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Sunday, 19 October 2014

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TNA can't sway masses any more

The Opposition which had been shouting from the rooftops demanding the abolition of the Executive Presidency had to eat humble pie after President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared that he is ready to abolish the Executive Presidency if the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Tamil Diaspora abandon working for separatism and give up their dreams of establishing the so-called separate state of Eelam.

The President told a ceremony to present 20,000 land deeds and restore the ownership of gold jewellery to its owners in Kilinochchi last week that there is no other person than himself to abolish or change the Executive Presidency. However, the self -same people, who are vociferous about abolishing the Executive Presidency, were reluctant to abolish it earlier.

The President has pledged to abolish the much talked about Executive Presidency, no sooner the TNA and the Tamil Diaspora are willing to abandon their separatist agenda. As President Rajapaksa had said in Kilinochchi, thousands of precious lives were lost during the three decades of terrorism before the Government liberated the country in May 2009 and restored peace and harmony for all communities to live together, sans fear and suspicion.

It is indisputable that the Executive Presidency played a pivotal role in eradicating terrorism. It is a stark fact that almost all political parties accept today. Having got rid of the scourge of LTTE terrorism, the Executive Presidency would no longer be needed if the TNA and the Tamil Diaspora are ready to stop working for separatism and dispel the illusion of the so-called separate Eelam state.

The JVP's stance on abolishing the Executive Presidency is understandable as criticising anything and everything is the hallmark of JVP politics. At the time the JVP's founder leader Rohana Wijeweera contested the 1982 presidential election, he could not poll even 300,000 votes. Hence, its current leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake is acutely aware where he would end up and is reluctant to contest the next presidential election.

The joke of the year is that the main Opposition - the UNP, which introduced the Executive Presidency under the late President J.R. Jayewardene's 1978 Constitution, is also demanding that it be abolished.

If the UNP was really keen to abolish the Executive Presidency having enjoyed it for 17 long years, it could have done so at least during the tenure of the late President D.B. Wijetunga. Rather than doing it then, the UNP has now realised the need to abolish the Executive Presidency as the main Opposition finds it almost humanly impossible to win a Presidential election as long as President Rajapaksa contests it.

The UNP would have never in its wildest dreams opposed the Executive Presidency if it could win a presidential election. The UNP's only victory at a Presidential election was way back in 1988 and since then, the party had lost four presidential elections, including its common candidate in 2010.

Democratic Party leader Sarath Fonseka who marched from grace to disgrace at the 2010 presidential election seems to have understood his limitations in the political arena and is quite unlikely to expose his failure as a politician again.

In this scenario, President Rajapaksa does not face any challenge, whatsoever, at the next presidential election. The Opposition knows this only too well and is now trotting out various theories to cover its political bankruptcy. As we stated last week, leaders of all Opposition political parties are suffering from a 'Mahinda Rajapaksa phobia' and resorting to undemocratic means to overcome their biggest threat at the next presidential election.

President Rajapaksa has given an apt reply to all his critics that he is only too willing to give up the Executive Presidency if the TNA and the Tamil Diaspora abandon their separatist agenda and accept a united Sri Lanka. This is an eye-opener to the TNA and other Opposition political parties too.

The UNP should now at least persuade the TNA and the Tamil Diaspora to give up their separatist agenda, rather than running after the LTTE rump and attempting to secure underhand deals with the Global Tamil Forum to woo support at the forthcoming presidential election.

The mega development projects commissioned by the Government in the North have exposed the TNA's double standards. Although the TNA is trying to project itself as the sole representatives of the Tamils, it did precious little for the well-being of its own community.

The government allocates millions of rupees for infrastructure and other development projects in the Northern Province. Nevertheless, the TNA-run provincial administration does not utilise these funds for the betterment of the people and the province.

Although the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has promised the sun and the moon, he has failed miserably. It is no surprise that the Northern Provincial Council had not used more than 10 percent of the funds allocated by the Government.

If the TNA is unable to use the funds given by the Government, one could visualise how it would fare if the provincial administration is asked to generate its own funds. This is the same group of people who supported the LTTE, demanding a separate state. The jackpot question is could a set of extremists who are unable to run even a provincial administration, run a country.

People in the North and the East have realised this stark fact and are rallying round the President in large numbers. This is precisely why they came in their thousands to demonstrate their profound gratitude to the leader who had liberated them from the clutches of LTTE terror a little over five years ago.

The President, during his last week's tour to the North unveiled plans to supply water to the Northern Province from the Mahaweli in the South.

The President told the District Development Progress Review Meeting of the Northern Province in Jaffna, that a mega scale water supply project has been already planned and finalised for the North. The project will be implemented in the near future to satisfy a long-felt need of the people in the Northern Province. Moreover, the project will irrigate the province while supplying pure drinking water as well.

President Rajapaksa has time and again called upon politicians to put the country before petty political goals to derive the maximum benefits for people. Politicians should not further their petty political agendas when serving the people in the area. The President had stressed that politicians should not engage in politics merely to secure votes and added that all politicians are duty-bound to respect the laws of the land.

The resumption of the Yal Devi train to the North after a lapse of 24 years, opens a new chapter in national reconciliation. It was not merely a train journey but a link between the North and the South, strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and solidarity among people of different ethnicities

The Government, under the President, has spared no pains to restore everything that was destroyed by LTTE terrorists, except for human lives. The restoration of the Jaffna-Colombo rail track destroyed by the LTTE and other mega development projects in the province costs billions of rupees but the Government had given top priority to satisfy all those needs of the people in the North.

Hence, it will be by no means an easy task for the TNA and LTTE cohorts to take the people in the North and the East for another ride. These people suffered immeasurably due to three decades of LTTE terror. The Tigers held hapless civilians as a human shield to achieve their ends. It was the valiant Security Forces which liberated them from the jaws of death and ushered in a new lease of life.

Now that the people in the North and the East have made much headway with a new lease of life and success in their livelihood, they would not be swayed by the sunshine promises of the TNA and the Tiger rump. People in the North and the East are not willing to go back to that dark era again. They would, indeed, continue to pledge support to the President and protect the country's hard-earned peace.

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