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Sunday, 7 December 2014

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A rudderless ship on turbulent waters

The so-called joint Opposition is like a rudderless ship drifting on turbulent waters. It neither knows where it is heading nor which route to take to avoid disasters. Although there is no real captain to anchor the 'common Opposition ship', many are trying to take control of the ship.

Divergent views have been expressed by the leaders of the so-called joint Opposition from the day Maithripala Sirisena was named the common candidate for next month's Presidential election.

On the day Maithripala began playing the role of Judas, he said that the Executive Presidency will be abolished within 100 days, in the event he wins the January 8 Presidential election and pledged to appoint Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.

Days later, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the Executive powers of the President would be transferred to the Prime Minister within 24 hours and that the legal groundwork had been already done. But UNP parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera, a confidant of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, who is playing a key role, said that the Executive presidency will not be abolished even if Maithripala is elected President.

Leaders of the common Opposition make contradictory statements and even their die-hard supporters are at sixes and sevens as to what would happen if Maithripala wins. It is evident that there are too many cooks who would undoubtedly spoil the joint Opposition 'soup'. They are trying desperately to outwit one another, thereby making Maithripala a 'political refugee'.

The day Maithripala said that he would contest the Presidential election, bypassing Wickremesinghe's UNP candidature, he felt that the sky was the limit. Hence, he made sweeping statements, assuming that he had already won the Presidential race.

The UNP-led joint Opposition gradually took Maithripala under its control. Although the UNP supporters thought that Maithripala's political fantasy would end on January 8, Maithripala has now realised that the road to the Presidency is not as easy as he thought.

Democratic Party leader Sarath Fonseka was the first to warn Maithripala of undergoing the agony of the common Opposition candidate. Fonseka who challenged President Mahinda Rajapaksa's popularity at the 2010 Presidential election came a cropper after suffering a humiliating defeat. Fonseka's early warning should have been an eye-opener to Maithripala as the former common Opposition candidate recounted the lone battle he faced after losing the election.

Fonseka said that all Opposition parties put him on a pedestal during the campaign but none had been there with him to share the agony of losing. This was an early warning for Maithripala on what was in store for him.

Fonseka had the strongest Opposition in election history to back him. It included the main Opposition UNP and the JVP which was reckoned as the 'third force' at the time. Moreover, Fonseka had a huge following as former Army Commander but barely anybody trusted him as a political leader.

Notwithstanding the unbridled support of almost the entire Opposition, Fonseka cut a sorry figure and lost to President Rajapaksa by a majority of over 1.8 million votes at the January 2010 Presidential election.

In contrast, Maithripala was never considered a national figure and his popularity was only confined to the Polonnaruwa district. His vote base consisted of traditional SLFP supporters who generally vote for the party and not the individual.

If Fonseka had to face such an ignominious defeat, one could well imagine how Maithripala would fare at the election. Several astrologers had already predicted that he would be defeated even in his own electorate.

Nevertheless, Maithripala seems to be overconfident and is living in a world of political fantasy, like Fonseka during his first 45-days in politics. Maithripala too is in the same boat, enjoying his political fantasy from the day he turned traitor and betrayed the SLFP membership. By a quirk of fate, Fonseka and Maithripala opted to contest from the same party under the Swan symbol.

A colossal amount of money flowed from abroad to fill Fonseka's coffers for the 2010 Presidential campaign. A bigger volume of foreign funds has already come for a lavish campaign for the joint Opposition. Several LTTE front organisations have said that they are ready to expend any amount of money for a regime change and take revenge from the leaders who vanquished the Tiger leadership.

All this points to a similar election campaign for Maithripala, akin to Fonseka and the end result would be no better. Perhaps, the only difference could be the greater majority President Rajapaksa would record as Maithripala is heading for a worse defeat than Fonseka. Even SLFPers in Polonnaruwa have openly said that they feel sorry for Maithripala and continue to repose implicit faith in President Rajapaksa.

On the other hand, the UNP could reduce Maithripala's margin of defeat if it strikes a deal with the TNA, the former LTTE proxy which was remote-controlled by late Velupillai Prabhakaran when the terror outfit held sway.

Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga are deeply cognizant that the joint Opposition candidate could by no means match President Rajapaksa's soaring popularity, unless they secure TNA support along with the LTTE rump and Western 'peace merchants'. They had close ties with Western countries which helped strengthen the LTTE militarily during the so-called peace process. Hence, it is abundantly clear that extraneous forces who yearn for a regime change in Sri Lanka and seek to instal a Western puppet as President are working overtime to achieve their vicious goals.

The Western conspiracy and the dealings with the LTTE cohorts came to light when the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) claimed that it would take President Rajapaksa before an international war crimes tribunal if Maithirpala wins. The GTF's outburst came less than 24 hours after Maithripala Sirisena was named the joint Opposition candidate.

Suren Surendran of the GTF had told Al Jazeera television that if the joint Opposition candidate emerges victorious, they would take President Rajapaksa before an international war crimes tribunal for alleged war crimes. He said that it would be easy to take the President before the war crimes tribunal if he loses immunity as the Head of State.

This is a clear indication of the nexus between the common Opposition and the LTTE cohorts to sully the country's image and take the leader who saved the nation from LTTE terrorism before the international war crimes tribunal.

The President who rendered an unmatched political leadership to the Security Forces during Sri Lanka's relentless battle against terrorism, had said on an earlier occasion that he was ready to go before any international court on behalf of the true sons of our soil who had eradicated terrorism and ushered in peace for all communities to live in harmony.

The LTTE's game plan through the Opposition's common candidate was amply proved by Northern Provincial Council member Anandi Shashidaran, wife of slain LTTE senior leader Eilainan to a Tamil radio channel who said that talks will be held after Maithripala's 'victory' to achieve the LTTE's objectives which it failed to realise, within the next few years.

Shashidaran, a well-known LTTE sympathiser said that they would achieve their objectives within the next 10 to 15 years.

The masses would by no means fall prey for the Opposition's 'win at any cost' policy. It is deplorable that the JHU had fallen victim to this greatest betrayal against the country especially at a time when its main demand of abolishing the Executive presidency has been rejected by the joint Opposition.

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