ormer UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake may be the unluckiest politician currently in the country. After toiling hard for the party’s success for about two decades and uniting the party that had been divided right in the middle, the man took the worst decision in his political career and defected to the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, but only to see him again on the losing side.
That was not all. Apparently to draw the attention of his new-found master, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa or due to persuasion by his new friends, he presented to the voters a document purporting it to be an agreement between his former boss Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Opposition’s common candidate Maithripala Sirisena during the recently concluded Presidential Election.
That landed him in hot water.
Attanayake would have been a Minister in the new government had he not taken that wrong decision to defect. He is now languishing in the New Magazine Prison in Colombo as a remand prisoner after being produced before the Courts for allegedly forging the signatures of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena.
Had the results of the Presidential Election been otherwise it is highly unlikely that the Sri Lankan Police would have pursued this case. When Attanayake told the media that he had found an agreement signed between Wickremesinghe and Sirisena, several other Ministers of the previous regime were also with him. It was they who had convened the press briefing in order for Attanayake to present the document to the media. And former President Mahinda Rajapaksa also used the contents of the document, first mentioning the purported agreement and then without mentioning it, to attack the then opposition during the recent election campaign.
However, when things went wrong, everybody washed their hands leaving Attanayake high and dry. Those who alleged Maithripala Sirisena that had an agreement with Ranil Wickremesinghe to withdraw the High Security Zones and the troops from the once war-torn Northern Province using the Attanayake’s document pledged to support President Sirisena’s 100-day programme once he was elected as the President of the country. Poor Tissa meekly told the media that he regretted the decision to quit the UNP.
The purpose of the purported agreement seemed to be identifying the opposition with the TNA as well as the defeated LTTE and to renew the anti-Tamil sentiments in Sinhalese people to gain electoral mileage. The witting or unwitting outcome of this is the widening of the psychological gap between the Sinhalese and Tamils in the country. This has to be described as a crime at a time when reconciliation between the two communities is of paramount importance. The UPFA politicians attempted to show their “patriotism” through this document.
Also they alleged that the Opposition’s Presidential Election campaign was a Western conspiracy. However, once the election results were announced they made the “conspirator” the President of the SLFP, the main party of the UPFA coalition, exposing the hypocrisy of their so-called patriotic claims. Apart from this the plundering of the country’s wealth by many members of the last regime is being exposed day-by-day now. They have covered up their robberies and corruption also with the so-called patriotism. Their main argument was that if Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated, secessionism would raise its head again and the country would be unstable.
Given what the same people did after the Presidential election it is up to the people to rate the veracity and genuineness of the claims made by politicians about patriotism and motherland.