TNA leader R Sampanthan

Already Tamils in the North have started to protest against the “FEDERAL” system which does not promote reconciliation at all. Instead, it draws division lines in terms of boundaries. A good example to these divisions is the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) does not represent the common Tamils’ grievances. It addresses the politician’s grievances.
The rise of Crusaders for Democracy (CFD) under the co-ordination of Nadesapillai Vithiyatharan has changed the whole political picture in the North. The TNA should be blamed for the rise of CFD (a new political group). The TNA was riding high in the North and East for the last three decades. Tamils did not have alternative parties to vote, as a result whether the TNA delivers the goods or not, Tamils used to vote for the TNA for a long time. But now the situation is changed.

Gajendrakumar’s Tamil Congress party is carrying out its campaign in an active manner. Further, Vithiyatharan is also showing his intelligent approach to attract the Tamils through their just and fair policies. On the other side, Anadashangaree has shown that he is not second to anyone. This time we could see a heavy competition in the North and East where parties and independent groups vying for votes. Muslims in the North and East also have a tough choice to make between All Ceylon Muslim Congress and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. The UNP and UPFA have also fielded their candidates. Therefore it is widely anticipated that the votes may split.

Looking for clean politicians
There are two election monitoring organizations (PAFFREL and CaFFE) are educating the masses to elect disciplined, educated intellectuals as people’s representatives. It is important that candidates who have a clean record should be elected. Those involved in corruption, drug trafficking and malpractices should not be elected. That is correct, but it is important to find correct information about a person before deciding on voting. But there are efforts taken at present to showcase a bad picture about certain politicians without any credible evidences. This has to be condemned. So, one would expect better advice from PAFFREL and CaFFE also on how to handle this situation. Merely stating that disciplined educated people should be elected will confuse the innocent voter. A voter should be educated on how to find the correct information about the candidate. Can we believe the biased reports published by various electronic and print media institutions about different personalities? Those local election monitors should also give proper guidelines to the public information sources like media to act with responsibility in this regard. The poor common man will get to know about a candidate through media. But if the media gives a wrong picture about a politician without any credible evidence, the common public may sometimes get carried away by those wrong reports. So, this writer personally feels that while the campaign carried out by the PAFFREL and CaFFE looking for clean politicians is a good process; they should take extra care that correct information about a politician reaches the common man through media. A person is said to be innocent until he is proved guilty. So, my request goes to Elections Commissioner, who should look into this tricky situation where some media institutions are trying to undermine and isolate the efficient politicians under the name of “looking for clean candidates”. Any politician is said to be clean until he is proved guilty of an offence. As a result, a moderate citizen might fear the vicious campaigns carried out by NGOs for the so called “SEARCHING FOR CLEAN POLITICIANS” may favor some party giving undue advantage. The Elections Commissioner should have a close look at these activities.
Will the media take responsibility if a person is suspected on a corruption case is proved innocent; will it campaign in the similar way to show a clean image of the same person concerned? This writer personally thinks it is not possible. Most of the media institutions look for news but they do not look for credible evidence for before publishing these news. We also can witness most of the mudslinging campaigns take place during election time. But it vanishes away soon after the election. As such one requests all innocent voters not to decide about a candidate based on the media reports, but look for some alternative reliable sources to find about the candidate. Suppose if you cannot judge a person, then refrain from voting for that candidate.

So we say “THINK and VOTE, but do not fall prey to some cheap propaganda messages.
One should remember, that the late JR Jayewardene was said to be a clean politician, but what happened during his regime? The worst affected community was the Tamil community through the 1977 riots and Black July riots in 1983.The late President R Premadasa was also said to be an honest person, but the 88-89 JVP problem cropped up during his period. Further, Premadasa gave weapons to the LTTE. Even Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was also said to be a clean politician, but people know what happened during her tenure.

So, merely looking for ‘cleanliness in the character’ will not qualify him /her to rule the country. As a moderate citizen, you need to look for many other things including intelligence, diplomatic approach, courage, being bold on certain situations , not fearing the foreign elements and all in all a  challenging character is important to do the job.
I am placing these thoughts for the kind consideration of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims of this country.

May God give you the wisdom and intelligence to select the right person through this election. All the best!