Saturday, July 5, 2008

Of provincial councils, gonas and politics

The whole country seems to gripped with a wave of election fever. Following the announcement of dates for the Sabaragamuwa and the NCP provincial councils elections the media, the public and the political parties have gone into an election overdrive with candidates contesting from the NCP even going as far as pasting posters in the vicinity of the Nugegoda bus stand.

The election is significant for two reasons; it would be a litmus test fro both the ruling UPFA coalition and the fractured JVP while also being a test of strength( if any remains) for the UNP. The campaign seems to have got off to a less than auspicious start for the green camp with the controversy surrounding Upul Shantha Sannasgala. Being a millionaire (perhap even billionaire) author, lyricist, sinhala guru and an expert on sinhala literature Sannasgala in my opinion has done well to stay out of the spluttering UNP election campaign.

Had Sannasgala agreed to contest the Sabaragamuwa province as the CM candidate it would have been more than likely that it would have ended in defeat. Not that there is anything wrong with Sannasgala himself but just the fact that the opportunist, hapless and wavering UNP has come under severe criticism from all sides and the chances of the party actually winning a traditional left leaning province are infinitely small.

For some one like Sannasgala; a man who is brilliant in his field having his political career (if he aspires to have one) marred by a defeat in his first election would definietly be less than rosy. If one aspires to reach the parliament in the nea t future then it is imperative that one cements a vote base by winning in the provinces/pradeshiya sabhas etc. first. Perhaps Sannasgala rightly diagnosed the impending loss in Sabaragamuwa and the implications it holds for him.

As far as Janaka Perera is concerned, he is the man carrying the hopes and dreams of the UNP in the NCP. However traditionally being blue territory, Perera would have to entice tens of thousands of new voters to cast their ballot for the UNP if he is to become the CM. Janaka Perera is a legend and rightly so, but he is a war hero of the 80's and the 90's. The heroes of today's war are either in the blue camp or are a part of the present administration. This presents a bit of a predicament for Perera, however being known as a man that ravishes challenges and always puts up a good fight we can be assured of a close contest in the NCP.

One possible glitch in the UNP campaign might be appointing Kiriella in charge of the NCP having recently become infamous for his ill advised verbose comments on everything ranging from law and order to the war, Kiriella is a time bomb waiting to explode.

His 'ona gonekuta yuddha karanna puluwan" quote is unlikely to go down well with the voters that Janaka Perera hopes to entice and directly relates to him(oh dear!) . Perhaps the UNP appointed Kiriella to keep a close eye on Janka "Bovine" Perera so that he does not go out of step from the party policy. As a politician noted for his fiery outbursts and ill advised, illogical comments who is going to keep an eye on Kiriella?

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