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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 78

Desperate Ranil addresses public meetings waving ...........

[b]Desperate Ranil addresses public meetings waving the national flag in one hand[/b]

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Though there are thirteen candidates in the field only two major political alignments are competing seriously to win the presidential crown on November 17. Without any deception or trying to hide his agenda, Mahinda Rajapakse built his front on a candid anti-LTTE (not anti-Tamil) and pro-grassroots, pro-Sinhala-Buddhist programme. Ranil Wickremasinghe, fighting for his political life for the 13th time, (that superstitious number figures again!) banked on a pro-LTTE agenda disguised as a vote for minorities and peace.

Ranil Wickremasinghe’s main claim was that only he could negotiate with the LTTE and bring a permanent peace. He was dressed up to the nines in Emperor’s clothes trusting that his pro-business, pro-West, pro-LTTE, pro-NGO agendas will not be detected by the voters. Armed with this alien program he went into battle painting his opponent as an anti-Tamil, war-mongering extremist.

Wickremasinghe was hoping to reap the benefits of this campaign on November 17 by winning the minority votes. This includes the votes of the Muslims of the east and Indian Tamils of the central hills. But soon it was apparent that Wickremasinghe was not going to hold his coalition partners together as one solid bloc. The confirming evidence emerged when the LTTE and the proxy MPs of the LTTE in Tamil National Alliance (TNA) announced that they will not support either candidate. This has taken the winds out of the sails of Wickremasinghe’s boat. He is now drifting in midstream without even a paddle.

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