth.

    It was initiated by some extremist muslims, they beat a monk and some civilians who crossed the town, they also set fire to some sinhala houses. That is what muslims did. BBS showed that they cannot just dominate because Sri Lanka is not the middleeast where you can kill people like dogs and destroy property without any hesitation.

    • 3
      18

      You are correct about the beginnings of the Aluthgama riots. It is only the beginning of the new Wahabist extremist violence and their hopes of overpowering every one else in Sri Lanka. They will use the Tamils, like they did by buying Wellawatta off them.

      They elected Maithripala as a step in their longer term strategy. The want a weak president in power, held in check by their croud (Hakim, bathurdee, Mustafa, Hasim) so that they can get on with tightening the economic and politcal grip around Sri Lanka.

      It took 30 years for the Sinhala leaders to slay the Tamil Tiger they had held by the tail since the 1950s.

      The Muslim leech will be much more difficult to shake off.

      Mark our words!

    • 15
      1

      If this is true, we will not allow extremist Wahabi pigs to infiltrate our community any further. They will be dealt with I assure you. You misunderstand the needs of the majority Muslims, especially the younger generation.

    • 1
      8

      well said jim softy

    • 1
      0

      this is abosolute crap…its evident that you do not have the slightest knowledge of what happened in aluthgama..,

    • 2
      0

      but had NOT the monk known as Ghanasara held that provocative hate speech on a public stage, would the incident at all have emerged there ? This particular man in Robe did a thing like firing the heated wood. He must learn how to use sharpe words that would surely harm everyone within the communities…. words should be most appropriately set particularly in such a moment where religious leaders had to work on making people calm down. No, instead, the bugger most known as being unable to control over his HORMONEs started to speak out as if he was just discharged from guantanamo bay prison. Was that right ?

    • 1
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      This man MR believe not only he would win but dreamt to move on like the way Zimbabwian head, Gadafi, North korean man to die by power. He thought very same folks would stay fool – intoxicated for the rest of their life. Unfortunately for him, people learnt him a lession. All these were srilankens that lernt him the great lession, today so called mann to use the same vocabulary of minion such Gommanpila calling them as minority votes made it possibe is beyond all shames and respects.

  • 2
    0

    For once, I am thankful to sycophancy!

  • 5
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    Vishwamithra1984 –

    RE: Did Mahinda Rajapaksa Believe He Would Win?

    “Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.” ~George Orwell

    Thanks. Good Summary. If ir was fair election with equal access to information and rallies, Mahinda would have lost 65% to 35%.

    Did he believe the Sun goes around the Earth? After All the Astrologers geocentric Model requires that.

    “Yes, he did. It was not only a hope or wish. It was a strong conviction and belief that he will win and win convincingly.”

    He took a chance, and be thee for the 3rd, and 4rg term and hand over the Presidency to his Son, just like DS Senanayaka did with Dudley Senanayaka.

    “His “campaign staff” soon took over. They did something grievously wrong. They created an euphoria of victory.”

    Yes, the people had already decided.. but the MaRa Shills and cronies did not know..

    “Two days before the elections and on Election Day, this columnist spoke to four of such heavyweights and asked them what they thought of the would-be outcome of the vote. All four were adamant that Mahinda will win. Two days before the poll they said he will win by 56% to 44%. On Election Day they had not changed their views about victory but had lowered the winning percentage to 53%”

    “What was amazing was that all of them were convinced of victory and were feeding this same view to Mahinda Rajapaksa.” “At this election Rajapaksa was “lulled” to believe that he was winning and that he could not lose.”

    But the people had already decided… and the Emperor had no clothes..

    “Among the Muslims the perception was (and still is) that the BBS was created by Gotabhaya, the President’s powerful brother.”
    ‘ with the help of Norwegians and Israelis..

    “It was about that time when it was clear that Maithripala Sirisena was winning that Mahinda Rajapaksa is said to have consulted his brother Gotabhaya – the Defense Secretary and thought of a coup to avoid the election result. “

    Dictators do not like leave they need to be pushed out..

    The Earth rotates on it’s own axis goes around the Sun,,,,the Catholic Church had to accept 350 years later despite what Joshua said is is supposed have done..

    • 1
      3

      There is little hope in injecting at least little intelligence to Vishwamitras, Tisaranees, Amarasiris and other avatars plaguing this website like blue flies on excreta.

      But since they “all” seem to be very fond of quoting erudite weserners – some the rest of the world has never heard of – we shall remind the idiotic trio of a quote by George Orwell himself.

      Orwell probably was dreaming of 2015 Sri Lanka when he said, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength”.

      Now chew that over traitor “Amarasiri”.

      • 2
        0

        Sane Mind

        “quoting erudite weserners”

        Would have been glad to quote, Andare, Mahausgada Paditya, Jataka Stories, Kalidasa, Rumi and others if it was relevant and if they made an impact on the subject matter…

        Sane Mind, do you know why Kollupitiya ( Colombo 3. Kolittu), is called Kollupitiya?

