By MYM Siddeek –
There is a widespread rumour that Mithripala Sirisena agreed to nominate Mahinda Rajapaksa as a parliamentary candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary election. Many people do not believe this rumour for the reasons well known to the world. The victory of MS in the presidential election in January 8th, 2015 was not a surprise because it was expected that the Tamil and Muslim minority groups that were subjected to serious injustices by the MR government since 2005 would overwhelmingly vote for him. As expected, they came out to vote for MS in great strength. For example, over 68 percent of the votes in the Northern Province was polled in distinct contrast to the 2010 elections when Jaffna district saw only 25 percent polling and the other districts of Wanni region saw just 40 percent polling. The Muslims too voted with unusual enthusiasm and in large numbers for MS. Overall the election registered a record turnout exceeding 81%. Their votes were mainly anti-MR than pro-MS. The people voted for MS to get rid of MR tyranny rather than being convinced by the pledge of MS to implement the 100-day reform program. Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese population too objected to the amount of power accrued by MR’s family and corruption of his regime. In other words what they wanted was a regime change. The country never witnessed such a communal unity among the major three communities in the Sri Lankan history in an election. There were clear reasons for this. It was obvious that many Tamils were believed to have voted heavily for MS not because they supported him but because they hated MR so much. Muslims, the second-largest ethnic minority, also voted against MR, who was accused of backing BBS and other racist groups and turning a blind eye on anti-Muslim violence in June last year in Aluthgama and Beruwela areas. As for the Sinhalese, MS’s entry into the race gave them another credible option if they wanted Sri Lanka to move in a right direction.
Therefore, if MS agrees to nominate MR in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the people will never forgive him and they will consider it as the biggest betrayal of the people in the Sri Lankan political history. He will be clearly branded as a traitor. It may also be the end of his political career after he completes his term of office in little more than four years’ time. People now urge MS not to make such historic mistake in his political career. The voters entrusted him with the task of cleaning the mess, eliminating corrupt practices, restoring rule of law and ensuring good governance by eliminating the family rule on the 8th January 2015. President MS himself repeatedly said this publicly on several occasions before and after the election. What would make him to take a big U turn and betray 6.2 million voters?
When we go back to pre January 2015 days, it will be very clear why the people voted for MS. When MS announced on 21 November 2014 that he would challenge incumbent President MR at the 2015 presidential election as the common opposition candidate a large number of people even did not know well who he was. But the people were convinced very much with his election propaganda and promises. MS claimed that everything in Sri Lanka was controlled by MR and that the country was heading towards a tyranny with widespread corruption, nepotism and a breakdown of the rule of law. Although he promised to abolish the executive presidency within 100 days of being elected, repeal the controversial eighteenth amendment, re-instate the seventeenth amendment and appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister, the main convincing appeal to the people was getting rid of MR. He also said immediately after he was elected president, ‘no more abductions, no more censorship, no more family rule, no more dictatorship.’ Soon after his declaration as the Presidential candidate, MS said “Today 48 political parties and organisations have united as a common coalition regardless of party policies, ethnicity and religion to defeat MR’s corrupt regime.” During his election campaign, MS said that he had warned MR to change his ways or risk new unrest in the country. He further said that MR was leading the country down a dangerous road to destruction. He also said that “I came out because I could not stay anymore with a leader who had plundered the country, government and national wealth.” Since MS’s defection, dozens of MR loyalist parliamentarians followed him. Is he going to betray all of them too if the rumour is proved to be true?
MS should not forget the fact that, as reported by some parliamentarians, MR even attempted to stage a coup in order to stay in power when it became clear he was going to lose the election. He should also remember that he was branded a “traitor” by MR’s close allies.
If MR is given nomination, it might be the end of the party and we will be able to see a large number of crossovers to the opposition. MS should not forget all the struggles the people, his allied parties and partners went through to elect him as President of this country. If he betrays the people by giving the country to MR again, he will have to pay a very big price for this. What is he going to tell those voters who relied on him and trusted him in the last Presidential election? People have not forgotten the dictatorial and family rule against which MS campaigned to become the President. MS should realise the fact that MR is trying to destroy the country once again.
When MS made a speech at the function to celebrate Chandrika Kumaratunga‘s 70th birthday at BMICH he did not forget to mention that he would take his decisions considering his party and the country. It also means that he will not put his party before the country and people who voted for him. It was a known fact that MR was detrimental to both the party and the country. Therefore, he needs to take a right decision not to allow MR as a candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary election. MS also did not fail to mention that he never thought of becoming President even in his dream and it was CBK who initiated the idea of putting forward his name as Presidential candidate. He also said that he never thought JVP and UNP would support him. Is he going to betray all these parties, personalities and the people? The decision and the country’s future are solely in his hand now!