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A candidate’s vision cannot be winning polls alone

7 August 2019 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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What is the main criterion of a Presidential candidate? Ask the main political parties in the country that are prepared to field their candidates for the forthcoming Presidential election which is to be held most probably in December this year.   

They have already announced the main criterion of their candidates. They unabashedly say “We would field a candidate who can win the election.” The candidate’s vision for the country, his or her education qualification or experience, his or her policies in respect of economy, national harmony, foreign relations and his or her track record etc.,  But all these are ignored.   

Unfortunately this is not only the stance of the leaders of the political parties; rather it is almost the nationally accepted criterion for candidacy for any election. One might recall that a certain politician from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) had ridiculously told during the local government elections held in February last year that even a coconut husk (Pol lellak) would win if it had the blessings of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In fact, many candidates returned from several political parties to many councils – national and regional- are no better than “Pol Lelli”   

This attitude of the political parties indicates their vision towards the country and the people. They just want to come to power, nationally or locally and plunder the national wealth. Hence, they select as candidates, popular cinema and tele drama actors and especially actresses, popular sportsmen and well known businessmen instead of professionals in various fields. 29 MPs are appointed under the National List following the election of 196 MPs at each Parliamentary election, in order for the political parties and the independent groups to have professionals in their Parliamentary groups. However, that list is practically meant for cronies, in respect of many political parties.  

Politicians very well know that the masses are credulous towards their own interests. People in general do not see politics as a mechanism that has the capacity to either bring their lives to an exalted position or to ruin them. It is just a gamble for them to win or lose. Therefore, politicians tell their party men – those who had reposed confidence in them- yes, we will give you a winning candidate, not a man with a vision or a principled man.   

Thus, once the United National party fielded a popular actress with meager knowledge in politics and economy in Gampaha Distract at a Parliamentary election who got the highest number of preferential votes, beating even the deputy leader of that party while a popular sportsman put forward by the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) topped the party’s list in the Matara District, beating many experienced politicians. That is the people’s mindset.   

Country needs economic development, but people do not know what the development is. Therefore, many parties boast that they developed the country during their tenure, despite the reports of deaths of children due to malnutrition and thousands of schools without water. The country in fact needs a development which is a strategy that would continually raise the income of the country as a whole while raising the income of the individual families as well, amidst the ups and downs of the world economy. The country needs an economy that would be an answer to theforeign debt trap.  

Country needs a corruption free economy. But the very politics in the country is meant for plundering of public coffers, while the people are prepared to justify corruption of any magnitude committed by the leaders of  “their” party. In fact the country needs not just a regime change but a mechanism that would minimize, if not eradicate corruption.  
Political parties are hell bent and are competing each other in rousing communal tensions and thereby gaining political mileage. However, the country needs an administration that is capable to bring about national harmony while protecting the rights of every community in the country.   

The people also need a government that would ensure rule of law within the country and maintain healthy relationship with all countries while protecting national interests.   

Can we make these and such issues as criteria for the candidates for the next Presidential election?    

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