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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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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 year.

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 elections.

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 Presidential election.

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 Presidential election.

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.

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