1 October, 2020

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TNA’s Decision Sensible: Vote For The Better Candidate, For There Is Never A Perfect Candidate

By Aahithyan Ratnam –

The TNA’s Mavai Senathirajah has announced that they will not boycott the election. It shows the moderate credentials of the party. On the other hand the rabid “Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, the leader of Tamil National Peoples [sic.] Front (TNPF) on Thursday (18) addressing the media called on the Tamil people to boycott Sri Lanka’s presidential election next month, stating that the policies in relation to the Tamil question of the common opposition coalition did not differ from that [sic.] of the ruling regime.” (EyeSriLanka, Dec. 19, 2014)

TNA Mahinda and MaithripalaIn any election there is never a perfect candidate. We always vote for whoever is better than the others. By asking the Tamil people to boycott the elections, the TNPF is effectively asking us to treat candidates with flaws as equally rejectable when one might be slightly flawed and the other badly flawed. No one is perfect. But President Rajapaksa and Mr. Sirisena are certainly not equally bad. We must vote for the person who is better; for whoever is less flawed. By calling for a boycott the TNPF is favoring Mahinda Rajapaksa who is abominably worse for Tamils.

The TNA as a mature party with experience sees this. I feel confident that once Mr. R. Sampanthan, the TNA leader, returns from his medical treatment abroad, the party will endorse the common opposition candidate.

President Rajapaksa has a long list of negatives behind him – genocide, communalism (against Tamils, Muslims and Christian evangelicals), corruption, authoritarianism, family bandyism, favoritism, judicial meddling and so on, ad nauseam. There is really no one in his UPFA to balance these tendencies inimical to democratic governance.

Maithripala Sirisena has given us pause after raising our hopes. He has promised to protect war criminals. His promise of a local inquiry into war crimes is meaningless given the history of domestic judicial inquiries. His JHU connexion makes his commitment to minorities very suspect. Indeed he has not said one word on addressing Tamil grievances.

Leaving aside the Tamil perspective, on broader national matters will he be good for Sri Lanka, even if he is not better for Tamils, Muslims and other minorities? While any President who does not stand by minorities is never good for the nation, Mr. Sirisena also seems to be waffling on the abolition of the Executive Presidency, if Prof. Kumar David is to be believed. Nor do Mr. Sirisena’s son’s dealings give us confidence that he will stamp out corruption and thuggery.

Here Saint Paul’s First Letter to St. Timothy which sets standards for leaders is relevant (chapter 3):

“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.”

Although both President Rajapakse and Mr. Sirisena fail to meet these standards with respect to their children, the former fails miserably on most counts. The violence at Mullivaikal was under President Rajapaksa’s command. He has a reputation for assaulting people when he is upset. He is often drunk says a reliable friend of mine who has had to support him physically on many occasions to the bathroom when the President was in a drunken stupor. His and his family’s love for money is now legendary. Even the helicopter allegations connected to that greed are mind boggling – as the son claimed that the only helicopter he had from his father was a toy when he was a little boy, the father at a rally in Chilaw defended in intemperate and vulgar words his buying helicopters for his children (Colombo Telegraph, 18 Dec. 2014).

There is another difference between the President and Mr. Sirisena. Many thugs, including former UNP thugs active in 1983 like Lokuge, are firmly in the President’s camp as seen from their almost exclusive role in election violence in recent weeks. There is no one in his camp to moderate his evil tendencies. Even the once respectable leftists have shown themselves to be morally bankrupt, allowing themselves to be castrated in exchange for the comforts they receive.

On the other hand, although there are the JHU and some thugs with Mr. Sirisena, one may expect a major moderating influence from Chandrika who made the only serious effort to meet Tamil aspirations through the 2000 constitutional reform package which was defeated by

  1. a) The TNA, then a creature of the LTTE, obeying its masters and rejecting a real solution to Tamil problems which today, given our now circumstances, seems a pipedream. And
  2. b) Ranil playing what political scientist A.R.M. Imtiyaz describes as electoral symbolic politics and sending some MPs on trips to Singapore when he suspected that they might support the 2000 constitutional reforms. He thwarted what he himself tried to offer when in power a few years later so that credit would not go to Chandrika.

