17 July, 2019

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The Mahinda Factor Is Just A Factor

By Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

Sri Lanka has almost never voted for people. Neither has it voted for parties. It has voted for people and parties. Strange, yes, but true. People-factors are taken into account, and so are party-factors. But voters rarely acknowledge one of them in isolation. People are elected on the basis of their parties and parties are elected on the basis of their members. That’s the truth, that has been the truth, and I suspect that that will be the truth. For a long time.

We’re seeing a “phenomenon” today. I don’t think this phenomenon is enough to break into either of the two main parties in the country. To put it simply, Mahinda Rajapaksa has a base, yes. But you can’t translate this into a “third force”. It’s not possible. No former president (or prime minister) could do that here. Rajapaksa won’t be any different. He can’t cut into either major party. Period.

Still, his base shouldn’t be forgotten. For one thing, he has a stronghold in the South. It is true he won it marginally this time, barring those electorates he won by a massive margin. The SLFP and UPFA, let’s not forget, couldn’t come up with a proper successor to the man. Part of the reason why they went against him was because he was (unduly) using his party to boost his family, a point highlighted by many grassroots SLFP’ers who (to put it colloquially) were “fed up” with him. Doesn’t and shouldn’t mean he should be cast out. Not yet.

Mahinda Jaffna Jan 2015The man should not be absolved. He committed and sanctioned abuse. Like all politicians, however, he knows charisma and political mileage. He knows how to distill action from words, but the problem with his last few years was that he relied more on words and less on act. Winning wars are alright, indeed commendable. But Winston Churchill did not create a quasi-dictatorship (or, as President Maithripala Sirisena put it on November 21 2014, a “benevolent dictatorship”). He was elected out. We remember postwar Britain not for Churchill’s Old Conservatism but for Attlee’s New Socialism. It’s that simple.

And yet, the war remains Rajapaksa’s biggest trump-card. Even now. It is heartening to see that he doesn’t spew nationalist rhetoric based on that today, although I am deeply disturbed by how he and his cohort “remind” us that they won the election except for the North and East. Defeat must be conceded. Harping about how one part of the country made you lose isn’t going to help. Next thing you know, his cohort will be claiming that the country must be divided to ensure his victory! Yes, it’s that ironic. Ironic because Rajapaksa claims to be the one who unified this country and got rid of terrorism.

The biggest tragedy, however, is that the SLFP is looking at all this like a shell-shocked person. It doesn’t know what to do and isn’t sure where it’s going. Maithripala Sirisena is President, yes, but he acts more like a figurehead with Ranil Wickremesinghe calling the shots. Not surprising there, but the man must assert himself. Going by Wickremesinghe’s recent remarks (including his “threat” to certain Sinhala language newspapers allegedly whipping up racism), it would be better for President Sirisena to make himself known, without talking so much about his predecessor’s abuses and how his regime is far better in comparison. Let’s not forget that even Rajapaksa was humble enough not to badmouth Chandrika Kumaratunga. I am, of course, talking about his first few years in power after he succeeded her: his and his party-faction’s take on the lady during this year’s campaign was nothing but despicable.

Bottom line, hence: Rajapaksa wants to come back. My point is that he can’t make a comeback. There are grievances he must address and apologise for. There are concerns he must take note of should he decide to stage a return. And most of all, there are problems with the electoral system and Constitution that he must acknowledge. Without doing any of this, I find it hard to believe that he will or he can return. The Mahinda Factor, therefore, will be just a factor, to be taken in or thrown out at the whims of those in power.

Rajapaksa was probably laughing behind the cameras after he said, “I did not engage in vindictive politics while in power”. More statements like that and his opponents can most certainly win against him. But then again, his own party doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. Sad and tragic, yes. Ironic, certainly.

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  • 20
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    His theory and that of his ardent supporters is that he lost because of the non Sinhala votes against him. It is like a cricket team claiming that their defeat was due to the decisions of a non Sinhala umpire.

    The non acceptance of a democratic defeat shows that he does not acknowledge the huge misdoings and mistakes that took place under his presidency. It is nothing but self denial. This means that he does not deserve a come back.