        Of Course Westerners cannot answer that. It is not relevant for them,

  • 11
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    In a way, it was good that Mahinda fully believed that he will win. Otherwise he would have made a better and stronger arrangement for a military coup!

    Sengodan. M

  • 1
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    Sane Mind? You quote George Orwell. That exactly was the vision of the Rajapaksa government!

  • 1
    3

    Few half-truths and erroneous facts. Thanks to highly confidential info, I knew about Mr. Gotabaya’s plans a month and half ago and that’s why I wrote the article,
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/gotabayas-ploy-to-suspend-the-constitution-impose-martial-law/

    And again at around 8pm, I was informed of 15 Gajaba Regiments heading towards the capitol Colombo, immediately after which I wrote the article,
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/letter-to-lt-gen-daya-ratnayake-the-army-commander-of-sri-lanka/

    Truth to be told, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse did have a plan B, but unfortunately for him, some of us were ahead of the game.

    • 1
      5

      fazl bigot, you need to hospitalized soon because your mental health is deteriorating so badly…

      • 1
        0

        Nike,
        Leave Fazl out. You should be buried or cremated as you are brain dead.

    • 1
      0

      Thanks fazl – You are the one who highlighted Gota’s plans, months ago,to capture power in the event MR failed to get the required votes. You had the guts to do it and every one prayed for your safety.CT has some bold writers who exposed all the wrong doings of the Govt, specially that of Rajapakse family and it was very unfortunate that Sri Lankans did not get the chance to read CT due to a ban imposed by the Govt.,which we hope will be lifted soon. Part of this victory should go to CT administrators who allowed articles, critical of the govt and their wrong doings, taking a serious risk of the lives of their staff and property of the owners of the web. It is assumed that readers of CT briefed their loved ones and friends back home as to whom they should vote and it must have been a sizeable percentage.

      Birds of the same feather flock together, they say, as many from the past government are regrouping to work with the present govt as leaders
      came from the same party . The writers should watch carefully and continue to bring to the notice of the people if promises are flouted and the past members are taken back with a simple pardon under some false pretexts and alas we go back to square one. People as a whole, specially the voters of N/E have taken a big risk to bring back democracy as against autocratic rule.

      A special committee should be formed to look only into corruption done by the previous govt and the culprits should be punished with
      dismissals, followed by court cases as a lesson to those who think that peoples money can be misused, and new ones appointed as soon as possible, even in acting capacity before the President and the Cabinet are harassed for pardons and re appointments as shameless turn coats are plenty in this country People have trusted and voted for parliamentary system against dictatorial regime,taking a big risk and their hopes should not be dashed.

  • 1
    0

    Mahinda lost because he was supporting the racist Gnanasara bbs. Also bringing the killer wirathu to Sri Lanka. Good riddence for this trash. Sri Lanken’s should be free not under a pol pot tin dictator . Rajapaksa family have stolen easily 1-3billion usd. this should be returned to the country.

  • 1
    0

    Since the new Prez seems interested in initiating investigations, I suggest they investigate the genesis of BBS and how they came to act with impunity. It has been reported, but not proven that Gota was the power behind BBS.

    If that were true, it is hard to believe that being the suave political strategists the Rajapakses were supposed to be, they did not make the logical conclusion that anti-muslim violence would be responded to by anti-Rajapakse politics.

    So does anyone have conclusive evidence as to how BBS came to be created, funded and given free rein to violence with impunity?

    One thing for sure: the majority of Sinhalese Buddhists and decent folk from all communities abhor the actions of the BBS.

  • 1
    0

    i read your article with interest. My comments are as follows:
    Firstly, the signs of the downfall of this regime begun to appear as far back as 2012. One could feel the disenchantment amongst the ordinary people who began to speak out against the wrong doings of this government, nepotism, large scale corruption and of course the rising cost of living. This was gathering momentum albeit unknown to most politicians who spnt their time mostly in Colombo, distancing themselves from their voters and eventually from ground reality. This was the start.
    The acts of the likes of BBS drew the wrath of Christians and Budddhists which also begun are growing animosity against the then regime, as it was perceived that the BBS was being manipulated by the government.
    Thirdly, the government was blinded by its infrastructural development and little did they care about the Socio-economic development front. Even the ordinary people felt the outcomes, but alas not those in power.

    The Tamil, Muslim and the Christians voters were definitely going against MR and it was this pressure that was brought about upon their leadership to support MS. With all these happenings, the so called strategists in the MR camp failed to appraise their leadership of the ground reality! Perhaps this stems from the leadership of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse. An effective leader must have good listening skills and be able to empathise, both of which appear to be absent. This to me was a fundamental flaw in the leadership style of Mr. Rajapakse. Next, the election campaign strategy itself was ill conceived. The whole campaign strategy was centred around “winning the war” and slinging mud at opponents. This worked against Mr. Rajapakse.

