By Kusal Perera –
“With all the thuggery and State patronising that reminds one of CBK’s Wayamba PC elections, Uva PC elections ; my forecast is (made on 14 Sept) – Moneragala (03 seats extra this time) : UPFA 08, UNP 05, JVP 01 and Badulla (03 seats less now) – UPFA 10, UNP 07 & JVP 01 – Total UPFA 18, UNP 12, JVP 02 With a majority of just 04, what would be the repercussions to the UPFA IF this comes right ?”
I was almost there, except in Badulla, where a single seat had been swapped in favour of UNP, making it UPFA 09, UNP 08 & JVP 01. That makes the scenario far more gripping for the UPFA. And some one asked me, what would happen at the Presidential elections, if Uva is read as a national indicator ? I would conclude, its suicidal now for this regime to think of an early election, presidential or parliamentary.
Few factors that would help conclude, it would be suicidal for President Rajapaksa to contest presidential polls in a few months or in the near future are –
- the social mood that this results create is not one of victory, but that of political defeat. Having gone into a stronghold and then to come out with a crash from over 72.3 percent and 25 PC Members in 2009 to 52.8 per cent and 17 PC Members, is no small crash. This would now create a soft corner for the UNP among big business. Funds will not be hard to find. State bureaucrats would now feel uncomfortable stooging and carrying out political directives as they did during the past 05 years. These State officials will not go the whole hog now. This result would create a defiant mood among UNP rank and file too and that makes local mobilising less difficult for the UNP in future electoral battles.
- This proves that it is no easy game to go with “ONLY” Sinhala-Buddhist votes even for this Rajapaksa regime. In fact, what the UNP leadership fails to understand is that, even in 2009 May when the war was declared over, Sinhala village youth and rural people did not run around with “Lion” flags, force feeding passers by with “Kiribath”. That was in Colombo where “urban remnants” were politically hired by extreme Sinhala elements and may be in few major towns too. In fact when JHU fielded saffron robes, rural voters did not vote for them. It was only the Colombo Sinhala middle class and the city traders who voted for them. This time too, in Badulla, it was not the Sinhala voter who gave the Rajapaksas the edge over UNP. It was Estate Tamil votes that gave the edge. This is quite clear with 03 CWC candidates winning among the 09 in Badulla.
- Another interesting fact the UNP can learn if its want to, from this Uva PC elections is that Sajith P is no valid factor outside his little world in Hambantota, despite what media Maharajas want the Sinhala South to believe. IF Sajith was a heavy factor for the UNP to gather momentum, Moneragala should have gained more votes than what it gained – 31.9 p.c. Without Sajith P, in Badulla where Harin F’do led the resurrection of the UNP, he touches 45 p.c. Sajith can now be easily forgotten.
- Muslim leaders in the MR government have been completely rejected by their own people. They have no clout to even bargain now. The coalition of Muslim parties (SLMC & ACPC) that brought Hakeem and Rishad Badiyudeen together to stop anti Rajapaksa Muslim votes going UNP, failed miserably getting just 10,600 votes from both Badulla and Moneragala.
- While the Govt. alliance crashed from 72 p.c to 52.8 p.c, the UNP had a huge leap in both districts ; Badulla from 25.8 p.c to 44.8 p.c and in Moneragala from 15.5 to 31.9 p.c. Taking the whole Uva province, the UNP leaped from 22.3 p.c to 38.4 p.c.
This was while the Rajapaksa regime abused every State resource, privileges and the space to violate law. They in fact over ruled the Election Commissioner with a Court ruling and distributed 2,500 rupees each as “drought relief” to 100,000 people. Yet the anti regime trend grew conspicuously very large.
What is also important is that, when an anti regime frustration is galvanised into a political trend, the advantage accrues with the larger opposition party, taken as that, which could defeat the regime. This was seen when the JVP lost all its campaign glitter, with a final outcome of only 5.6 p.c. in Uva and 02 PC Members, 01 each from Badulla and Moneragala districts.
With a gradually shrinking popularity of Rajapaksa, the UNP can now safely expect a 40 plus p.c. to begin their presidential campaign in Sinhala South. This is no joke for the Rajapaksas to gamble at a presidential election. IF Ranil W throws out all advice from his few stupid Sinhala freaks and presents a democratic programme that would be acceptable to all religious and ethnic minorities and the TNA (immediate replacement of present N&E Governors with civilians of TNA’s choice, full and effective implementation of LLRC Recommendations, etc.) to begin negotiations on, the UNP would gain the balance requirement of 11 plus p.c. without much difficulty. The UNP can in fact expect over 52 p.c at a national poll, on such an accommodative platform.
This makes it suicidal for President Rajapaksa now, to go for a presidential poll, even if his horoscope says the going is good.