But people change. Today Chandrika and Ranil are working together. The TNA, now free of the LTTE, is a new organization with the sensible Sampanthan at its helm. Ranil too, after making anti-Tamil speeches while under JR after the 1983 riots, has shown himself to understand Tamil aspirations during the ceasefire period (although many Tamils feel he had swung too much the other way by being seemingly blind to the LTTE’s obvious machinations.)

Because of the moderating influence of Chandrika, Ranil and Managala Samaraeeera, the evisceration of Tamil, Muslim and evangelical Christian positions in society we have seen under President Rajapaksa is unlikely under Sirisena. If it happens under Sirisena, such evisceration matching what we have seen under Rajapaksa in scale is impossible because of the important positions that Chandrika, Ranil and Samaraweera would hold in his administration.

Left to themselves therefore, minorities would vote for Sirisena. Given that fact, a boycott would simply make it easier for Rajapaksa to get his third term. With Sirisena there is hope and likelihood for improvement even if there is no certainty. With Rajapaksa we will certainly have more of the same and we are sick of it. We now have the opportunity to effect change.

TNPF is simply wrong in calling for a boycott of the elections. To boycott the elections on Jan. 8 is to root for President Rajapaksa. Let us vote for change.

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Latest comments

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    I agree with Mr. Ratnam on his main points. Lacking any real support and electability, Gajen Ponnambalam has always sought to differentiate himself from the TNA by making irrational arguments.

    Despite being a party guy in Colombo, Kumar Ponnambalam once wanted to contest the Jaffna electorate from the TULF platform, and when this was denied (partly because V. Yogeswaran and his father Dr. Vettivelu were popular in Jaffna), he went back to ACTC and was never elected.

    By the way, Mr. Ratnam’s real identity is easily discernible. My intention is not to out him, but rather to make it clear that if I can identify him easily, so can others, and so he cannot assume that simply taking on an alias would prevent recognition.

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      Agnes,

      > By the way, Mr. Ratnam’s real identity is easily discernible. My intention is > not to out him, but rather to make it clear that if I can identify him easily,
      > so can others,

      This is not correct. You are very clever like Miss Marple. Rest of us aren’t.

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    Tamil votes in the north east could be a crucial factor in this election.I have extrapolated the 2010 presidential election results and it shows that maithri needs a majority of 200000 votes from the tamils of the north east to topple mahinda.

    here is the 2010 presidential results and forecast of the 2015 one.

    http://www.infolanka.com/news/election2010.htm

    1.Assume that 125000 voters decide to switch from mahinda to maithripala in the colombo district,then maithri will win colombo by a majority of 170000 votes.

    2.If 140000 voters switch from mahinda to maithri in the gampaha district it would be too difficult to call.Either one could win it.

    3.So the net effect after the cumulative results of colombo and gampaha is maithri leading by 170000 votes.

    4.Now take the other big district of kurunegala.If 100000 voters switch from mahinda to maithri,mahinda will win that district by 55000.

    5.So after these three big districts are polled maithri will be leading by 115000 votes.

    6.Now take kandy district.If 75000 voters decide to switch from mahinda to maithri then maithri will win kandy by 75000 votes.

    7.So after the results in colombo,gampaha,kurunegala and kandy districts is added up,maithri will be leading by 190000 votes with Mahinda winning kurunegala district and maithri winning colombo and kandy with gampaha going either way.

    8.now take kalutara,galle and ratnapura which are medium size districts and assume a switch of 50000 voters from mahinda to maithri in each district then mahinda will still win kalutara by 80000,galle by 75000 and ratnapura by 75000 votes,making a total of approx 225000 votes.