    • 9
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      Mahinda Factor is what they the Mahinda brother with their kith and kin have deliberately fostered for their political survival. Unfortuantely, people had no other choice than listening to their media shows, regardless of the substance of them are facts and figures of miles away from them. Few examples of their kind of blatant lies are given below- I wonder why none of the powerful men and women in jouranlism have raised a single word on them even the times are flying.

      a) Health history and the related medical documents of Duminda de Silva the most alleged criminal of all times but protected by direct impunity of former prez and his brother. Those who watched them on the screened thought British Medical Journal woudl have to mediate in investigations since the patient #s reawake as made in statements in srilanken TV senders

      b) AthathI Ratne – the former Election Commissioner and the torments he had been going through immediately after the eleciton is over in 2010 – what went through his head – what was the the truth among the all hearsays were aired in the aftermath was not clearly studied by any journalists yet.
      pEOPLE ARE not aware of whether fomer EC is still alive or not.. why ws that ?

      • 2
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        Samuel Jayaweera,
        Could you please rewrite clearly – especially about the reference to the British Medical Journal – As I am very interested, as most of bloggers will be, I think.

        • 2
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          I am out today, when return from cong. I will get back to you. Thanks for being interested in BMJ and my inputs above.

        • 1
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          I hope you are still interested in reading my response.

          Why I refered BMJ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMJ)was they the authors would undoubtedly be keen on the way how Lanken deadly head injured Duminda SIlva was fully recovered only going through the medical source data made aware to the lanken public through srilanken state channels at the time the medical status of the incident was highly discussed in public media 2.5 years ago. Recalling that the lawyer himself and the respectiv medical profesisonal dared to have interpreted them to the manner as world specialists in the world would become very surprised -was what I was adding in my previous comment BMJ in general report the kind of new break throughs in the science/medical research without any delay. This weekend I myself together with my colleagues happened to take part in a German Congress held in Münster, Germany on the topic of Diabetes – even there how many times they refered the name of BMJ was not just few times.
          All in all i BELIEVE those medical experts brought biased and doctored medical source data in terms of ALLEGED BRAIN injury of Duminda should closely be reinvestigated – is my KIND request. In the incident, Rajapakshe were fully involved since all these blatant lies about Duminda’s health story was far from all what they explained to the media. Gullible lanken masses had no other choice but to say ehei ehei to Rajapakshe, – was we could feel being out of the country.
          Currently, I have been thinking to help Rajarata people that are met with unknown kidney ailments – by discussing their situation to the potetional pharma comapanies, whenever I have the chance to do so. Also not forgetting that the increasing numbers of diabetes patients in our island – not just T2DM, T1DM but also other health problems that Diabetes patients face in parallel (Hypertony, Kidney ailment, Diabetic foot disease, Paediatric Diabetes etc).

    • 3
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      As we are all aware of the facts – if majority of media instituations would work for promotion of a govt or rule – while not giving more spcae to the opponents to utter their bits – those who listen – among them majority being the rural vulnerable masses would have not other choice than accepting even if blant lies were repeatedly explained ot them. However, the votes of those vulnerable have decided for the nation in every election held sofar in the countries such as ours but under the umpbralla of so called democratically held eletions.

      So this was the true case under Mahinda Rajapakshe administration. Most of the media institutions worked for him and his family and kith and kin – was a public secret, but noty many had rights to criticise it. That was their main agenda to show the nation, that OPPOSITION is not able to work for the people, since all the ruling principles were seen as sober …. but today, as PM and President themselves prove by the facts – sitaution left by Megalomaniac Mahinda Rajpaakshe is like a healed woound though its inside is metastaised cancer like. More will be revealed soon. Even then the vulnerable masses would nto see it wrong, since their brains are made dummies by MR machines during the last 10 years. Irrpairable damages will take longer ot be normalized.

