Vote for development, democracy
President Rajapaksa who gave the political
leadership and the forces who valiantly fought the war turned that
situation of hopelessness and despair into one of hope and expectation
On January 26 millions of eligible voters will walk into that tiny
little cubicle placed in different parts of the country to indicate
their choice as to who should be the President of this country for the
next six years. As things stands today it is obviously a choice between
two people. Mahinda Rajapaksa the incumbent President and the former
Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.
vote File photo
It is a choice between a person who believed in the ballot throughout
his political career, and on the other hand, a person who believed in
the bullet throughout his military career. On the other hand it is a
choice between a person who believed, though tedious, in the democratic
process in settling matters, resolving issues, which involves
consultation, compromise, consensus and on the other hand, a person who
believed in the dictum of ‘comply and complain.’ So the people will have
to make the choice carefully.
Others in the arena may be just proxies for some others or may be
coming forward for personal gains or recognition. In a country where the
people are status conscious it is a great thing for some one to say that
he was a Presidential candidate no matter the number of votes he gets.
As far as the country is concerned the issues at stake are many and
complex in nature which has a great bearing on its future. Therefore, it
is my view the choice that the people will have to make at this
Presidential election is crucial and eventually decide the fate of the
nation. The people will have to decide which direction the country
should move. Development, Democracy, National integration, Unitary
nature of the country etc. it was not long ago that we had a sigh of
relief, that the country was able to overcome one of the most dreaded,
miserable, devastating war which bled the country for more than three
decades. People were jubilant.
We cannot forget the fact that there was a time that none of us had
any hope for this country. But the victory of war turned that situation
overnight. President Rajapaksa who gave the political leadership and the
forces who valiantly fought the war turned that situation of
hopelessness and despair into one of hope and expectation. It was the
single most important promise the President made through his Mahinda
Chinthana policy which he fulfilled within a short period of four years.
Mahinda Rajapaksa was under tremendous pressure from the
international community with vested interest. The LTTE activists, Tamil
Diaspora, until they saw the dead body of Prabhakaran made every effort
to stop the humanitarian operation which Rajapaksa relentlessly pursued
to emancipate the innocent Tamil people who suffered for nearly three
decades under the despotic rule of Prabhakaran. But Mahinda Rajapaksa
did not yield to any of those pressures.
Even political stalwarts like President Jayewardene, President
Premadasa could not resist the international pressure and they gave up
their military operation on the verge of victory. If not this LTTE
menace would have been eradicated a long time ago.
With the turn of events, people started talking about newly won
freedom. A better future for the country. “Now we can get about without
fear of getting caught to a bomb blast. No longer we have to wait
anxiously to see that our kith and kin return home after their day’s
work.” That was what the people were talking about. But suddenly that
mood has changed.
The situation changed so fast it took not more than a few weeks to
turn that euphoria once gain into anxiety, uncertainty and intrigue.
Amidst the turn of events one could see strange developments in the
political scene. Arch Political rivals forming coalitions confirming the
fact that in politics there are no permanent enemies or permanent
friends.’ Parties with diametrically opposing political philosophies’
views and interest forming common fronts.
Crossovers, betrayals, conspiracies, mud slinging, character
assassinations have become the order of the day. Pledges, promises are
so much in abundance, people are confused, perplexed and are unable to
comprehend the real issues and the undercurrents of the real politics.
The looming threat to the nation is covered with a thick curtain of
promises, pledges though attractive unrealistic in delivering.
It appears that the Opposition common front is hell bent on unseating
Mahinda Rajapaksa from the Presidency. For what reason? The fabricated
reasons are to rid corruption, nepotism, family bandism, lessen Cost of
Living, restoration of democracy and media freedom etc.
Aren’t they hackneyed political slogans the electors are familiar
with from the inception of the electoral process? The promises that the
Opposition common candidate is making are the very same promises that
the parties who are backing him failed to fulfill when they were in
Probably Fonseka being a new comer to politics is ignorant of these
things or may be that he is having a different agenda in his mind which
no body knows. To mention a few it was not too long ago that the Supreme
Court passed judgment against the former President who is now active
behind the Opposition campaign to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa.
People are not short of memory to forget many a corruption charges
levelled against certain people who now have become the vociferous
spokesmen from the Sarath Fonseka/JVP/UNP platform against corruption.
People are also alive to the fact that the majority of the people who
were accused by the COPE report are today’s flag bearers of the
Opposition political platform supporting Sarath Fonseka.
Today Sarath Fonseka himself is accused of corruption involving his
family members. May be these are good talking points for the ‘night
clubbing’, ‘Whisky sipping’ cocktail circles in Colombo and suburbs. But
for the rural folk who have placed unwavering trust on Mahinda what
matters is the unprecedented development that is taking place in the
rural areas which is affecting every aspect of their lives.
One should move out of Colombo to see what is happening. Seeing is
believing. The writer was amazed to see the transformation that is
taking place in an around the port city of Hambantota. Being a person
who started the public service career in the ‘Magampatthuwa’ as far back
in 1970 in the Hambantota district as a DRO it was something that I
never envisaged to happen during my lifetime.
Even Mahinda Rajapaksa who entered politics during the same period
from ‘Giruwapattuwa’ in Hambantota as a young MP wouldn’t have dreamt of
doing what he is doing now. But it is happening. May be that he is
destine to do that. You go to the Hill country and enter from the Hatton
side to Nuwara Eliya. You can see the massive development that is taking
place in the Upper Kotmale area. You come down and enter the Kandy
District you see the massive road development work that is taking place
form Kandy to Mahiyangana.
Go to Puttalam you see the road development that is taking place
connecting Puttalam to Anuradhapura. ‘Kerawalapitiya’ Norochcholai
Colombo-Matara express highway, Colombo Katunayake highway projects
which were abandoned many a times due to various pressures have taken
off the ground.
It is no different in the NCP, Eastern and the Northern Provinces.
The bridges, and the roads that are being built connecting the North and
the South, will relieve major communities from economic, social and
cultural isolation and usher them in to an era of mutual trust and
understanding. You go to Polonnaruwa and take a drive on the newly built
Polonnaruwa Batticaloa Road. You will enjoy the pleasure of driving.
What you see all over - the country is the reawakening of the Land of
Opportunity, the resplendent island called Sri Lanka.
An evenly distributed development program which is the main thrust of
Mahinda Chinthana is really unfolding. It is unfolding before our own
eyes. Eventually it will help to mitigate the widespread inequalities in
income distribution in different regions and eliminate deep-rooted
poverty in these areas which was the main concern of all of us. So who
wants to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa? Not the majority of the masses who have
repeatedly expressed their gratitude to him for what he has done and for
what he is doing.
It is the hypocrites, people with short memories, anarchists who
thrive on chaos, the bankrupt politicians who had been repeatedly
rejected by the people, more importantly the proxies of the LTTE who are
now engaged in a cold war with the backing of a certain section of the
international community to resuscitate Prabhakaran’s dream to whom
Mahinda is an irritant. Will the people who love this country allow
these conspirators to fulfill their wish? No certainly not.