    9.So after the seven largest districts colombo,gampaha,kurunegala,kandy and kalutara,galle,ratnapura counting is over mahinda would be leading with 35000 votes with maithri only winning colombo and kandy and mahinda kurunegala,kalutara,galle and ratnapura.

    10.Now take the small medium districts like kegalle,matara,anuradhapura and badulla and assuming a switch of 40000 votes from mahinda to maitri,then kegalle,matara and anurathapura will be won by mahinda by 40000,70000 and 75000 votes while maithri will win badulla by 40000,giving a net total majority to mahinda from these 4 districts of approximately 150000 votes.

    11.So after the largest 11 districts are counted mahinda will be leading by 185000 votes with maithri winning colombo,kandy and badulla with gampaha too difficult to call.

    12.The balance 11 districts are small ones with some smaller than the others.If we take the largest of them puttalam,hambantota,nuwaraeliya and digamadulla and assume a switch of 25000 from mahinda to maithri,then mahinda will win puttalam by about 15000,hambantota by 70000 while maithri will win nuwara eliya by 80000 and digamadulla by 55000 and giving him a net effect of 50000 from these 4 districts.

    13.If you substract this 50000 votes for maithri from the cumulative 185000 votes for mahinda so far as in point 11, mahinda will be leading maithri by 135000 votes after 15 districts of the 22 are counted,with maithri winning only colombo,kandy,badulla,nuwar eliya and digamadulla

    14.Now let us take matale and moneragala.Assuming a switch of 20000 votes,mahinda would yet win matale by 20000 and moneragala by 50000

    15.So the grand total at this stage for mahinda after the count of 17 out of 22 districts would be 200000 majority.

    16.now to pollonaruwa where maithri comes from.Will the home crowd vote for the local fella or mahinda?I probably would think the local.

    17.normally i would have given a swing of 15000 votes from mahinda to maithri,but because this is the local fella probably it would double to 30000.Too difficult to call any way and could go either way.

    18.Now coming to the balance 4 districts which are tamil majority batticaloa,trinco,jaffna and vanni.Can they give a majority of 200000 votes to maithri to clinch the election for him.

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    No one should take Gajendrakumar’s call for election boycott seriously. He has been engaged in barren politics ever since he and his party lost deposit in the parliamentary elections held in 2010. See Table below:

    Electoral District Votes % Seats Turnout

    Jaffna 6,362 4.28% 0 23.33%

    Trincomalee 1,182 0.85% 0 62.20%

    Total 7,544 0.09% 0 61.26%
    Source:”Parliamentary General Election – 2010″. Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.

    There were at least three boycotts in the past by Thamil voters.
    In 1931 the Jaffna Youth Congress boycotted the elections for the Legislative Council. There were no nomination filed for Jaffna, Kankesanthurai, Kayts and Point Pedro. G.G Ponnambalam contested Mannar and lost. The result of the boycott ended in the formation of a Pan Sinhala Board of Ministers. It was due to the efforts of senior G.G. Ponnambalam the boycott was lifted in 1934. G.G. Ponnambalam himself contested Point Pedro and got elected. The next boycott was the parliamentary elections held in 1994. This resulted in the EPDP bagging all the nine seats in the Jaffna district with poling just 10,077 votes. The turn out was just 2.32%. The bulk of the votes came from Kytes (9,944) occupied by the armed para – military group EPDP. Again the 2005 presidential elections was unofficially boycotted by the LTTE and as a result Mahinda Rajapaksa scraped through by a majority of 185,132 votes. Rajapaksa polled 50.29% ageist Ranil Wickremasinghe 48.43%. Over 500,000 voters in Jaffna, Vanni, Trincomalee, Amparai and Batticaloa who would have otherwise voted for Ranil Wickremasinghe did not vote in this elections. So boycotting elections where there is even a semblance democracy and periodical elections, is political suicide for Thamils. Gajendrakumar must use his head not his heart when he makes political decisions.

