A victory for the masses
Now that the dust has settled on the Budget vote, the
sooner the nation shakes off its political miasma and return to
reality the better it will be for the common good of all.
The past four weeks saw the public almost suspended in a
political vacuum by the unfolding drama in the country’s Supreme
Legislature and outside it centred on the budget.
This was perhaps the first budget in post-independence Sri
Lanka where the entire debate was centred on defeating an
elected Government through conspiratorial moves rather than a
critical analysis of the fiscal policy and for this reason it
could also mark a watershed in the country’s political history.
Now that the Government has prevailed with a clear majority
it behoves on the actors in the drama to put behind the
contentious and acrimonious feelings and make a collective
effort to ensure that the budget proposals are implemented for
the benefit of the country.
The Government should be magnanimous and forget all the
manoeuverings and shenanigans engaged by the Opposition to oust
it from power while the opposition should not permit the rancour
and the bitterness that marked the run up to the vote overtake
its better judgement.
Politics after all is about acquisition of power and a quest
for its retention. In this equation one side has to naturally to
give way. This should be the premise by which the Opposition
should look at things from here on and not allow the bitter
feelings engendered by its defeat.
It is time to put behind all antagonism and work for the
common good of the masses whom the Opposition is bound to serve
by virtue of being elected representatives of the public.
The country is at a decisive stage when the war against the
LTTE is being fought in earnest while several mega projects that
are to benefit the people are about to take off. It was stressed
time and again that defeating the budget at this juncture would
only help the ailing LTTE.
The LTTE needed some breathing space and the halting of
military operations through a budget defeat/dissolution of
Parliament would have helped it immensely.
The APRC that is entrusted to evolve a mechanism for power
sharing is also striving to forward its proposals and the
support and assistance of all political parties is essential to
move the process forward.
It would be pity indeed if the fallout of out from the budget
episode were to stymie the forward march of the country which
would be to the detriment to all. We should demonstrate to the
world that we are a mature democracy by emerging from the ashes
of this encounter between the Government and Opposition.
When countries around us are developing and forging ahead on
many fronts we alone cannot afford to wallow in politics.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe should take the lead in drilling into the their
MPs and partymen that fire and brimstone let out during the past
four weeks should not spill over into the general polity that
would certainly be an impediment to progress while causing deep
fissures in an already fractious polity.
They should strive to rein in vociferous partymen from making
statements that would reignite the rancour and bitterness of the
past few weeks.
While the Opposition is within its rights to criticise the
Government and engage in political work it would be ideal if
talk of toppling the Government is left out of its campaign lest
this create uncertainty and instability in the country at a time
that Government is poised to implement its ambitious budgetary
programmes and inflict a death blow to the LTTE.
Sri Lanka cannot afford another election right now and in any
case, the people will get an opportunity to elect another
Government in just three years’ time.
We say this because divisive politics had been the bane of
this country since independence. We have witnessed all along how
incoming regimes halted all work started by their predecessors.
This had not only retarded development but also served to
exacerbate the cleavages in society while taking the country
The future generations should not be allowed to inherit such
a legacy. Therefore it is paramount that a moratorium is imposed
on divisive politics. Otherwise the only winner will be the
ruthless LTTE. Let us hope that mature leadership will emerge
out of the dying embers of the fiery political engagement that
would eventually steer the country towards development and