By Janakie Seneviratne –
In today’s context, not only Sri Lanka but the whole world is in turmoil and most of the countries are facing an economic downturn. On top of that, Covid-19 pandemic has delivered a heavy blow to economic activities in the country and worldwide. At the same time, even before the onset of pandemic, there had not been fair distribution of wealth and income. This situation has further been compounded by the current pandemic to widen the existing income gap between the haves and have not. Unfortunately, majority of the world population is living below the poverty line. Apart from that, in many countries people are facing unemployment and more so, some are on the brink of starvation. In a nutshell, it all boils down to the system of administration in countries with a capitalist framework.
Ever since, Sri Lanka gained independence from British Empire in 1948, much water has flowed under the bridge. From time to time, many political parties had contested at elections, as separate entities, some even as coalitions. Winning party has had ruled the country as coalitions and sometimes as a single party. Post-independence Lanka, although has made some astounding strides in certain sectors, overall progress and development of the country is at a low ebb. However, compared to many other countries in the region, development has been lagging behind due to a host of reasons.
Since independence, our politicians in parliament had been misusing power. Of late, the whole country has been plagued by nepotism, embezzlement, bribery, corruption, let alone political infighting. These events portray the rulers’ lack of vision for developing the country. Thus far our traditional mainstream political parties have messed up in parliament whilst desperately failing to address the needs and aspirations of the masses. It is not surprising that politicians with vested interest, by hook or by crook make every effort to come to power. Most of the time, in the event they lose at elections, they resort to political horse trading and engage in turncoat politics and try in one way or another to cling on to power for their own vested interests. Many corrupt politicians, no sooner they clinch power, start exploring for opportunities to make a fast buck. Towards this end, they would keep no stone unturned to find ways and means to creep through any loophole they find in the rule of law.
Main political parties along with our traditional leftists’ parties had been delivering their usual “tongue in cheek” speeches and pulling wool over the eyes of the voters at elections to lure their votes and clinch power to rule our country for so long. Although the rulers downplay these issues, the reality is that they have failed to bring about any substantial improvement in our people’s standard of living compared to their counterparts in the region.
What’s worse, today the majority of the voiceless masses are on a knife edge and have fallen from the frying pan to the fire. At the end of the day the masses are compelled to bear the brunt of the economic slowdown. On the other hand, there are no developmental projects seen to be getting off the ground. Nevertheless, it appears that the rulers have amassed wealth by unknown means whilst sending the fellow countrymen from pillar to post, leaving the country’s economy bleeding. It appears that our frivolous and dithering politicians without any foresight have ruined our economy due to mismanagement, tomfoolery, corrupt practices including plundering our natural resources with their retinue of cronies. As a result, our economy is in shambles leaving the present and future generations at stake. Of late masses have come to visualize the grotesque picture in front of them along with the writing on the wall about the future of Sri Lanka. This has prompted them to gather steam and lampoon the politicians. Today the politicians in power have started earning the wrath of the citizens as their actions have plunged the country into crisis.
Enough is enough! In this grim scenario, it is worth pondering on the credentials of NPP in relation to their participation in parliamentary politics. The NPP is a political alliance formed in 2019 comprising of several political parties, civil society organisations, social activists, artists, religious leaders and an academic body called National Intellectual Organisation (NIO) under the leadership of Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Their comprehensive manifesto “Deshaye Apekshawa” (Expectation of the Nation) encompasses eight important fundamental national policies.
JVP as a political party has gone through thick and thin and have learned many lessons the hard way from the past. Strong determination coupled with their experiences in parliamentary politics, have emboldened their ability to take up any form of challenge to prove their mettle in the political playing field. The new political alliance, NPP has emerged as political force to reckon with. NPP as a true democratic political alliance is in essence a people friendly political outfit that understands the real aspirations of the masses. Needless to mention, that from top to bottom, they are from a highly disciplined stock who are dedicated and honest to the core. They abide by a code of their ethics and they do not believe in pomp, pageant or fame at the expense of the public. Among other things, there is no place for any form of indiscipline, gender discrimination, vainglory, double standards, racism, or any other wrong doings within the NPP. In the past, JVP parliamentarians have boldly displayed their political prowess and acumen time and again in parliament to uphold the common interests of the people. It is, therefore, crystal clear that, NPP hand in hand with JVP have proved itself as a fully-fledged democratic political alliance with socialist ideals and standing tall, shoulder to shoulder with other fellow representatives in parliament.
In this backdrop, the ground reality is that people from all walks of life have started rallying round NPP, as they have recognised NPP, as a political alliance having the political will, commitment and the know how to govern the country. In fact, NPP is now seen as the only alternative time-tested political alliance, exhibiting honest capabilities to pull out the country from the present quagmire in order to steer the country towards prosperity. Hence, the question arises as to why we should not support NPP and give them a chance to come to power and rule our country with the NIO and other like-minded organisations and activists.
Time is ticking off fast and there is no time for dilly dallying. In the circumstances, it is high time to act fast in the best interest of the country. Historical trend shows us that from time immemorial, Sri Lankan voters had placed their trust in the traditional parties and whole heartedly supported them and voted for them. Yet, the political parties that came to power from time to time continuously betrayed the masses and badly let the voters down high and dry. It would therefore be imperative to rationalize and take a few minutes to ponder the idea of supporting NPP members as an alternative to the traditional political parties belonging to both right and left that have wrecked havoc and ruined our country to the hilt.
Yet I wouldn’t be surprised if a handful of armchair critics, reactionaries, capitalists and corrupt find this proposition hard to swallow. What’s more, they may even stand in the way of mooting this sacred idea among the general public. Yet who knows, based on the honesty and dedication of its members, NPP may find an algorithm to put the country in order. Although the Herculean task of putting our economy on right track may sound weird and not that easy, NPP may find a game changing silver bullet to grease the squeaky wheels of the government machinery. They have clear vision and the impetus to infuse new vigour and energy to the government sector. In the circumstance, it would be the bounden duty of the people to understand the prevailing dire situation faced by the country. Do not let history repeat itself! You as the voters of this country for good reasons have the liberty to change this state of affairs. At this crucial juncture, let us firmly resolve to cast our votes at future elections for NPP and let us afford them an opportunity to emerge victorious as a formidable power in parliament to usher in a corrupt free era and develop Sri Lanka at “Warp speed”. There’s nothing time can’t heal; thus time is the best healer. Time teaches us to forget and forgive.