      • 2
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        Lets not forget the era MR faced. MR needed lot of people around, winning elections one after another … just to brave for the challenges from LTTE, West, TN, TNA, Traitors in the Parliament who only need to pull down the country.
        It is very normal opportunists will fish during muddy water.. and thankfully, MR kept hands in most spending streams, mainly on war machine, otherwise SL people can enjoy the war for many years.. That is what Supun and most of the blog contributors who are mainly from cool countries conveniently forget with their short term memory loss.
        Just search on previous presidents and PMs, specially living CBK and RW’s time the way they sold public assets .. just one Palawatte Sugar to HJ 50% of its liquid asset value.
        MR did develop the country without selling and bought back a lot and also did not stop support for rural agriculture sector and did not get loan to eat.
        Our country need a leader … at the moment only one is MR.
        Sure he need to apologise for keeping crooks like UNP Sajin and Duminda and jokers like Mervin.

        • 3
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          Whoever committed crimes should have to face it today or later.

          If you guys are on a cry for him – MR has to prove where have the funds gone ? Large sums of tax payers funds can not be handled to the manner he and his kith and kin did. Let alone today, you the vulnerable folks should be advised to make a distinction between good and bad, justice and injustice, fairness and unfairness – then only this island would ever be able to bless with sutainable peace.
          Just because you have been deliberately deceived by Rajapakshes as nothign could easily help you guys to recover. I know this is a long process.
          Even North koreans would take enormous times to become normal. So, we are aware of the facts that what you have been going through over the years.
          Only healthy minds can decide for the future of the nation, not you guys. YOU GUYS SHOULD BETTER SIT WITH WIMAL BURUWANSE AND make every effort to get the man allegeed to have abused the nation telling something totally different to you. Get a life man.. good luck

          • 1
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            You are dead right Seelawathi. I fully agree with you HERE:

            jUST after getting them investigated – as srilanken citizens, those Rajapakshes have every right to return to lanken active politics.

            Actually, if this was the case in Germany or other western world- until the accusations of abuses will be made clear, those former prez would be given no access to even add just evasive thoughts as MR has been adding to the public press these days. At the time, former Prez of Germany was alleged with unkown – charges to have gone wrong prior to start his office as the prez- alone costed him his presidency. Immediately after he was thrown with those accusations, he resigned himself… after 3 years only the case was completed and made it clear that those accussations were baseless. Anyway, his image was tarnished by that…

            In our country, almost all and sundry feel that Rjaapkahses have abused the nation to the core… that is a public secret.. but the lanken laws allow him to add his thoughts wihtout any consideration. That is actually not excemplary for the youth of country.

    • 2
      1

      Uditha Devapriya –

      1. “Sri Lanka has almost never voted for people. Neither has it voted for parties. It has voted for people and parties.”

      2. “The man should not be absolved. He committed and sanctioned abuse. Like all politicians, however, he knows charisma and political mileage. He knows how to distill action from words, but the problem with his last few years was that he relied more on words and less on act. Winning wars are alright, indeed commendable. But Winston Churchill did not create a quasi-dictatorship (or, as President Maithripala Sirisena put it on November 21 2014, a “benevolent dictatorship”). He was elected out. We remember postwar Britain not for Churchill’s Old Conservatism but for Attlee’s New Socialism. It’s that simple.”

      Thanks. Succinctly summarized. However, it id a new generation, the globalized generation, the social media generation. Demographically, the older generation preferred Mahinda Rajapaksa, because of the war and SLFP, and the younger generation, Maitripala because of the Mahinda Abuse and the change for the better. People realize that the Party Lasts longer than the family dynasty. Examples are, the Senanayake’s, the Bandaranaike, and of course Rajapaksas, nipped in the bud by the the people with common sense. However, unfortunately NO SRI LANKAN WRITER has been able to come up with a Common sense Phamplet, Sri Lanka 2014/2015, just like Thomas Paine did for the Americans, in 1776, is ousting King George. Why?

      3. “Harping about how one part of the country made you lose isn’t going to help. Next thing you know, his cohort will be claiming that the country must be divided to ensure his victory! Yes, it’s that ironic. Ironic because Rajapaksa claims to be the one who unified this country and got rid of terrorism.”

      The Opposition should come up with the Slogan, If Mahinda Rajapaksa Corrupt Family Dynasty is come to power, the Country MUST be Divided, and put all the Crooks, Robbers and Criminals on one side, and they will elect, Mahinda Rajapaksa, at the Medamulana Kingdom, “Medamulana Rajadaniya”.

