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A face-off that promises a surprise ending - EDITORIAL

5 April 2024 02:41 am - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and his camp received a positive response from the National People’s Power (NPP) for a debate on the country’s economy. It’s a bit strange for the NPP to have agreed to a face-off with Premadasa because the JVP-led alliance prefers staging debates in an environment where experts speak on topics where analysis, statistics, reasoning and logic shape the direction of the ‘conversation’.

We all know that ‘conversation’ might not be the most appropriate word to use in the context of a debate. Debates where Sri Lankan lawmakers feature in are hostile and very seldom do parties at loggerheads accept shortcomings and agree on a compromise. But this time around things might be different, according to reports reaching us from reliable sources. 

These are days the three main candidates for the upcoming presidential election are engaging in conversations with members of the public. Some of these politicians have been presented with conundrums and on most such occasions the answers that were provided were classy. However, the same cannot be said on one such occasion when a Tamil youth in Canada asked NPP representatives how the alliance would resolve the ethnic conflict if its presidential candidate won the ‘race for presidency’. The NPP chose not to answer the question. The footage on the event shows the youth, who posed the question, being removed from the venue. How the NPP responded to the question demands a fair explanation because this is an era where most political parties affirm that they have the expertise to find solutions to any problem the society faces. Other than that the NPP scored well during its Canadian tour to muster votes for the upcoming polls. 

 The possible Sajith vs Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) debate has generated much interest because people are eager to know about their election manifestos. Sajith has said that he will take on questions on social, political, economic and international issues. These are also strong areas of AKD when he addresses an audience. Sajith has maintained that socialism undermines people’s lives, livelihoods and both new and private businesses. He has said that countries professing socialism don’t implement it; which is a hint at China and a whack at the mainstay of the NPP which is the JVP. AKD has maintained that he is focused on establishing an economy that is driven by the country’s produce. 

The talk of the town in the political scene is this debate. At least two television stations have shown interest in creating the platform for the showdown between these two. Sajith has said that debates will help improve the quality of democracy. AKD not answering a vital question in Canada may suggest the ‘colour’ of his style of governing a country; given that he gets to sit on that all-powerful president’s chair. 

There have been calls for the economic committees of both the SJB and NPP to have a debate first. But then some of the members of the SJB economic committees were in past UNP-led regimes and that might not be a good idea, according to political analysts. 

If we turn the pages of time in our political diaries we can see that so many debates have taken place in the run-up to elections. If we go beyond that, this Buddhist- majority country has learned through religious literature that even Gautama Buddha encountered calls for debates by religious figures who opposed Buddhism. Once the ‘Enlightened One’ said to a disciple, “Don’t arrange that debate with the person who wants to be my adversary. Such a debate will make this individual, who is already confused, even more confused”. 

From the speeches he makes, it seems that Sajith reads a lot or is getting much advice on what points to stress during a debate. He is sure to rattle away with his notes made in his mind regardless of what the question is. And what if in the end, the Leader of the Opposition tells AKD, “Both of us have great ideas, so why not get together and develop this nation”. 

  Comments - 5

  • lion Friday, 05 April 2024 04:55 AM

    Writer says that AKD didn't answer the question raised by a youth with regard to the ethnic issue if the NPP government comes to power and the youth was removed from the venue. If it is true all the Tamils who were in the audience may have certainly leave the assembly in protest of the removal of the youth who raised that question. That didn't happen why was that?Over to you editor.

    Mahila Tuesday, 09 April 2024 04:43 AM

    Case Similar to the scenario, where the Past Leader of the Chinese Governing Party was removed forcibly, though he was protesting, because the past leader's comment, on extended term was NOT to the liking of Present leader, Chi Yi Pin!!??? The others didn't leave, just because the previous leader was removed and doesn't mean, the rest in total approved such total removal!!! It's Tactical, move to be present and contend any development, if necessary!!!??? Such may have been the thinking of the rest, as they wouldn't achieve anything by their absence!!!???

    NV Jen Friday, 05 April 2024 02:37 PM

    Both getting together to resolve country's issues will be ideal. Anura can learn the art of governance as he does not posses experience like Gota. With co-governance strategy, NPP may be ready by 2029, who knows. But NPP's aversion to few important matters such as restructuring the loss making SOE's, in order to reduce the tax burden and allowing private universities to prevent foreign exchange drainage etc. will make it impossible for this center, left marriage to happen.

    Jonny Monday, 15 April 2024 04:02 AM

    nonsense politics. nobody prepared to give realistic ANSWERS.

    iggy Monday, 15 April 2024 11:23 AM

    Will never happen. These are the games they play.

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