Saturday, 20 December 2014

From Kandy to Colombo and then to Galle

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 politics.

In Kandy 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.

Lot of attention is being paid  to talk shows and debates in theTelevision, but the representatives of the opposition supporting the Common candidate are unable to come out with new facts to challenge those representing the President Mahinda Rajapakse. These debates have turned out to be boring and a waste of time ending in unpleasant worthless arguments reduced to personal attacks on those representing the government.

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.

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