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Sunday, 17 January 2010

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President delivers most pledges

The UPFA candidate and the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa presented a unique policy statement, titled Mahinda Chinthana during the 2005 November Presidential Election campaign. Instead of the customary election pledges where the voters have had a bitter experience over the past 50 years, the President has unveiled an innovative policy statement, which was tailor-made to suit the expectations of the masses.

It was a visionary statement with a perfect understanding of the pulse of the people, both rural and urban. People who were sick and tired of the loads of election pledges which hardly materialised in the past, wholeheartedly rendered their overwhelming support to implement the Mahinda Chinthana by electing Mahinda Rajapaksa as the fifth Executive President of Sri Lanka on November 17, 2005.

This opened a new chapter in the annals of Sri Lanka's history. Many courageous and significant decisions were taken to change the destiny of the nation. The LTTE's three-decade-long ruthless terrorism, which had been the nation's biggest bugbear, was overcome with the right political leadership.

During the 2005 Presidential Election campaign, the masses looked forward to a mere solitary expectation from the winning candidate - wiping out LTTE terror which had inflicted untold agony on the entire nation, irrespective of race, religion and political affiliations.

On the other hand, President Rajapaksa not only inspired the country's valiant Security Forces to achieve that Herculean task, but also fulfilled the other aspirations of the nation by implementing more than 94 percent of the policies and proposals in the 2005 Mahinda Chinthana. More importantly, President Rajapaksa executed the gigantic task of eradicating terrorism and achieving economic prosperity in four years.

Despite waging a war against the most brutal terrorist outfit in the world amidst mounting pressure from a section of the International Community, President Rajapaksa and his Government embarked on massive development projects - a unique achievement hard to match.

The five ports including the Hambantota Port and Mattala International Airport are landmark projects in the Government's efforts to develop infrastructure. Irrigation projects such as Moragahakanda reservoir, Uma Oya, Kumbukkan Oya, power generation projects such as Upper Kotmale hydropower station, Norochcholai coal power plant, Kerawalapitiya power station and road development projects such as the Southern Expressway and several flyovers in Colombo and suburbs stand testimony to the development activities implemented under President Rajapaksa.

During his first four years in office, President Rajapaksa reached great heights. He sacrificed two years of his term - exactly one-third of his official term - to seek a fresh mandate from the people, especially those living in the North and the East, who were denied an equal opportunity to exercise their democratic rights due to LTTE threats. In keeping with this, President Rajapaksa last week presented his second policy statement - the Mahinda Chinthana 2, which is targeted at ushering in economic prosperity during his second term in office.

In the Mahinda Chinthana 2, the President has stressed the need to make Sri Lanka the centre of navigation, and travel, commerce, power and energy and knowledge and make it the miracle of Asia. We are confident that the youth in this country could make this happen.

Our village youth astonished the world by defeating the most barbaric terrorist outfit in the world. The same youth could astound the world by transforming Sri Lanka as the miracle of Asia. By this, we could build a country where jobs will be freely available without youth going in search of jobs. The chief aim of the Mahinda Chinthana 2 is to elevate the standard of our rural youth. The Mahinda Chinthana 2 economic policies are aimed at helping the Sri Lankan nation without filling the pockets of foreign businessmen and racketeers.

President Rajapaksa has delivered most of the pledges made at the 2005 Presidential Election campaign and is determined to achieve the goals set in the Mahinda Chinthana 2 during the next six years.

Unlike Sarath Fonseka, who is supported by the LTTE-proxy - the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), President Rajapaksa has not offered anything that affects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. Fonseka has not only embraced the TNA and betrayed the nation and the Security Forces, but has also made many unrealistic promises to hoodwink the voters. Fonseka, the former Army Commander, whose son-in-law is being accused of shady arms deals with the Security Forces when Fonseka was in office, has also pledged to sell petrol at Rs. 100 per litre. By waiving off taxes and slashing Government revenue for public welfare, Fonseka has promised to increase the salaries of public servants by Rs.10,000. Anybody with even a little knowledge of basic economics knows that this is practically impossible. Fonseka seems to be clueless about financial matters and not surprising too with his mere 40-day experience as a politician.

In contrast, President Rajapaksa has been bold enough to disclose that he could increase the salaries of public servants by only Rs.2,500 per month. In a desperate bid to pull wool over the eyes of public servants, Fonseka has craftily not mentioned as to when he would implement his proposed salary hike and whether it is monthly or annually.

It is crystal clear that he is taking the voters for a good ride with his main campaign slogan of abolishing the Executive Presidency. He does not give a definite time frame and instead, says that it would be done one month after the next General Election for which a date has not been fixed so far.

Nevertheless, at the same time he also says that he does not want to be a non-Executive President like William Gopallawa and needs 'some' powers with ministerial powers of five key subjects. Only Fonseka can unravel the hidden agenda as political parties supporting him are blissfully unaware of their fate.

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