President, the architect of new Sri Lanka
Now that the Uva Provincial
Council elections have concluded, the focus will be on the next
Presidential election and the Parliamentary general elections.
Unlike earlier Presidents, the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa
invariably held elections ahead of schedule. The Opposition hopes that
the two elections scheduled for 2016 could be advanced to early next
Although President Rajapaksa could continue as the Head of State till
November 2016 and the UPFA Government with a two-thirds majority in
Parliament till April 2016, the President could opt for a fresh mandate
next year. President Rajapaksa reposes implicit faith in democracy and
the people's power and holds elections at regular intervals to feel the
pulse of the people.
In contrast, earlier Heads of State more often than not, attempted to
postpone key elections. It is still fresh in people's minds how the then
President J,R. Jayewardene put off the 1983 general election after a
controversial referendum, fraught with mass-scale election rigging.
He even threatened to fold the electoral map, thereby suppressing the
democratic rights of the masses. People even lost faith in democracy due
to JRJ's iron fist rule.
From the day President Rajapaksa first assumed office as the Head of
State on November 18, 2005, he ensured that all elections will be held
on or before the scheduled dates, demonstrating his unflinching faith in
democracy. In point of fact, President Rajapaksa conducted the last
Presidential election in 2011, two years ahead of schedule and the
general election a year earlier.
The UPFA invariably increased its vote base over the past six years
at the Presidential election, Parliamentary general election, Provincial
Councils and LG elections. Despite the Government holding elections at
the appropriate time, thereby respecting the people's rights the
crisis-hit Opposition, which is still groping in the dark to find a
winning formula, is pointing an accusing finger at the Government for
holding one too many elections.
The simmering UNP leadership crisis has disillusioned its members and
they are going for each other's jugular. Never in the UNP's chequered
history have people witnessed such an ignominious battle for party
leadership. There had been a cold war for the UNP leadership, especially
among party seniors but they did not wash dirty linen in public.
But lo and behold, today things have changed and a gang of immature
and unscrupulous UNP rebel parliamentarians is working openly to destroy
the party. The UNP's interminable leadership battle would also relegate
the party into a deeper political abyss.
Hence, the UNP and the JVP have little or no choice, but to castigate
the Government at every turn for holding elections.
Nevertheless, the Government would relentlessly pursue its democratic
path in keeping with the people's aspirations.
By conducting regular elections, any government would be in a better
position to feel the pulse of the people and rectify any shortcomings.
This would no doubt strengthen the people-friendly government that
always gives a patient hearing to the masses' grievances.
In this context, it is abundantly clear that only those who are
unable to face the masses and have a morbid fear of elections have been
thrust into the political dustbin.
Significantly, elections for the seats in the Colombo city at the
next general election would be one of the main attractions. Over the
years, Colombo had been a traditional UNP stronghold due to the
overwhelming minority support it commanded. However, the UNP's
humiliating defeat was evident at the last Western Provincial Council
Despite the UNP's dominance in the Colombo city, the UPFA Government
has given preferential treatment to develop the city, transforming the
metropolis into one of the most beautiful cities in the world. People
from all strata of society are grateful to the Defence and Urban
Development Ministry Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, under whose personal
supervision most of the development work had been completed.
Colossal sums of money have been expended on beautifying the city,
developing infrastructure facilities and the road network to
international standards. A city which at times was subjected to terror
attacks has now been converted into a resplendent capital. Today when
most world cities and big cities in South Asia and Europe face the risk
of terror attacks, the cleaner and greener Colombo remains one of the
safest capitals in the world, at large.
The Government's next priority is to build decent houses and provide
a better future for city dwellers. Construction work on mega housing
schemes for low income families in the city has already begun. The
Government is also keen on improving the people's living conditions by
providing them better houses and sanitation facilities. Many
self-employment projects have also been launched, thereby increasing the
people's purchasing power, whose multifarious skills are being harnessed
in the Government's national development drive.
The Government has won the hearts of a new segment of people who had
never voted for the UPFA or the SLFP in their lives. A sizeable segment
of Colombo's traditional UNPers has now reposed implicit faith in
President Rajapaksa's people-friendly Government which has opened new
vistas for the rich and the poor alike.
All right-thinking people who witnessed the incredible transformation
of the Colombo city would undoubtedly further strengthen the hands of
the President with a resounding victory by clinching the UNP bastions in
Colombo at the next Presidential elections. Today people pay scant
regard for political affiliations and politicians are generally judged
by what they deliver.
With the end of the three-decade scourge of terrorism and now that
the capital city is peaceful and beautiful, the Colombo city folk would
no doubt, ensure a record victory for the President at the next
Although sinister elements have teamed up with a few Western missions
in Colombo, no force on earth could prevent President Rajapaksa
achieving another landslide victory to secure a third successive term.
Some opposition politicians who are deeply conscious that they could
not defeat President Rajapaksa at an election or equal his immense
popularity, are now spreading malicious stories about him. It is a pity
that they are making lame excuses to evade the strongest contender.
Opposition politicians who brag about themselves and try to denigrate
the President face the real challenge - to get anywhere close to the
staggering number of votes President Rajapaksa would poll at the next
The masses are beholden to the leader who has given Sri Lanka a new
look and leading the country towards economic prosperity. This, no doubt
is a landmark achievement which barely anyone had dreamt of even in
their wildest dreams a decade ago. The masses will definitely
demonstrate their gratitude to the architect of the new Sri Lanka in no
uncertain terms at the next Presidential election.