(Likes and dislikes)
No sooner the
Parliament has been dissolved enterprising prospective
candidates have come out with posters and cutouts displaying
their image and self-proclaimed virtues in public. The spread of
these visuals is an ominous sign that predicts the fierce poster
wars and cutout wars that could take place as the campaign
proper begins and develop.
Election law prevents such displays but the prospective
candidates ignore the law with impunity. Even if the Police were
to act the victim would be a poor supporter who would have to
face the music in the Courts while the real culprit goes from
stage to stage with public acclaim.
What is more sickening is that it is public money that is
spent on the removal of these objectionable and offensive
displays. This shows the utter contempt with which the future
legislators view the law and the utter disregard they have for
wastage of tax money on the removal of these displays.
The argument is that the electorates are so large that the
candidates must display their images since the voters may not
know them personally. While there is a grain of truth in their
excuse, it is a telling indictment on the candidates if the
public is unaware of them as they were public figures as
Ministers, MPs or party organisers. Had they served the public
in the pre-election period, had they become popular, there is no
need to violate election laws by pasting posters and putting up
cutouts. Besides, the electronic and public media are available
for advertising their images and messages. They could also save
a lot of money.
Though these individuals are unaware, such vulgar display of
their images and the amount of money wasted on these displays
arouse revulsion and contempt in the minds of the ordinary
voters and the response could very well be the opposite of what
is anticipated. We even found some prospective candidates at the
forthcoming General election putting up their images in every
lamp post along roads and even by lanes during the Presidential
election campaign. Incidentally they refrained from displaying
the image of the candidates whom they were supporting at that
Now that the general election has been declared the same
lesser minions would display their images with that of the
President or their party leaders in order to tax the popularity
of the leaders to their advantage.
It is not only this vulgar display but also the threats to
law and order that emanate from that display. It has been found
that most incidents of violence reported during elections are
related to intra-party disputes over the manaape than
inter-party disputes. When candidates of the same party clash it
cats a negative reflection on the party to which they belong. A
classic example was witnessed in Galle during the Southern
Provincial Council election when disputes between two candidates
escalated to the level of clashes, death threats and breach of
law and order. It provided a golden opportunity to the rival
political parties to make capital out of the situation. Another
factor these candidates forget is the effect such behaviour
would have on the bulk of the voters who have no direct party
Though the preferential system could be considered
theoretically as a positive measure where the most popular
candidate would get more votes the under-developed political
culture in the country leads to its abuse. As it is, the earlier
this manaape is got rid of the better. It is also an indictment
on the legislators that they have been only talking about
getting rid of it without any action being taken for the
duration of at least two Parliaments.
Stars of astrologers
coming. Thousands would contest. Each candidate would want some
prior knowledge of the possibility of success at the polls. Some
would base their calculations pragmatically on their own
experience and on the pattern of voting in the recent past.
Others would believe in the power of green bucks.
A more convenient and hassle-free method would be to consult
the astrologers who would predict your success or failure (with
an error of infinity!). Whether their clients would win or lose
the astrologers would faithfully inspire optimism in them an
even if there were any negative influences of the planets they
would prescribe offerings and rituals to overcome them.
One thing is certain. The stars of the astrologers and other
various practitioners of occult sciences look brighter than that
of their clients.