TRENDS and TRAILS at RECENT ELECTIONS
Posted on September 15th, 2012

By  Gomin Dayasri

Winning elections is an art to master; some do: others’ don’t, distinction surfaces in serial triumphs and failures-not on a one-off, win or defeat. There is a lesson to be learnt before grasping the basics that lead to a winning frenzy “”…” read the mind and soul of the electors correctly before the play is enacted. Performance can be brusque or risquƒÆ’†’©, styled vaudeville or pantomime; any crudity or absurdity suffices, provided it appeals to the masses.

Fool them more: more get attracted- hearts and minds are reached faster on track stupid. Regrets flow later when realization dawns slowly: takes a while for remorse to set in-till then its carnival time for those who practice the art.  Cheated and bleated with persistent suffering, the strike back is to recoil and vest the frequent loser with overwhelming power and sweep the perpetual winner to oblivion. Who suffers from the vicious circle? The unwise exercising the franchise gets hurt at twin towers at the hands of both- UPFA and UNP.

Issues that seek purity in the purgatory- featured in editorials, columns, forums, civil society handouts or seminar circuit circulars did not sway most minds in the provinces. Difference lies in the value structure between Colombo and the Rest, two worlds that are impossible to synthesize. Values cherished in the global village multiplied and amplified by the media make no impact outside the sophisticated urbane class. Change never comes from Colombo: change comes to Colombo, always late.

A government that pays no heed to prudent counsel and continues with its wicked ways without holding an equilibrium of being populist while maintaining forms of good governance faces fury once voters find they cross the line of tolerance. Unreachable majorities create the impression of peaking but could lead to a tweak if improperly administered. This government cannot be easily dislodged till it carries the navigators of a war victory despite other infirmities as they live long on past glory. It’s mostly a mismanaged economy that can unsettle the government.

A pointer that went unobserved before the elections was the record breaking bumper box office hit film titled “ƒ”¹…”Mahinda Gamanaya’ that hardly received any publicity in the English media narrating the glory of the Buddhist Sinhala civilization since the advent of Arhat Mahinda.  Why did an ordinary period piece draw mass appeal?

Theme and tale attracted allegiance to the core treasured values of the masses’ otherwise bound to their home television sets for a change visited the cinema in multitudes to enjoy a family entertainment. That tells the story briefly of the beliefs of the people.

Lanka-quake of ’56 was revisited in 2005 in a revised updated edition, modernizing the old formula that spelt of a Pancha Maha Balawegaya [Force Mighty Five] of sangha-veda-guru””…”govi-kakamkaru that has since seen a demise giving way to a second wave. A generation in- between in the vicious circle went from the late “70s to the “80s with the western elite that replaced the old colonialists, forgoing a general election for a rigged referendum.

UNP is on double jeopardy. Their faithful vote is not being polled-visit to the booth is deemed time wasted as a failed result beckons after experiencing many stinging failures and is fraught with the danger of inviting unnecessary identification as a habitual loser. Feeble voter feels safer at home rather than vote for a party destined to lose. The anticipated value added vote did not materialize to give zest to lift the party from a deep pit: lowered poll by the UNP increased the majority for the governing party that showed a deceptive advancement-in reality the consequence of a reduced poll by the UNP and the loss of its loyal vote. Without the loyalist at front the floaters are hesitant to join camp. A few more steep decreases can freeze the flock or make them wander elsewhere in search of fresh pasture. For a comeback UNP needs a swing as sprawling as a Mexican Wave.

JVP has split into particles that once proudly carried 42 parliamentarians, can muster a few hundred votes in each polling district, to gather a reduced cadre based vote. Trincomalee district is a case in study where the

JVP polled 9390 votes in 2008 and was reduced to 777 votes in 2012. Its divided off spring the JNP contesting on its own being a constituent party of the government managed to collect 9522 votes and gained representation in the provincial council. Results show a marked decline in the JVP votes notably in the sole majority Sinhalese polling division Seruwila in the Trincomalee district, where it polled 2286 in 2008 that declined to 518 in 2012. JNP taking a virulent pro-Sinhala line collected 6450 votes obviously eating into the UPFA vote. It may not be long before the JVP disappears as a credible party as it is in the public mind classified as a negligible force. Intra party differences caused its rapid decline.

Government’s popularity in achieving awesome majorities owes much to an unchallenging opposition divided and in disarray. Cost of living index has been countered by a home economy created by the entrepreneurial skills of a knowledgeable populatation. A government with accusations of grease and graft, assault and plunder, sleaze and scandal, lies and deception thrives merrily because of a lack of credible alternative. An asset for the government is President’s political skills matched against naivety of the Leader of Oppositions conduct in a glaring mismatch. Unless the economy takes a dive the result is released before the contest. UPFA’s is a truly national party capable of extracting votes from every quarter and ability to win the east sends a strong message to the west and the diaspora of being capable of achieving national unity and its acceptability to the minorities.

TNA after hibernating with the LTTE has emerged as the party that commands foremost respect from the Tamils. It shows pro-LTTE forces are supportive of the TNA. TNA are co-spokesmen with the UPFA (Batticoala outfit) for the Tamils in the east. TNA falling short in winning the province shows there is no justification for a merged North/East. This result makes the East a triangularly shared territory of three ethnicities as displayed in the census. Possibly with UPFA extracting votes from every corner makes it justifiably more entitled to represent the East.  Could it hold on to its strength? – Only if the reconciliation process succeeds. UNP has lost its strong foot hole in the East being a shadow of its former self.

SLMC has got a pivotal role in playing the arbiter of affairs in the east. But they cannot speak with authority for the Muslims in the East because of high percentage of Muslim votes cast for the UPFA and UNP. Their inability to pick on Tamil votes makes it a junior partner to the UPFA. SLMC is in front on the Muslim vote but lost too much of it to the UPFA and UNP to hold a monopoly as to dictate terms on behalf of the Muslims in the east.

Politicians are like diapers that need change often. These results show them as soiled fixtures changed mostly to accommodate a progeny. People may desire a change but the change UNP offers is in variance to a change they want.

 

 

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