  • 12
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    Little Uditha, before you were born there was UNP governments. You did not know what they did. No one will be able to stop Mahinda. Just wait and see my boy.

    • 16
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      I am awaiting your boy to arrive – this time with the Declaration of Assets copy as tendered for the last PE – if he did. The envelopes were
      sealed and therefore the EC claimed that were secret! It may have been just blank sheets?

      He will dare the challenge and show it at Kandy next!!

    • 10
      7

      It would be an eternal wait………. your man will not turn up !

      Your corrupt Mahinda cannot face the people. Still struggling to accept the verdict given by the people. He knows it is the end of his political life. I am sure he does not want a similar welcome he received in Galle.

      How sad for you :(

    • 9
      3

      Not only UNP govts but also SLFP governt went wrong on and on.

      That is the truth you have to teach your young ones. But the manner Rajapakshe did it was beyond all bearing. That is what the current govt face almost everyday since 8th Jan – being unable to find proper way to handle the wreckage left by the most idiotic prez we ever had in the history of lanka. Just telling the palatable targetting the vulnerable only for their sake – to stay longer than they could in power was the main motive not the poor man ‘s grievances.
      If I were the president elect, I would nt ohave waited Ranil Wickremasigne or any other to take actions against those culprits, i would have gone doing the due within 2 weeks. I know the many would share my thoughts.. since people are fed up of Rajapakshe being not caught by the lanken legal system yet.

  • 4
    12

    Tamils made up approximately 10% of the voters and they did and will vote against Mahinda for handing the LTTE terrorists a death blow. Muslims comprising 8% of the voters did vote against Mahinda as he was seen to be anti Muslim. Muslims were misled by social media, influential Muslims and the former opposition to think that way but I doubt Mahinda was anti Muslim. True, Mahinda failed to act positively at the time. Muslims will soon realise that they were misled. It only takes half of the Muslim voters to switch allegiance from MY3 to MR to oust the incumbent leader if an election were to be held soon. Add to that a few disgruntled Tamils and Sinhalese who voted for MY3 to give MR a majority greater than what MY3 achieved in Jan 2015. That is, if there is a fair election!
    It is ironic that influential Muslims are now with those who said nothing to stop the anti Muslim movement but used the situation to their fullest advantage.

    • 0
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      Thanks for your concern. Muslims were not misled and we were very knowledgeable when we voted for MS. MR was deaf and dumb to what was happening to the Muslims. He supported BBS and he never gave an appointment to the Muslims including Muslims to discuss with him the anti Muslim campaign led by the Buddhist extremists. He could have listened to the Muslims including Muslim MPs and stopped the Aba Sarana rally at Alutgama. There were more than 250 hate incidents reported and he never raised finger to stop it.

  • 2
    3

    Uditha Devapriya –

    RE: The Mahinda Factor Is Just A Factor

    “Ammapa Mehamath Pachayoo!”

    “Bottom line, hence: Rajapaksa wants to come back. My point is that he can’t make a comeback. There are grievances he must address and apologise for. There are concerns he must take note of should he decide to stage a return. And most of all, there are problems with the electoral system and Constitution that he must acknowledge. Without doing any of this, I find it hard to believe that he will or he can return. The Mahinda Factor, therefore, will be just a factor, to be taken in or thrown out at the whims of those in power.”

    Yes, just a Factor, but make it the Common Sense Factor and Come up with Common Sense Pamphlets Sri Lanka 2015. Use Catchy Sinhala Words and Phrase like:

    Pul Horu -Rotten Thieves,
    Crooks, Robbers and Criminals, Its Sinhala Version

    Even the Thief who up was on a kitul Tress had a story, cutting grass on top of the tree, and Mahinda , the thief and liar has his stories too.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Kitul Tree. “Ammapa Mehamath Pachayoo!”

