Speaking at at a Press conferences old left allies of the defeated Rajapaksa regime had blamed the ‘ highly centralized SLFP propaganda project for the defeat’ reports the Island.
The mammoth propaganda machine of their presidential election was run by Rajapaksa siblings and sons.
Further he had said that the The Media Ministry had pathetically failed to take remedial action, though it knew the media operation didn’t produce the desired results.
None of the three leaders f the old left parties criticised the Rajapaksa’s autocratic and corrupt rule as the reason for the defeat. Some other media had reported that Vasudave Nanayakkara saying that handing over the government to winning candidate was a mistake.
The Island report follows:
Commenting on the state-media, MP Gunasekera didn’t mince his words when he declared both print and electronic media had caused immense damage to the former President. Shameless conduct of those handling the state-media had driven the electorate to the Opposition, whereas privately-owned media attracted the lion’s share of the audience, the MP said. The Media Ministry had pathetically failed to take remedial action, though it knew the media operation didn’t produce the desired results, he said.
The former minister had alleged that some derisive attacks launched on the Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena backfired with some voters rejecting the then President. “Our own people caused serious damage. Some of them might have made foolish statements during the campaign to please the then President. But it was foolish to jeer Maithripala Sirisena, who never spoke ill of his opponents.”
The UPFA leadership would have to keep in their mind that the vast majority of those who had exercised their franchise in support of the former President were poor people. They had been struggling to make ends meet, therefore the UPFA, in spite of losing the presidential poll, couldn’t forget the electorate, the National List MP said. It would be pertinent to mention that the new government could change the direction of the national economy soon after the much touted 100-day programme, he said.
The political veteran said that the PA/UPFA had to take into consideration that the coalition had been in power since August 1994 barring Dec 2001-2003 when the UNP-led UNF was in control. The defeated candidate Rajapaksa had been a minister since 1994, CP leader said, adding that the presidency too was held by SLFP Presidents since late 1994. The new President too is from the SLFP.
Comparing presidential election results in Nov 2005, Jan 2010 and Jan 2015, MP Gunasekera said that the TNA as well as many other political parties had been opposed to the SLFP candidate. However, the only change was the JHU switching allegiance to the UNP-led alliance, he said, dismissing claims that Mahinda Rajapaksa lost due to Tamil speaking people voting for Maithripala Sirisena. The MP asserted that Rajapaksa suffered heavily due to drop in the vote in predominately Sinhala districts; therefore it was unfair to blame the former President’s defeat on Tamils and Muslims.
The Socialist Alliance also alleged that Norway funded Bodu Bala Sena caused irrevocable damage to Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign. In fact, the BBS delivered a knockout blow to the former President, though the public perception was that influential sections of the UPFA were playing ball with the organisation.
Prof. Tissa Vitharana emphasised that the UPFA leadership did absolutely nothing to arrest the situation though the BBS plunged the country into crisis and effectively thwarted Rajapaksa’s re-election bid.