Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not be the best democrat or one to assure a greater freedom to media. However a few days ago he came with a fine piece of advice to his MPs on deportment and reading that one cannot help, but wish the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister too offer the same counsel to our parliamentarians.
“We make mistakes and give masala (fodder) to media. The moment you see a camera you start speaking. Don’t stand in front of the TV cameras and start preaching the country,” PM Modi has reportedly said addressing the MPs from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Indian Prime Minister has advised his party people not to play “great scientists and experts” by giving their opinion on each and every thing whenever there’s an issue.
Modi’s comments came in the wake of a rising number of crimes in the country. Some BJP MPs have commented that they didn’t have any control over the trend given the country’s population and size.
“Let the media do its job” Modi had reportedly told his MPs commenting on media exposure of the incidents. He had insisted that the MPs should do their jobs and not the jobs of others.
Modi’s India has 1.32 billion people. Ours is a small nation with twenty one million citizens and almost double the number of Cabinet, State and deputy ministers. Still our Government is unable to control the rising crime rate and salvage the plunging economy.
Surely the citizens of this country are looking forward to the day President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe take a cue from the Indian PM and tell their Ministers and MPs “Don’t blame the Joint Opposition or the media for our own mistakes. People are tired of these excuses. Correct your mistakes instead of preaching the country with your own theories as if you are social scientists or experts on subjects”. The most important thing perhaps is the two leaders convincing themselves of this reality. The citizens are tired of the habit of each and every Government member looking for scapegoats for the present sorry state of affairs in the country.
We are into the fourth month of the fourth year of the present regime and still the majority of Government ministers and MPs are unable to make a speech without blaming the previous regime. An impression has been created that this Government cannot do anything significant development wise as the previous Government has chained them to posts. When these sob stories were started in the first year of the Government the people tolerated them. In the second year they grew tired and impatient. In the third they got frustrated and in the fourth the voters sent the strongest message by engineering a comeback for Mahinda Rajapaksa with his Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). Obviously more than the popularity of Rajapaksa it was the dwindling popularity of the Government over inefficiency and other factors that pushed people to yearn for a return of a Rajapakse era.
Other than inefficiency, the attitudes of some ministers too has become quite unacceptable. The latest in this list of ministers is Faiszer Musthapha the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government. While any civilized citizen would have endorsed the decision by the Coastal Conservation Department’s to remove unauthorized constructions along the coastal belt in Mirissa by May 1, especially in the wake of the attack on Dutch tourists, Minister Musthapha is opposing the order. His argument is that the removal of unauthorized structures would hamper the livelihood of small entrepreneurs. If the livelihood of those who have put up unauthorized structures is a concern then crimes against tourists is a bigger concern for a country that is dependent heavily on tourism. Modi said that some of his MPs are trying to play the roles of social scientists and experts and there’s certainly no dearth of them here in Sri Lanka as well.