    Common Sense (pamphlet)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_%28pamphlet%29

  • 12
    3

    Lanka’s biggest fraud continues…he pays/funds some organisers to send 3 buses a day of people to Carlton,on the way they see Kataragama and Carlton.
    He funded the wansa meet that got all talking.MR will continue to do this until he realizes he stole too much,messed up too much to return.So as much as his new again friend dayan writes to stir theories,Mahinda will put on a show.Wansa the whole lot are all actors
    He called up media in advance when visiting buruwansa wife,media got its soundbite.
    When Prez he had special unit to go ready kids to be carried+kissed.

    • 4
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      Tours are arranged to Kataragama, Kiri Vehera and meet & greet MR ! Why not, when you are offered free tea and biscuits.

  • 2
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    This [Edited out]. But even he can not conclude idea he want to say.All his education background is paid and have degrees what we can see all over the world.
    This time puppets came to power having votes from lumpen people like above. So whole country has to pay the cost ??
    This is one good example for importancy of national (citizen ) education to all Sri Lankans who suppose to select their leaders in future.
    These guys live in western in their hearts but try to write like a patriot Sri Lankans.
    He will realize something than now after today’s Kandy rally.

  • 2
    7

    I disagree with your comments. Although Maithripala won the overall majority, the majority Sinhalese did not vote on only communal grounds. Their vote was spilt in the middle. However the both minorities voted on communal grounds. In a parliamentary election the result can be somewhat different. True that you need a establish party to win an election but equally you need a charismatic leader. Which is more important is again hard to predict.
    Neither UNP nor SLFP has a charismatic leader at the moment. In this situation the way Mahinda factor will pan out would be hard to guess. Again some people who voted against Mahinda in the last election may have some sympathy for him now because he is not in power at the moment.
    Also Winston Churchill phenomena may not really apply here because after the war. Briton was shell shocked and needed lots of rebuilding. Current environment in Sri Lanka is not the same.

  • 5
    6

    Your article is a whimpering of Mahinda phobia. Your first and second paragraphs are entirely counter-factual. Mahinda Rajapaksa is an extraordinary political figure. While the other ordinary leaders before him, looked only on the possible, he visualized on the impossible and made it possible. Eradicating the scourge of terrorism from Sri Lanka is one such example.

    Yes Sri Lanka had never voted for people before. However, the voting pattern was changed with the arrival of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Majority of his votes were based on his towering personality and his immeasurable love for his country and people. His personality became exceptional where previous leaders could not match their own personalities with individual performances.
    The political orientation in any country is based on two key factors. 1. Long term factors 2. Short term factors. The influence of social groups can also affect voting behaviour. The results of the January 8 Presidential Election was clearly based on short term influences such as mass media and campaign issues. I am not surprised, kids like you being vulnerable to manipulation of forced opinions.

    You cannot erase Mahinda Rajapaksa from the political arena just because he lost the last election. You must not forget that he was deceived by his own partymen and the people who conspired against him came in to power. The incumbent President who came into power based on short term influences, is fast loosing his grip on people already. Mahinda Rajapaksa is not just a factor, he is a long term factor whose influence would undoubtedly change the political pattern once again. I need to correct you again. It is the people who wants Mahinda Rajapaksa to come back and not the other way.

    What absolution are you talking about? What proof do you have to accuse Mahinda Rajapaksa abusing power or committing other crimes? Whatever projects undertaken for the last 9 years were implemented with the approval and consensus of his Cabinet. Do you have any proof that he used a veto power to do anything? You have been too long in the darkness. It is time you come back to your senses. There is nothing to talk about the SLFP. It doesn’t exist without Mahinda Rajapaksa. They know it better than us. That is why we hear them talking about postponing the general election.

    Your callous remarks about the war makes me sick. “Winning wars are alright”… Is that how you see the war against terrorism? The war was not Mahina Rajapaksa’s ‘trumph card’. By winning the war, risking of his own life, Mahinda Rajapaksa saved millions of people in Sri Lanka: Stopped the tears of thousands of mothers and father whose children fought against the terrorists in order to save the country for people like you to live: Gave a rush of relief to people who lived on uncertainty of their lives for nearly three decades. By undermining the victory against the terrorism, you are showing your blatant disregard to the sacrifices made by the security forces. You must not forget that the air you breath today is mixed with sweat, blood and tears of the people who fought, fell and contributed towards a peaceful Sri Lanka. You are a prime example of an ungrateful new generation created by the ‘yahapalanaya’ government. What else can we expect from someone who created a bad example for the country? That is why people need Mahinda Rajapaksa to come back to power and take reigns before it is too late.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa is the most influential factor in Sri Lanka. He will come back definitely not as a ‘third force’, but as the only force. Mahinda Rajapaksa will always remain in the hearts of the people and loved and respected as a true leader of Sri Lanka and as the Father of our Nation!

