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SJB Protest Turns Out A Damp Squib

03 Feb 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

Electioneering is in the air. The usual rounds of protests are commencing. The NPP/JVP combine commenced their programme to ‘educate’ the electorate of issues at hand some time ago. On Tuesday, the main opposition party (SJB) held what it expected to be a massive demonstration against the ‘Online Safety Bill’ (OSB), the imposition of taxes, various price hikes and a skyrocketing cost of living.   
The party expected to bring into Colombo 50,000 protestors. Unfortunately that expectation fell short by around 48,000. While many applaud the SJB sentiment of drawing attention to the dangers posed by the imposition of the OSB and the unbearable cost of living, everyone was aghast at the SJB’s claim of having led the ‘Aragalaya’ and the toppling of ex-President Gotabaya Rakapakasa.  
In statements to the media prior to the demonstration, the party’s General Secretary claimed, it was his party that gave leadership to the ‘Aragalaya’, which led to the toppling of the then government causing ex-President Gotabaya to flee the country.

Mamma mia! The whole nation watched in real time when the protestors chased SJB leader Sajth back to his jeep and out of the protest site while he was trying to gain political mileage by putting in an appearance at Gota-Go-Gama after it was attacked by a mob of then ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Shortly after that attack, the then Premier and his Cabinet were forced to resign, paving the way for Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe to be appointed Prime Minister, after the SJB Leader refused to accept the Premiership. When Wickremesinghe accepted the post, young Sajith, changed his tune saying he was ready to take up the challenge.
But the die was cast. Wickremesinghe assumed the Premiership of the country and was subsequently voted President via a Parliamentary vote when ex-President Gotabaya fled. President Wickremesinghe was able to put food back on the table, bring fuel back to depots and lift the 12-hour rolling power cuts which had brought the country to the point of collapse.
Those events are etched in the minds of our people. The puerile SJB claim of having given leadership to the ‘Aragalaya’ will not deceive the masses. After all it was the ordinary people of this country who descended on Colombo, on 9 July 2022, which first led to then President Gotabaya fleeing the President’s House and later the country. 
On that day neither the SJB Leader nor his General Secretary were among the crowds that ‘stormed the Bastille’ so to say
If the General Secretary of the SJB believed he could hoodwink the public with his false claims, he was sadly mistaken. It only shows how our cheap politicians are still trying to come to power by riding on falsehood and chicanery to attain power and position on the backs of a burdened people
The motley crowd which finally turned up at the SJB rally, proved that the ordinary people of the country are fed up with being treated as nincompoops. The fact that the SJB Leader was not at the forefront of Tuesday’s demonstration when Police fired tear gas to disperse the protestors (as reported by the ‘Daily Mirror’ correspondent) was even more shameful. 
Speaking to party faithful with an empty tear gas canister in hand in the aftermath of the failed protest march, party leader Sajith Premadasa thundered he would turn the President’s House into an IT centre once he came to power.

Our people have heard similar promises from politicians since late President Jayawardene ushered in the era of the Executive Presidency. However, all we ‘the people’ have received since the inception of the Executive Presidential system have been lies, continuing corruption, Presidential pardons for murderers and rapists, enhanced poverty among the masses of the people and repressive legislation. 
Today nearly half our population is poverty stricken. According to UNICEF ‘around one out of every six people in Sri Lanka are multi-dimensionally poor. Estate areas are pockets of poverty that require policy attention as more than half (51.3%) of all people living in these areas are living in poverty...’ 
Yet the leader of the main political opposition in Parliament talks of turning the Presidential Secretariat into an IT centre!!