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Friday 31 October 2014

The bankrupt opposition

Only some middle class elements living around Colombo city limits would be thinking of a UNP President next year. They would be imagining various scenarios including an insurgency with the help of the JVP during the period after the first count. The JVP has already begun implementing their plans claiming that the forthcoming election is illegal whatever it means. They are with Sarath Nanda Silva and claim that Mahinda Rajapakse cannot contest for a third time. However, it is not clear how the Presidential elections would become illegal simply because Mahinda Rajapakse contests for a third time. Who has the jurisdiction to decide whether the election is legal or not? Is it a former Chief Justice or the leader of the JVP?

We do not know what would be the final outcome at the Supreme Court but if the Courts decide that Mahinda Rajapakse could contest a third time then no matter what the JVP thinks the Presidential elections would be legal. The JVP wants to create the impression that the elections are illegal and organize street fights. The JVP leader has requested the UNP not to contest as the Presidential elections are illegal. It is very unlikely that the UNP would agree with the JVP leader on that and most probably would field Ranil Wickremesinghe as one of the so called common candidates.        

However, the JHU, at least the Ven. Rathana faction, is also of the opinion that the Presidential elections are illegal, and they are supposed to have discussions with Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera on a common candidate. If a political party is against the presidential elections they could boycott the elections. However, if the party is only against Mahinda Rajapakse contesting the election then they could field a common or uncommon candidate against Mahinda Rajapakse. The JVP is boycotting the presidential elections with ulterior motives. As we have said they are interested in capturing power, meaning Anura Dissanayake being made the President of the country, through street fights.

The UNP on the other hand wants to contest the Presidential elections with as many “common candidates” as possible and then force the commissioner of elections to go for the count of the second preference. During the nonagatha period we have already described in these columns the UNP wants to stage their version of street fights. They would be hoping that the JVP would not destroy their plans by resorting to premature street fights.

As it is at least a faction of the JHU would remain with the government, with Ven. Athureliye Rathana    Thera joining hands with Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera who is increasingly becoming isolated from the public. Ven. Sobhitha Thera has some support among a few University Academics who are associated with FUTA and some left out leftists. In the end there is a possibility that Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera would become the common candidate of this outfit.

The UNP would like to have more common candidates with the hope that Mahinda Rajapakse would not receive fifty percent of the valid vote in the first count. It is in this context that the UNP would oppose a candidate from the TNA or the SLMC. The UNP wants the Muslims and the Tamils to vote en bloc to Ranil Wickremesinghe. Their tactics would be focused on increasing the vote of Ranil Wickremesinghe while reducing the vote of Mahinda Rajapakse. However, what the UNP and their  advisors both local and foreign would forget is that some Muslims and some Tamils would vote for Mahinda Rajapakse. In the final count Mahinda Rajapakse would end up with 55% of the valid vote without going for the second preference at the Presidential Elections.

The TNA has claimed that they were the people who obstructed Yal Devi going to Jaffna (probably with the help of the LTTE) and they would resort to same if the train continues to run to Jaffna. It is clear that the TNA like the UNP and the JVP has run out of slogans and they would have to consult their sponsors in UK, USA and the other western countries. I do not mean only the dispersed Tamils in those countries but the so called statesmen as well.

The government of Sri Lanka is unlikely to accuse the western states for their support to Tamil racism and Tamil terrorism, and they will continue to refer to the so called diaspora. The government cannot be blamed for this position as the western states would deny their involvement in Tamil racism and Tamil terrorism. However, blaming only the dispersed Tamils (so called diaspora) is not going to help the government of Sri Lanka as there is no leadership or organisation that could be identified with the dispersed Tamils.

The government is engaged in a fight with a shadow instead of the real enemy but we have to understand its limitations. The reply to the western states has to be given by the people at the Presidential elections by electing Mahinda Rajapakse as the President for a third time with an overwhelming majority.

The bankrupt opposition was also exposed at the budget 2015. The opposition has no slogans and they cannot mislead the people. There are some trade unionists especially in the health sector with LTTE connections and they would resort to the lies that the LTTE is infamous for. Some of these trade unions for some time had been demanding the special living allowances paid to the public servants be added to the basic salary.

It is exactly this what the government has done in the budget 2015, with the result the basic salary of public servants increasing substantially from 2005 to 2015. With this the pension contribution, and other benefits increase as known to all the public servants. If that is not the case why did the LTTE connected and other trade unions demand that the allowances should be added to the basic salary. Was it to give the person engaged in the subject of salaries some Arithmetical exercises?

To make it worse the trade unions connected with the opposition claim that the special living allowance given to the public servants in the 2015 budget is a compulsory increment that should have been provided anyway. This is as if the UNP had been giving special living allowances to the public servants when Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minster for a short period and making use of the opportunity to sign the so called ceasefire agreement with Prabhakaran under the auspices of the western governments with Norway in the limelight.

The opposition is bankrupt and has run out of slogans and about to use the misery of those affected  by the earth slip at Haputale, for their benefit. The government should make use of all the facilities available to help the victims and think more radically on the entire plantation economy. The earth slips could be avoided by transferring to some other economy and by depopulating the areas under threat as a long term remedy. The government is in a one horse race at present which is becoming boring to the public and may think of increasing the allowances of the opposition so that they could hire some slogan writers.

Nalin De Silva