A ringing re-endorsement
The triumph of the ruling UPFA in the three Provincial
Council polls held over the weekend could be seen as a ringing
re-endorsement of the governing coalition by the masses. The
results are added evidence that the people of this country do
not see an alternative to the UPFA on the issue of governance.
It goes without saying that this triumph is also a
re-statement of public confidence in President Mahinda Rajapaksa,
who is the driving force behind the ruling coalition and is its
most influential guide. As should be known, the President
traveled the length and breadth of this country in the run-up to
the polls, and there is no doubt that his caring presence in the
provinces helped to enhance the electoral fortunes of the UPFA.
Special mention needs to be made of the Eastern Provincial
Council poll, where a close tussle was expected among the main
contestants, but where the UPFA emerged a clear winner. As was
right along known, there were political forces which were
seeking to extract political gains in the province by harping on
ethnic and religious issues, but the triumph of the UPFA is
proof that these tactics have not paid any dividends for these
Clearly, those who were seeking to engage in divisive
politics in the East, have been given a sound rebuff by the
Eastern voter. The latter would prefer to go along with the UPFA
which has in its fold a number of political parties which are
representative of the legitimate interests of our numerous
communities and religions.
The average voter would prefer the UPFA, which represents the
totality of interests of our social groups rather than go along
with those parties which are dangerously persisting with the
divisive agendas of the past.
These achievements of the UPFA should not be a cause for
complacency on the alliance’s part. A duty is now cast on it to
deliver on its repeated promises. Principal among these pledges
is the Parliamentary Select Committee proposal which must be
gone ahead with and a comprehensive solution found to the issues
facing our communities. What the average voter is asking for is
not anything on the lines of which political formations, such
as, the TNA have been clamouring for over the years.
Apparently, separate states and ‘homelands’ are not of any
importance, currently, for the average voter of the East, in
these times of post-conflict resolution and rejuvenation. They
would prefer to go ahead with the development process and it is
the state which plays a prime role in the development thrust.
Hence, the ‘thumbs-up’ for the UPFA at Saturday’s poll.
This strong trust the government would do well not to betray.
Instead, the state should go right ahead and deliver all that it
has promised to the voter. Needless to say, a durable solution
to the conflict is prime among these lingering needs.
As seen by the results, it has been rather smooth sailing for
the UPFA in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces, but in
the case of these regions too, there should not be any
complacency and smug satisfaction. It must be remembered that
the President toured these provinces and he had occasion to draw
the attention of the provincial and local government authorities
to the numerous developmental bottlenecks at ‘ground level.’
Provincial elections, ideally, ought to be about provincial
development. There is apparently general satisfaction with the
way UPFA administrations have been handling development in the
provinces but nothing could be taken for granted.
The problems at the local level highlighted by the President,
if and when resolved, could result in accelerated development
and this thrust needs to be aimed at by the new provincial
Inevitably, confidence in the central government comes to be
reflected in the triumphs scored by the ruling party at the
provincial and local levels. Evidently, there is wide acceptance
for the center’s policies and programmes and common welfare has
been a central element in the latter. Hopefully, empowerment at
the individual and group levels would continue to be the focus
of our development effort.