Fast trains, highways, tall buildings clean cities are no more unrealized dreams to the people of
Sri Lanka. The inter city train takes you from Kandy to Colombo in a matter of
three hours. Kandy
is just beginning its beautification program while Colombo is already into it.
There is in the mean time a wide disparity in the thinking of the people in
Kandy and those in Colombo, so much so when it comes to elections, which is uppermost
in the minds of the people today. The
Presidential elections not being too far away, one has to be cautious in
bringing people into a conversation on
there are those who speak of corruption and thinking of voting differently this
time though they had voted twice to the President Mahinda Rajapakse. But when they are asked whether they could really expect a change
from the opposition, they admit they do not believe that neither Chandrika nor
Ranil Wickramasinghe could bring any
change but they think Maithripala may be able to. But on second thought they think perhaps they should give the President Mahinda
Rajapakse a third chance. So said a man seated next to me when he was getting up to get down from the bus.
Some of the women voters said they would definitely not vote for Maithripala Sirisena who for them is a traitor who cannot be trusted.. A fishmonger taking fish on his bicycle while selling fish said he would not waste his vote on any one as he is certain if there is any one who could make changes it is the President Rajapakse as he has already the experience of making changes.
A young Muslim boy when he was asked who he thinks would be elected, he said though he does not know much about politics he thought it would be the President Mahinda Rajapakse as he is already well known. When he was asked what the Muslims think about him, he said according to his parents President Rajapakse is accessible to all without distinction of race and religion.
Another man in a bus wondered what had happened to all the gold that had been taken by the Armed Forces. When he was told that the government is of course answerable and that the gold would be handed over to owners. He said that if that were to happen the President will definitely clear the doubts the people have about the corruption of the government.
In fact it was reported recently that at a function held at the Temple Trees, some of the gold seized from the terrorists were handed over to the respective families. It was said that further investigations are being carried out to search for the owners of the gold still remaining with the government..
The Colombians are another kettle of fish. There are some who are very critical of the President Mahinda Rajapakse yet remain doubtful of the alternative candidate presented by the opposition. The several MoUs that the Common Candidate of the opposition was made to sign with UNP, JHU, TNA, Chandrika and Sarath Fonseka are not to the liking of some of the Colombians. Nevertheless, they seem to agree that handing over the executive powers to a Prime Minister would be a good beginning even though the time frame of 100 days for the purpose has been rather exaggerated to please the crowd. But as time goes it appears that there is a change of hearts even amoung the Colombians.
Srirsena the common candidate makes far too many contradiction changing what he had said a while ago to some thing entirely different from what he says later. The TV channels are profiting from it to portray Sirisena as an unreliable political element.
Tissa Attanayaka`s cross over to the government side followed by Gamanpila of JHU leaving the party is a great deception for those who were critical of the President , now they are beginning to have second thoughts. One complained that the government of the President is turning out to be oligarchic, but nevertheless he said he sees no alternative but to vote Mahinda Rajapakse.
A young man in a restaurant inside the Arcade in Galle Fort said that lot of persons he has come in contact with will surely vote for the President. The Common Candidate he said has not proved to be a challenge to the President both by his personality and by his inability to explain what new changes he proposes if he would come to hold the reins of the Government.
He says that many of the Europeans who frequent the Restaurant express their admiration to the President who has made remarkable changes in a very short time. They some times act to show how they traveled in vehicles on the broken potholed roads that existed then , and said how comfortable it is to travel now on carpeted highways.
A three wheeler taking us from Maharagama to Ratmalana showed the pavement around Bellanvila and said that he never expected such development. It is thanks to the President’s brother that they see beauty and cleanliness in towns now and said there is no question that the people should change this President to another for some more time.
He scolded UNP and Chandrika Kumaratunga saying that they had failed to give some thing similar to what the President Mahinda Rajapakse has given to
Sri Lanka, and said that their
attempt to replace the President
will never materialize.
From what one can perceive and hear from random discussions of ordinary people are that the President Mahinda Rajapakse has not lost his popularity amoung the people despite all the talk of corruption, and the executive power he derives from his position. The chances are that the President Mahinda Rajapakse may win the presidential elections with a greater percentage of votes.