Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On the shoot-out

So here’s what I think (knowing that nobody cares what I think).

In 2009 Mahinda really wanted to win the western provincial council election big, specifically he wanted to win Colombo district big. This was at the very late stages of the war, a strong election win was needed for him to show the world that people approve the war. A big win in UNP stronghold Colombo would have created good news, and also made good grounds for the upcoming parliamentary elections (Presidential elections were probably not planned then). 

The previous election results for Colombo wasn’t that good. The win was marginal; and that too at a weak period of UNP with people starting to reject the cease fire agreement. worst of all, there weren’t any strong candidates for UPFA in Colombo.

2004 Provincial Council Elections, Colombo District | Votes

UNITED NATIONAL PARTY 276,759 42.12 15

2004 Provincial Council Elections, Colombo District | Top candidates of UPFA
Candidate Preferential votes
Aruna Hemapala 36,029
Andarage Don Gamini Thilakasiri 34,992
H. Kanchana Peiris 34,658

So, Mahinda did what he does the best, bought a couple of candidates from the UNP, not with money, but with power! Duminda Silva and Thilanga Sumathipala. These two had enough money of their own for them to be bought with money, what they lacked while in opposition is power, and that’s what Mahinda had to offer them. The deal probably was win me Colombo and I’ll give you parliamentary tickets and organizer posts.

Results were quite clear, win they did. They literally bought votes for themselves spending insane amounts of money.

2009 Provincial Council Elections, Colombo District | Votes

UNITED NATIONAL PARTY 327,571 35.69 15

2009 Provincial Council Elections, Colombo District | Top candidates of UPFA
Candidate Preferential votes
Arumadura Lorence Romelo Duminda Silva 165,128
Uduwatuwage Janathpriya Thilanga Sumathipala 159,603
Udaya Prabhath Gammanpila 116,144

So, Duminda and Thilanga got their parliamentary election tickets and organizer posts as promised. But, unfortunately, that meant someone else lost their organizer post and possibly election tickets. To compensate for this, Mahinda offered Bharatha some other posts including the presidential advisor post.

For Duminda, the electoral seat doesn’t matter. He buys votes – literally. So he could go in to any area, throw some cash around, muscle out any resistance and get voted. But for someone like Bharatha, getting voted depends a lot on relationship building and small scale spending's over a lifetime. And giving his electoral seat to Duminda meant the end of his active political career; presidential advisor post didn’t really compensated for that. Thus started the battle between Duminda and Bharatha.

Where did Duminda get his money from? I don’t know. His brother owns few radio stations and they probably have other businesses. Some say it’s drugs. Can’t rule that out, but it’s highly unlikely that Rajapaksha’s would get a drug dealer in to the defense secretariat. Most claim drugs because they don’t know people could actually make an insane amount of money with legit businesses. And all they could think of is drugs.

There are no black or white characters, they are all shades of grey. Duminda had lot of thugs surrounding him, and I wouldn’t believe if someone said Bharatha didn’t. And most of all, I don’t think either of these two had got into a fight of this nature where the other party responded in the same way. They are probably so used to going in with brute force and shooting away the opponents.

So, when the first to get out of the vehicles – be it Duminda or Bharatha – started waving the guns around, probably didn’t expect the other party to do the same. And they didn’t know what to do next. They either had to pack-up and leave, or shoot. Alcohol probably stopped them from making the wise move and shoot they did. The ones with most guns, made the most kills. But I don’t think Bharatha’s group didn’t shoot back, or Duminda didn’t get shot, as some bloggers claim. With three bullets in the head, I’d be really surprised if he’s not vegetable now.

So, is this Mahinda’s fault for bringing in a thug from UNP to muscle out – and kill  in this instance - the old SLFPers who helped him vin the elections? It’s obviously a consequence of a series of incidents, but I don’t think it could be directly attributed to bringing Duminda and Thilanga in to SLFP. Mahinda is just another grey character, with good and bad, making decisions which he thinks is right for him, his family, his friends and after some more items in that list, the country (hopefully).