By Hilmy Ahamed –
“Sirisena has betrayed a nation. Has he got any conscience? The next parliament needs to impeach him”. This is probably what is there in the minds of 6,217,162 voters.
The common opposition that facilitated the election of Maithripala Sirisena as the President, has had the shortest parliamentary life in recent history. While there was consensus among the common opposition that parliament would be dissolved after 100 days of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, the government and the President could not bring forth the promised reforms of the hundred-day programme due to a hostile opposition, which commanded the majority in parliament. Sirisena-Wickremesinghe cabal tried to implement the 100-day programme by extending the 100-day deadline. The 180-day failure, forced the president to dissolve parliament. Now, elections have been announces and many political analysts predict that the UPFA will have an uphill task against the United National Party and its partners. The desperate ones in the SLFP have played their trump card by bringing the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa to the B team as a contestant. Mahinda probably believes that he could end up as the Prime Minister and his former job as President would only be a bullet away, or so said President Sirisena.
A large proportion of those who voted to make Maithripala Sirisena President, believe that the once humble President Sirisena has shattered the hopes and aspirations of millions of Sri Lankans with his shameful betrayal of their January 2015 vote. It is believed that that Ranil Wickremesinghe and the daring politicians who crossed over with Maithripala to challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa in January 2015 would not be let down by the majority of Sri Lankans at the forthcoming elections. The average person on the street is convinced that the noble ideals of the common opposition would succeed again on August 17th 2015 with or without Maithripala Sirisena. A strong and stable government would be formed thereafter where necessary constitutional reforms could be implemented to strengthen Sri Lanka’s democracy.
The total silence from Maithripala Sirisena on Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-entry as a candidate to contest the parliamentary elections of August 2015 was the most chilling episode of this drama. The President probably attempted to give the impression that he was doing his best to stall Mahinda Rajapaksa, but the majority of the Sri Lankans who voted for the president risking their lives to elect him, as their choice will be disgruntled. President Maithripala stands accused and probably will go down in history as the man who saved the party and destroyed the country.
How can President Sirisena justify the reentry of Rajapaksa? Only six months ago, he branded ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa as the biggest megalomaniac who stole billions of the people’s money. Maithripala’s betrayal of Mahinda Rajapaksa after his (appa) hopper meal is no match to the sadistic betrayal of the common opposition voters who gave him over 6.2 million votes. If Maithripala is allowed to continue as President after the August 17th election, he would end up as the most unhappy President since JR Jayewardene brought in a new constitution in 1978. He has none other to blame.
The vast number of SLFPers who risked their lives to support Maithripala has been left in total disarray. The youthful politicians in Arjuna Ranatunga, Faizer Mustapha, Hirunika Premachandra and Duminda Dissanayake probably have learnt their bitterest political lesson from this principle less politicians. Maithripala who spoke and acted like a saint has become their biggest traitor, in the minds of the majority. Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister or leader of the opposition will not forgive these youthful politicians for their treachery, when they deserted him to support Maithripala. Will Maithripala at least protect them from the wrath of Mahinda Rajapaksa? Or will he sacrifice them again. They probably have the option of joining the UNP or some other coalition as their last resort.
Maithripala will stand accused of destroying the future aspirations of these capable young politicians who have not been tainted with corruption or other vices.