    An effective leader is one who can influence his followers to follow his vision without being coerced.

  • 0
    0

    Could someone please enlighten as to what is the white band that is seen at the wrist of the raised left hand with something like a sharp gold coloured object protruding out of the band in the picture of Mahinda Rajapakse in this article? How and where did he get it and why does he wear it?–What is the background to it? Perhaps it is what gave him the immense (but now turned out to be misplaced) confidence and not just the ignorance for an logical analysis by his campaign advisers as expounded in this article by Visvamithra1984!

    I wonder what fate befell that “band” and that “object” upon his losing the election?

  • 0
    0

    Sorry!- I revisited that photo again–That white band with the protruding object is seen in his raised right hand and not the left hand!

  • 2
    0

    Vishwamithra1984

    “As regards the Indian Estate Workers of the Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts, Mahinda’s strategists had placed all their bets on Thondaman’s Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) to deliver considerable votes for the Betel Leaf.”

    The Tamil speaking people of up-country should not be addressed as “Indian Estate Workers”, for simple reason all of them have been granted citizenship after 1988 which they lost in 1948 due to racism.

    Vishwamithra1984 should tell us exactly when can they call themselves Sri Lankans and claim all their rights as citizen of this land, quoting laws of the land, traditions, customs, mindset of the majority, ………………..

    We need to know the exact on which they will become part of this land.

  • 2
    0

    My sincere thanks to the Bodu Bala Sena for a tremendously successful job of ensuring that the votes of the minorities went to the opposition candidate. They were well paid for the job and they performed much better than they expected. Their bonus is safely stashed in the banking system of a scandinavian country.

  • 1
    0

    Jim,Sooth and the Racist Gang,

    Man proposes, God disposes.

    You racists will never ever get a chance again to sew the seed of disunity among us. God Almighty saw to it that you idiotic racists are confined to the barracks and allow the country with all communities to prosper under a new leadership.

    Cry and keep crying at the top of your voices and nothing will happen, as you racists planned. Wait till the noose tightens on you in the process of cleansing and recovering of the all ill gotten wealth you plunderers amassed from the poor masses under cover of your hypocratic satakaya and bogus patriotism.

    By the way, where are your two beloved most patriotic brothers? Go look for them first without wasting our time. Must be counting their ill gotten Dollars in the comfort of the Big Apple. Go help them, must be finding it difficult to do it themselves. Will smell blood of the poor people, go and smell the it, just the way you were washing their under garments, for which you would have been rewarded too.

    We have lot of things to correct within 100 days of decade long atrocities.

  • 0
    0

    The results clearly show the impact of Mullivaikal, Aluthgama and Weliweeriya. God’s mill surely grinds sometimes pretty fast (two years ahead in this case) :)

  • 0
    0

    Man can propose, but remember God can dispose what man prposed, and when God propose, none can dispose it even the soothsayer or the famous astologer. So thats what happened here. God is the best of Planners.

  • 0
    0

    Now by any chance, was the political astrologer DJ with MR is his dark hours ?

  • 1
    0

    As the author tells us, MR did indeed believe that he would win. What then are we to make of his frantic dash from one religious site to another – even to places as widely different as the Madhu Catholic church and the Hindu temples in India – to invoke blessings from above? Or are we to take it that it is after visiting those places and sought appropriate blessings, that he gained the confidence of a certain victory?

    Anyway, relieved of the burdens of state, MR has now time for sober reflection, and it may perhaps occur to him that if he had paid due attention to the Hindu voters as he did to their gods, the outcome of the election might well have been agreeably more different.

  • 0
    0

    I travelled around quite a bit by train and bus in the two months preceding the elections. One thing that was quite noticeable was that many people were buying the “Lankadeepa”. I didn’t notice many reading the “Dinamina”. Secondly the estate community and the Muslims (By the way, the Muslims were amongst the strongest and most virulent pro MR commentators on the Web after the 2009 war victory) had made up their minds to vote against MR , whatever Thondaman or Hakeem were likely to say. On visits to Aluthgama you could see, hear and feel the seething anger against the regime and the caustic anti government remarks. Once the JVP and the TNA made their decision, the goose was cooked for MR.

    Presumed that MR would get about 60@ of the southern vote, which would have made the poll very very close, but eventually it was more like 55% – thanks to My3, CBK, JHU, as well as the sheer longing for a change by the bulk of the educated urban folk, to be rid of the rampant and blatant corruption, contempt for the rule of law and the thuggish behaviour of people like Vass G, Mervyn and others. The poster blitz of MR, hanging on every lamp post in the country was totally counter productive,- making people even more contemptuous.

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