    • 3
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      Beautifully said!

    • 4
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      With all due respect, I agree with what you say. Yes he won the war. I will give him credit for that (wholly and unconditionally). Wars cannot be won by Generals only (contrary to what some kepuwath kola people think). We had 30 years and no leader during all that time had the guts to finish the war. The country will be grateful for that, regardless of those nitwits who try to belittle his contribution. I am forced to conclude that the only reason they condemn him is because he remains a villager, true to his heart. They can’t stand that.

      I am interested by your remarks on gratitude-lack on the part of my generation. The floating voter changed for Maithripala Sirisena thanks to Facebook and social media. But I don’t think this is reason enough to blackguard every one of them. Some of them voted for Maithripala, some for Mahinda, and others for neither of them: all because of the social media sway. Can’t condone, can’t condemn.

      I condemned the UNP then, I condemn it now. I condemn a Mahinda-less SLFP just as much as I condemn a Mahinda Rajapaksa who does not apologise for those misdeeds he did. The reason I do not respect or admire some of his detractors who themselves have dirty records (I don’t have to mention names here) is because they act as though they are lily-white. They are not. Neither is Mahinda. What separates Mahinda from those critics of his is that the former is loved and the latter are not. This was clearly shown by the way people reacted to them at the SLFP meeting last month.

      I still stand by what I said: Mahinda Rajapaksa is a factor. I hope he isn’t taken out of the political equation altogether, but the power to take him in or put him out belongs to Sirisena. Sadly. That’s politics. Crass and dirty.

  • 5
    2

    Uditha Devapriya:

    My dear young man listen here. You sound like a kindergarten boy just starting nursery rhymes.
    Have you heard Twinkle Twinkle Little Star how I wonder what you are.

    Let me give you some nursery lessons.

    1) Sri Lanka has almost never voted for people.

    *** You are right Sri Lanka has always voted for an Idea and that my dear boy is ” hate the Tamils”.
    Where do you I find this. In the annuls of Sri Lankan history which is full of atrocities inflicted on Tamils starting from 1958.

    2) Neither has it voted for parties.

    *** Here also you might be right. When it comes to Tamil rights they both dilly dally.

    3) It has voted for people and parties.

    *** No you are wrong. It has only voted for an IDEA and that is subjugation of Tamils.

    I can go on but I don’t want to bore you.

    One last observation.

    We’re seeing a “phenomenon” today. I don’t think this phenomenon is enough to break into either of the two main parties in the country. To put it simply, Mahinda Rajapaksa has a base, yes. But you can’t translate this into a “third force”. It’s not possible.

    *** You are wrong THUGS when they join forces can wreak havoc.

    Mahintha
    Gotha
    The absent Basil
    Wimal the Wansa
    Not to forget Vasu Nona
    last but not least
    Dyan the Bajan Bandit.

    It is a Lethal TOXIC mix.

  • 0
    2

    In fact if we like it or not, people like MR will be always an influential factor in Sri Lankan politics.

    Because political leaders would use (1) Race or (2) Religion or (3) Regional cards instead of their policies to justify their failures.

  • 0
    0

    This writer has no knowledge of Sri Lankan history. In 2600 years, Sri Lanka was united by 9 rulers. Mahinda is one of them. Period. Mahinda is not comparable with presend day leaders like D.S, Dudley. SWRD, Sirimavo, JR, Premadasa, Wijetunga, Chandrika or Siripala. He is with likes of Wijayabahu, Parakramabahu, Dutugamunu, Devanampiyatissa, Walagambahu and four others. Devapriya, Please write what you know.

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