By R. Fernando –
The writer [whilst misquoting Hamlet] has in recent times increasingly come across a worrying and despondent notion that opposition [via voting] to the relentless march of the Podujana Peramuna is a futile exercise. This despair arises from the realization that the main opposition UNP and its non-compliant offspring the SJB have consistently demonstrated their incompetence in most matters and that they are both happy to be slaves and willing vassals to the President, even more pliant than perhaps his own party! In this shameful abrogation of political leadership they are also complicit in the president’s open militarization of government and the ethnic distancing this will espouse. Despite the constantly spouted mantra that repealing the 19th amendment to the constitution is the panacea to all the ills of the Yahapalana government (YPG), this has been shown to be dallying with the truth by legal luminaries who are familiar with this much maligned document. The 19th amendment gave most executive power and authority back to the government and its head and if one really wants to serve the nation, despite its several short comings, the government has within grasping reach the tools needed to raise the country from a “Near Failed State into a South Asian model.” To still be called a “Developing Nation” after 70 plus years should rankle as a matter of national shame.
So why is the SLPP hell bent on a 2/3rd majority? After all with sibling as president, there is little obstruction to prevent an economic and social miracle from taking place in Sri Lanka despite Covid-19 and the Easter attack, which our neighbours would surely want to emulate. The writer must agree with the better informed many who have said that by repealing the 19A the little good by the YPG will be discarded, lock stock and barrel. This includes discarding of the checks and balances brought in by the many commissions, diluting power of parliament, strengthening presidential power to frightening proportions, removing presidential term limits and importantly, whitewashing the murky past of corruption, murder, criminal impunity that became the hall marks of the previous MR led UPFA government. As has already begun happening, pending cases against the faithful will be judged, politically motivated and new cases will be brought against potential opponents. From GR’s inaugural address onwards he made it clear that minorities no longer matter in the destiny of this country and if they want even a few crumbs from the table, they must like Fido, behave well. In addition, militarization is increasingly encroaching civilian life, particularly in the North and East. In the South, voters must then be cautious that electing MR and his band of goons (please note that many of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Viyathmaga devotees will baulk at the chance of breaking bread with these types) they open the door to deadly corruption, non-scrupulous destruction of our natural resources, violation of the law, suppression of minority rights, sexual abuse and much more.
Therefore handing a 2/3rds on a platter must be prevented at all costs even if the alternatives are not immediately appealing. In the recent past it was even fashionable to claim one had “spoilt” ones vote since none of the aspirants would pass muster. “Why bother? SLPP is going to win anyway.” Another frequently heard refrain these days to justify not voting against their seemingly undefeatable onslaught.
However please consider the simple arithmetic to prove how disastrous this attitude could be. Assume there are 10 voters on the lists of whom, let’s say 5 vote SLPP. If the other votes are spread over the balance opposition parties including UNP, SJB, NPP and TNA, 5 out of 10 votes will give 50% vote and most possibly power in Parliament. If however 2 voters decide out of sheer disgust to stay at home instead, SLPP wins 5 out of 8 votes, which is 62.5% with all the resources at hand to wean the odd opposition member to make the magic 2/3rds. If 3 stay at home, they win the prize cup hands down, a dire situation indeed. Of course it is not quite as simple as the presidential race where a simple majority decides the winner. Things in the General Election get complicated with electorates, bonus seats etc. but the principle is the same. Spoiling and not voting come to the same thing and lends a helping hand to the SLPP endeavours. It would be difficult to convince the SLPP supporters of the perils of untrammelled power, but everyone who rejects and rebuffs the principles they [pohottuwa] stand for, must vote for a party and their candidate (please note that voting for party alone is counted as a spoilt vote) so if you are sick of the UNP and its breakaway off spring, the SJB then please do seriously consider the NPP as a rational choice to ensure there is a systematic, credible and vocal opposition in parliament that will block unfettered freedom to do as they please.
If the readers have been even marginally following the movements of the NPP, at least by now it must become clear that they seem to be the only party who highlight and speak about the many discrepancies, irregularities and anomalies that seem to occur regularly over countless many years and especially after the 17th November 2019. They have been the custodians of the peoples’ interest and country and have not been proved corruptible so far. The tawdry, puerile and at times malicious accusations leveled at them [which mostly fall into the fallacy ad hominem category] are barefaced lies and hold no water whatsoever on closer examination. It is up to the mature voter to do his/her research rapidly, and come to a conclusion about the NPP as once the knell is sounded, there is no turning back. It is human inclination to believe whatever is more sensational and gossip mongering than search for the truth. We should not get carried away by shoddy mudslinging campaigns which have never been proved true, been systematically operative over many years and patented by the party in power from during its previous regime. If one wonders why they would go into such lengths to negate them the answer is evident as they are the only party who has consistently been the thorn in the flesh of the then UPFA, PP and the UNP when anomalous incidents and situations arose. They seem to function as the pulse beat of an otherwise slumbering [dare I say vegetative?] nation! It should be clear by now that pleasing themselves [not forgetting kith and kin] has been the beloved motto of the Podujana Peramuna and is always, always at the cost of the people and the progress of the country.