The election platform is noted for the rhetoric of the speakers and their foul mouthed jokes. It is seldom when matters more serious are discussed or spelt out. This is part of the political culture we have inherited for several decades.
This actually misleads the voters since most speakers appeal not to their intellect but try to rouse their emotions, often over trivial incidents.
For example, the Opposition`s electoral platforms paint a gloomy picture of the country`s economy to such an extent they even sully the good name of the country. The reality is different.
The world is undergoing a severe economic and financial crisis. It originated not in Sri Lanka under Mahinda Rajapaksa administration. It originated in the United States and spread across the world. Reputed banks and financial institutions that were giants in the financial field collapsed like a pack of cards. Even giant industrial corporations such as General Motors went bankrupt. Unemployment in the developed countries swelled to even more than 10 percent of the labour force. Retrenchment of workers amounted to several hundred thousand.
Small Sri Lanka withered the crisis much better. Nobody suffered from hunger whereas in the world the number of the hungry rose by 50 million in a year. Our economy grew at a rate of five percent whereas those of developed countries even showed negative growth. The Colombo Stock Exchange became the first in Asia and Second best in the world.
All these hard and real facts are ignored and the Opposition speaks of a sick and ailing Sri Lanka economy. Nothing is further from the truth.
The past four years have also seen an unprecedented growth in the agricultural sector. It was not spontaneous. It was a result of prudent policies followed by the Government, especially the fertilizer subsidy and the food drive.
Sri Lanka has achieved high standards in the health sector. In fact, it has received world acclaim for its low mortality and infant mortality. Emergency medical care in the country is world class as witnessed on many an occasion when victims of bomb blasts and natural calamities were attended to in double quick time. Though there are defects and shortcomings the Sri Lankan health services are far superior to that of many developing countries. But listen to the Opposition campaigners. They discredit the achievements of our own health personnel who are rendering a worthy service with dedication.
Sri Lankan expertise is sought by many countries in various fields. Expatriate intellectuals, especially scientists and medical personnel have excelled in many foreign countries. All of them are products of our educational system. This is hardly recognized by those in the Opposition who only highlight the defects and shortcomings.
The question is why the Opposition turns a blind eye to our achievements. Perhaps political expediency makes them blind, deaf and dumb to the reality. Can we trust such people to manage affairs of state?
The first thing in politics is to understand the ground realities. The NDF candidate has shown total ignorance of ground realities. For example, he promises to increase the wages of estate labour to Rs 500 whereas they get that amount even today. Similarly he thinks that by removing the charges on the Green test for automobiles he could reduce the transport fees of school vans. Silly, isn`t it? What is the reduction that has been passed on to the consumers by transport owners?
The discerning voter should be provided with correct information for him to take an informed decision. Then only would democracy thrive. No amount of rhetoric or mud slinging would help the average voter, though it would provide crude entertainment to the party faithful.
With a little over one week left in the election campaign, it is necessary to discuss real issues before the country and the people. It is essential the voter understands what has been achieved and what could be achieved in the future and to whom he should entrust the destiny of the country to continue the country`s forward march.