The General Election is around the corner. We seem to be having more elections than cricket match wins for Sri Lanka. I wonder how the politicians are taking it (the stress).
Recently it got me thinking, why all this campaigning? Let’s admit that although there are 1000s of candidates contesting, there are only 2 political parties that have the chance at victory. The smaller parties would be getting some amount of seats and could determine which of the two main ones comes to power in the end. But what are they campaigning for? and how are they doing it? (from my point of view)
When I scrolled through the results of 2001, 2010 and other elections, what I saw was “funny?”. Some of the contestants have been switching sides more frequently than we thought. Once switching (thereby deceiving and betraying the voters) voters tend to forget their roots and the fact that they did jump earlier. We have come across those who had jumped and changed their speeches within a matter of days to suit the new faction.
Since of late, the “jumping” and double-jumping has become a sensation with dedicated segments allocated in some TV news for these. Given the way things were going, I wouldn’t have been surprised even if both PM candidates switched symbols in the end!
Now about the campaigning, whatever is said in rallies and pocket meetings, is only heard by the party supporters (generally brought from some other area) – who most of the time don’t even pay attention. These staunch supporters will cast their votes for their parties regardless of what is said. When these are telecast, the opposition supporters rarely watch and listen removing their colored glasses (fair enough – only a little is true in what’s being said). So whom is it targeting? Floating voters? If the floating vote is decided on what’s said on stage and not based on what they researched, god bless them.
Where are the door-to-door campaigns and personal telephone calls? All we got is the mass sms from some number and leaflets under the door. I remember some time ago, some used to come to our house and have nice 5-10mins (at least) chats personally or to a group of families. There was one who called and did that – before that he asked permission for our time. Whatever happened to those?
Election promises – once again in abundance. It’s like Christmas to a kid. Everyone is in a generous mood. When one party promises something and completes it, there’s a mountain of criticism for it. When the opposition gets its time, it tries to beat it. But do they declare how they will do it? Aren’t the public (you and me included) interested in knowing how it can be done? If salaries are going to be increased, how are they planning to do it? There should be something different in revenue generation than the last few years – is there?
Talking about politics is a stressful matter to anyone. I just hope that whatever the party that wins, may some educated, sensible, intelligent policy makers enter that important building at diyawanna oya.