By Ranga Kalansooriya –
In his latest book on political marketing, a timely release during the electioneering process, Dr Sunil Jayantha Navaratna argues that a vote by person to a particular political party or to a candidate is a temporary loan based on a package presented through propaganda and promotion during the campaign. That package consists of seven Ps – Person (candidate), [Party and Logo], [Policies & Plans], Promises, Performances, [Perceptions & Predictions] and Payback.
When analyses the August 17 polls according to the above argument, it seems UNF has succeeded in packaging its seven Ps – or at least most of them – but still did not managed to secure the required simple majority (113 seats) as a single party.
In fact the battle was not a direct competition between two persons as it happened on January 8. It was battle between a person and a set of policies in which the majority trusted the latter than an individual.
Going by Dr Navaratna’s logic, the UPFA had only two strong Ps within its camp. The first was the Person in Mahinda Rajapakse. The entire UPFA campaign was designed around his personal Charisma and all the candidates magnetized around it. The other P that worked for him was his Performances – not on governance or economic development of the country – but purely on war. One could argue that the votes UPFA bagged were still payback or gratitude for winning the war – mainly from his strong Sinhala-Buddhist vote base. Other than those two reasons, I don’t think his voters trusted his Policies & Plans, Promises or even Perceptions.