Editorial - Political chicanery at election time

10 February 2014 09:04 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Minister Mervyn Silva was seen on television footages “inaugurating” a bus service from Kiribathgoda to Kelaniya via Wanawasala last week during which nominations were tendered for the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections scheduled to be held on March 29.
What is interesting in this is that this bus service, according to the residents of the area, had been “inaugurated” several times in the past as well by various politicians, local as well as national, on the eve of various elections. And the bus service had been suspended weeks or months soon after the elections.

This bus service alone is sufficient to attest the contempt the politicians display for the very voters who vote them into office. A politician in the South was called by the people of his district “Ulu Deiya” a few years ago, because he used to distribute roof tiles among his voters during election campaigns. Interestingly he spent public funds for this personal political campaign, since he was from the ruling party.
Days ago television footages showed a group of people retrieving electricity cables out of a shrub jungle that had grown over them. They said these cables had been brought and dumped there during earlier elections on the instruction of certain politicians and later left there to rot after that particular election. This is another case in point to show the waste of public funds for personal political campaigns by ruling party politicians.

Yesterday’s Daily Mirror carried a news item about a group of people in Induruwa demonstrating over the failure on the part of the authorities to supply them with drinking water. They vowed not to vote for any politician this time unless they provided water to them. However, the crowd dispersed after a politician who visited the scene promised on top of his voice to supply water to the area in two months or after the Southern Provincial Council election.



"The moot point here is whether people cannot understand the duplicity of these simple actions repeated during each election.They do, but they are addicted to the current fraudulent political culture, one may say."





History is full of stories of this kind of election promises and deception of the masses by politicians. Among the famous election promises that hoodwinked the people were those on two measures of rice in 1970, eight pounds of cereals in 1977, abolition of the executive presidency and Rs.2,500 salary hike for public sector employees at the recent Presidential elections. Rural roads are tarred (improperly), development projects are freely announced and various items such as school books, sewing machines, mobile phones and sarees are distributed among voters apart from the free meals and liquor supplied to the regular supporters of political parties during election campaigns.

Posters that usually spring up during elections introduce to us the ‘most intelligent, most honest and most committed candidates fighting against corruption, waste, malpractices and other all vices under the sun.’ What follows after the election is public knowledge.

The moot point here is whether people do not understand the duplicity of these simple actions repeated during each election.They do, but are addicted to the current fraudulent political culture, one may say. Adding insult to injury politicians affiliated to each political party are used to scorn the masses by claiming that the latter are too intelligent not to be hoodwinked by their opponents.However, ultimately people are hoodwinked by all political parties.
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  • bindusara Wednesday, 12 February 2014 03:12 AM

    Unfortunately the average Sri Lankan especially from the "pitisara palatha" is not an intelligent voter end of story


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