Victory for democracy
The people’s power resulted in a resounding victory for the
UPFA at last weekend’s Eastern Provincial Council elections. Their power
proved supreme in contrast to the gun culture that had prevailed in the
East for over two decades.
The people in the Eastern Province, who have been subjected to untold
hardships due to Velupillai Prabhakaran’s terror acts for many years,
finally proved to the world the power of the ballot over the bullet.
The Eastern PC victory was a clear mandate to President Mahinda
Rajapaksa and his Government to continue its unrelenting battle against
By giving a clear majority to the ruling party, the people in the
East have given their full consent to the Government to continue the
good work under the Eastern Reawakening program, which started
immediately after the liberation of the East from the clutches of
It is abundantly clear that the results of the first ever election to
the Eastern Provincial Council confirms the people’s endorsement of the
Government’s policy of restoring democracy and normality to areas
earlier held by the LTTE terrorists, and the subsequent development
programs implemented under the guidance of the President.
As President Rajapaksa declared after the successful completion of
the elections to local Government bodies in the Batticaloa district last
March, this is another important milestone in the Government’s policy of
restoring the democratic rights of the people in areas once dominated by
the LTTE, and ensuring democracy.
The voters of the Eastern Province have amply demonstrated their
interest in protecting their democratic rights which were denied to them
for nearly two decades by the forces of terror. It was the President’s
inspiring leadership that eradicated terrorism and initiated a campaign
to liberate the East.
No doubt the results of the Eastern PC elections would be a
tremendous sense of joy to the Government to continue the good work, so
that the people in the North too could enjoy the same freedom. The
recent election emphasises the Government’s policy to create an
environment where all people could enjoy democratic rights and live in
freedom and harmony.
The Easterners have given a clear mandate for peace by defeating
terrorism, strengthening democracy and the development of the country.
On the other hand, it’s a great victory for democracy as the TMVP, a
group of terrorists who once believed in the gun culture, now keep faith
in the power of the people.
Instead of the guns and ammunition which were associated with their
lives, the breakaway wing of the LTTE, now believes in a mandate given
by their own people.
The LTTE adopted various tactics to sabotage the election and deprive
the Easterners of their democratic rights this time too. On the eve of
the elections, they exploded a powerful bomb in a bus in the heart of
the Ampara town.
Moreover, on the day of this historic election, they blasted a
logistic vessel in the Trincomalee harbour and also fired mortars at a
village in the Ampara district. They resorted to many tactics to
frighten people and keep voters away from the polling booths.
Against this scenario, the UNP and the SLMC joined hands and employed
several unpleasant tactics to woo the voters. They did not have a clear
cut policy to win the election, though the Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe who lives in a world of make believe, dreamt how he could
prevent a possible 17th election defeat under his tottering leadership.
Instead of going to the people to win their harts, Wickremesinghe
played the cry baby role, running to Western diplomats and international
organisations, anticipating so-called election violence and rigging. The
UNP leader started complaining from the day nominations were called.
This is quite understandable as Wickremesinghe is unable to hide his
face in utter frustration. The UNP-SLMC alliance degenerated to low
levels holding out different promises to the Tamil and Muslim
The two parties relied on each other’s support to woo voters but they
did not offer anything tangible to satisfy the aspirations of the people
in the East. In short, they did not understand the pulse of the people.
Having let the UNP to record its 17th successive defeat,
Wickremesinghe could do nothing but eat humble pie as the UPFA took a
clear five-seat majority to secure power in the EPC.
The deteriorating UNP leadership, whose popularity in on the wane,
could only find fault with all and sundry after the defeat, blaming the
voters, election officials, election monitors and the Government.
The people in the East were by no means gullible. Wickremesinghe, who
once compared Thoppigala to a thick jungle, would perhaps have pondered
that all those living there could only be animals. But the people of the
East have taught the UNP and the SLMC the lesson of their lives. The UNP
issues empty statements to cover the nakedness of its defeat.
The people in the East, by giving a clear mandate to the UPFA, have
categorically rejected the racist ideas of the UNP and the SLMC. The
Easterners have also rejected the UNP proposal of merging the North and
the East again.
The EPC victory will be a morale booster to the military operations
conducted by our Security Forces in the North. Our solders have made an
immense contribution and made many great sacrifices to turn the East
into what it is today.
The UPFA not only routed the UNP and the SLMC but also proved to the
LTTE, which openly extended its support to the UNP by resorting to
various violent acts. The voters in the East have overcome all barriers
to fulfil their dream of a united Sri Lanka.
The Security Forces would soon liberate the North as well and the
Government would restore democracy there too, thereby enabling people to
live sans fear and being subjected to various LTTE terror acts. The
people in the North too would enjoy this ‘luxury’ sooner than later.