Thursday, 25 December 2008

In the troubled waters of politics in Sri Lanka.

In politics friendship are a rare commodity. Though it was good to hear that Wimal Weerawansa of the NFF has accepted UPFA as a lean-against, he seems to have made it clear that it was only for the reason of seeing an end to the terrorism. It is already a wise move which should be emulated by the JVP, and the UNP. It cannot not be said the same for the SLMC as they are a political group of adventurers, changing place from on party to another causing disabilities to governments when support is of dire need. It is better for a government not to have SLMC as a partner even if it is to count numbers in the Parliament for passing a bill or facing a motion of no-confidence.

The JVP as a political party has become a home for a set of noise makers, without a firm foot hold any where in the country. And with their vote base eroding JVP will soon be left only with Somawansa, Anura Dissanayake, Lal Kantha, Tilvin Silva, Vijitha Herath and Sunil Handunetti. It may do well for them to take stock of the situation and join with the NFF to find a lean-against in UPFA.

The same cannot be said of the UNP, though its hope for popularity to replace SLFP seems bleak. They nevertheless, still keeps their old vote base, which may also be strained to the point of snapping, with Ranil Munasinghe unable to score points as a leader, who could guide the party to any victory. Unfortunately, he has not learnt any lessons from his past pranks, to give any hope for the UNP to rise from where it had fallen since he became its “eternal “ leader.

Karu Jaysuriya breaking away from the government for an expected rousing welcome by his old party has done nothing to enhance the popularity of his own image or that of the UNP. In the government Karu Jayasuriya, was doing well as the Minister of Public Administration and Home Affair and won the appreciation of the people to a large extent. In leaving the government to reconcile with the UNP as its Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya did not make a significant contribution either to his own popularity or that of the UNP. UNP will have to change its leadership from Ranil to someone else, if it were to make an impact on the people as an alternative to SLFP.

UNP to make a possible attempt for a political come back has to discipline its “ chorus” made up of Tissa Attanayake, Lakshman Kirielle, S.B.Dissanayake, and the likes of them and change their present slogans. The people do not appreciate so much the bullock cart riding, tooting horns, and smashing pots and pans, and there for UNP also has to change its tactics to attract the attention of a responsible, and a respectable following.

Though there were many efforts to make the President Mahinda Rajapakse, and the SLFP unpopular, they have gained ground in popularity, not only because of the military successes against terrorism, but also because of the effort the government is making to carry out various development projects, enhanced foreign diplomatic relationships. The President has won respect, and the people he has selected for important ministries, embassies and administrative post have carried out their responsibilities remarkably well.

Every one looks at what ever is negative, overlooking positive aspects. But in the face of all difficulties, and criticism the President Mahinda Rajapakse had been able to steer past all obstacles with remarkable ease and ingenuity. He had not failed in his attempts to ride over problems that had been cast before him, hoping to find him in deep waters of political disaster.

When JVP turned its back to become his most virulent critic, and SLMC left the cabinet to support his rival, and the opposition leader, the President remained unruffled. He was able to wade through to survive under most difficult circumstances. When the JVP turned its back allowing the President to sink in the deep waters of political uncertainty, the UNP broke up and 18 of them joined the government. He had no alternative but to accept them into his cabinet. Everybody criticised him for having the worlds largest cabinet. But he did not bother to retort he carried on showing to all his critics that he had taken the best decision under difficult circumstance.

When he was elected to the office of the President, the country was in an utter mess. The terrorists were in rampage. The terrorist suicide bombs, claymore mines, snipers, pistol gangs, and grenade lobbers had a free run. People were living in fear, not knowing what the next days news would announce. The country was devastated by the tsunami, and NGOs and INGOs were every where. The opposition political parties cried from house tops that he had won by bribing the terrorists to bloc the votes of the rival candidate.

In this rough-and-tumble, the settlement of terrorism was a necessity for any political success. He started by inviting Prabhakaran the terrorist leader himself for peace negotiations. The terrorist leader at the time thought he was beyond any one’s call for negotiations. He refused to meet him but agreed to send his representatives for negotiations if held in foreign venues. The terrorist demand for foreign venues was for ulterior moives, They made each of those visits, an occasion to meet in secret arms dealers and negotiate to buy arms military equipment, and broke off pace talks half way demanding nothing else other than a separate homeland for the Tamil.

The International Community continued to demand the Government to continue negotiations with the terrorists who refused negotiations. The terrorists had already murdered the Foreign Minster. Instead of negotiations, the terrorists resorted to terror. They sent a pregnant woman a “ living bomb” to murder the Commander of the Army Sarath Fonseka. In the attempt the Army Commander was seriously wounded. Yet the President did not lose his patience. Despite the attempt on the life of the Army Commander, the President continued to call the terrorist leader for negotiations.

When finally the President had to resort to the military solution against terrorism, no one was willing to take bet on his success. But nevertheless the President did not succumb to his opponents, and today he has shown that he was not wrong in taking the military solution to end terrorism.

To be continued……..

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