The public meeting called by three miniature political parties with a view to bringing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa back to the political limelight has been a topic in the media for the past one week. It drew the attention of the people due to the “massive” crowd who the speakers at the meeting described as a section of the 5.8 million people who voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa at the January 8 Presidential election.
However, what the apologists of the “we want Mahinda” campaign who boast about the 5.8 million votes Mahinda Rajapaksa had gained have seemingly ignored or forgotten soon is that Rajapaksa lost the race as Maithripala Sirisena had bagged about 400,000 more votes than what the former got. Besides, there is no evidence that those who voted for Maithripala Sirisena had attended the meeting, despite the claim by NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa that people who had voted for the swan were frustrated by now.
The frustration claim seems to be valid, for some extent, but some people who voted for the swan are worried not on the ground that the new government is more corrupt or suppressive (up to now), than the previous regime, as Weerawansa implied. They are disappointed due to the fact that the new rulers are slow in taking action against the corrupt politicians and officials as well as the drug mafia who thrived during the past regime. It is also interesting to note that these political parties are clamouring for Mahinda Rajapaksa not because they really love him or his party’s politics, rather they feel that they do not have a political future for them without Rajapaksa.
If they really love him or his policies they should have dissolved their parties and got the membership of the Rajapaksa’s party, SLFP during his tenure. On the other hand if they have reasons to have a distinct political party rejecting the membership of Rajapaksa’s party they must be faithful to their own parties and field their own Prime Ministerial candidate.
However, that does not mean that the defeated political parties do not have the right to come before the people and solicit their support to run the country again. They have that right, provided they fulfill the moral conditions that entail their desire for a comeback. In other words they have to look into the reasons for their downfall and take corrective measures.
The Rajapaksa regime was not defeated by any local or international conspiracy, as claimed by the leaders of the UPFA during the Presidential election. Maithripala’s election campaign was one of the most sober campaigns in Sri Lankan history, with minimal hue and cry. No money or goodies were thrown at the voters as bribes from the Maithripala camp as from the rival camp. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s friends who genuinely pray for his comeback have to look into the reasons of the gradual decay of his vote bank at least since the Central Provincial Council election in 2013 through the Western, Southern and the Uva Provincial Council elections in 2014.
They have to genuinely find reasons for the sudden exit from the country by Basil Rajapaksa, the former strongman of the Rajapaksa regime, Mahinda Balasuriya, the former police chief, and several others soon after the Presidential election. They have to turn their searchlight towards circumstances that led to the minority communities to unprecedentedly vote for Maithripala Sirisena en masse. They must find out the reasons as to why the previous government failed to give the concessions it offered to the people on the eve of every election, throughout their tenure. They must re-evaluate the actions by the Rajapaksa regime pertaining to the Executive Presidency, former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka and former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. Also those who fight for Mahinda Rajapakssa might be able to find the causes for his defeat in the hundreds of files that have been handed over to the Bribery Commission by the JVP and the JHU after the January election.
If the leaders of the previous regime are prepared to accept the reality and rectify these situations they surely deserve another comeback.
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