    After this debacle he like the proverbial fox wants others too to boycott election. This has become an obsession with him and his rag tag party which is confined to No. 43, 3rd Cross St. Jaffna. He has no influence outside the Jaffna peninsula. He does not know where is Batticaloa, Amparai. He has gone to Trincomalee in 2010 election campaign. There after he has not stepped in. In the presidential elections held in 2010, the turn out for Jaffna electoral district was 25.66%. At the Parliamentary elections held in April 2010 the turn out was just 23.33%. To the disappointment of Gajendrakumar the turn out for the Northern and Eastern provincial elections increased not decreased compared to 2010 parliamentary elections and presidential elections. The turn out for 2013 Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Jaffna electoral district was 64.15! And turn out for Vanni electoral district was 43.89%. So the boycott call of Gajendrakumar is a farce. Nobody is listening to him. There were at least three boycotts in the past by Thamil voters.

    In 1931 the Jaffna Youth Congress boycotted the elections for the Legislative Council. There were no nomination filed for Jaffna, Kankesanthurai, Kayts and Point Pedro. G.G Ponnambalam contested Mannar and lost. The result of the boycott ended in the formation of a Pan Sinhala Board of Ministers. It was due to the efforts of senior G.G. Ponnambalam the boycott was lifted in 1934. G.G. Ponnambalam himself contested Point Pedro and got elected. The next boycott was the parliamentary elections held in 1994. This resulted in the EPDP bagging all the nine seats in the Jaffna district with poling just 10,077 votes. The turn out was just 2.32%! Again the 2005 presidential elections was unofficially boycotted by the LTTE and as a result Mahinda Rajapaksa scraped through by a majority of 185,132 votes (50.29%) against Ranil Wickremasinghe (48.43%). Over 500,000 voters who would have otherwise voted for Ranil Wickremasinghe did not vote in this elections. So boycotting elections where there is even a semblance democracy and periodical elections, is political suicide for Thamils. Gajendrakumar must use his head not his heart when he makes political decisions.

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    We have two principle of Democracy has to be protected and safeguard Sri-lanka Democratic of Republic by major political parties.

    1 Nation and People Sovereignty, Independence and Democracies norms of
    Sri lanka.
    2 Unity and Territorial Integrity of Island of Sri lanka very important of peace stability and security of an Island.

    Ours national politics any political classes that cannot bargain with any of democracies principles by Sinhalese or Tamil or Muslim communities or political class, or parties above that Principle of Modern formulation of the concept national sovereignty.
    Sovereignty surpassed by far all previous rights Democrats at any cost of people the Sri lankan.

    But needless to say TNA policy package which that totally denied Territorial Integrity and Sovereignty of Island, that was result of Political Separatism of Eealm which advocated by Tamil political class in Sri lanka.

    TNA politics Not only that confined Island which that Tamil political class ongoing that working on Global strategy vision to set up Tamil speaking state in Tamil Nadu as center of World Map.

    TNA and allied LTTE- Tamil Ruthless Terrorist political class and other diasporas in many parts of western center had already being exist Tamil Exile Government the led by moral and financial support by TNA and LTTE Tamil classes. .The blessing of Hegemony of west to seek established Tamil State in Part of Sri lanka.

    So TNA politics tactics are base on incoming Presendintal election is not working for democracy but hipcoracy of Separatism, that undermine and misled masses of People Island.

    All the threads of a long historical development an Island were woven together sovereignty and separatism by TNA Tamil political classes.

    In the identity that is the spiritual essence of Sovereignty and independence of the people and nation, there is a territory embedded with cultural meanings, a shared history ,and a linguistic community. After 2009 May the construction of national identity guarantees a continually reinforced legitimation and RIGHT AND DEMOCRATIC POWER of a sacrosanct and irrepressible unity. This is a decisive shift our sovereignty by MR Presidency since 2009 May.

    We all Sri Lankan do not want surrender that Sovereignty and restoration of WAR tone politics by Foreign Power whatever cost of War repeated Lunched by Tamil Political class of Sri Lankan in and out an Island. Which that is by hook or Crook political vision of TNA.

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