The Sunday Leader

The Elusive Common Candidate

Those named to be prospective runners to be the Opposition’s ‘common candidate’ may be following the ‘Sheathed Sword’ stratagem of the 5th Century BC Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu: Greatest of victories are those that are not fought.

Astrologers, the final arbiters of the auspicious times where marriages, military operations and even cricketing events should take off— predict that the next presidential elections would take place early next year. But the tipped candidates are still hemming and hawing.  They seem to be rather shy in coming forward. Only Ranil Wickremasinghe seemed to be positive but a in a TV interview last week he qualified: ‘If the party nominates me’.

‘Myee, how democratic’, a committed Ranil supporter watching the programme cooed.

The reluctant presidential runners by swaying forwards and backwards with only around half year to go are certainly not following another advice of Sun Tzu, we realised while referring to our favourite bed-time reference, ‘The Art of War’. It says: ‘A general who wins a battle makes many calculations beforehand. Many calculations lead to victory. Few calculations lead to defeat’.

The named frontline common candidates are: Ranil, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha, Come- Back Kid veteran Chandrika Kumaratunga, Gen. Sarah Fonseka and Karu Jayasuriya.

Whether they are doing any ‘calculations’ as recommended by the Chinese strategist of yore or not we are not aware of but if they are serious, it’s high time that they stepped forward and staked their claims.

The Common Government Candidate can be none other than the political Goliath Mahinda Rajapakse waiting to take on all comers. The two time winner of Presidential elections and who has swept every other poll since he was elected president in January 2010 will be hard to beat unless Opposition can produce a common candidate who can also muster votes in the north and east.

Thirty seven years ago, J.R.Jayewardene came out of the political wilderness to defeat the political colossus Sirima Bandaranaike. The challenge before the opposition is to produce another JRJ.

Zoological Gardens in Sri Lanka

Reports of elephants in the Dehiwela Zoo being infected with Tuberculosis raises the question of having this zoo being located in a very densely populated residential area.

We are certainly not advocating that the gentle pachyderms should in any way be harmed. They should be given the best of treatment and removed to far more salubrious locations than their habitat in the zoo where they are confined to massive built- in concrete and rock caves.

The Dehiwela Zoo is the only ‘Zoological gardens’ in Sri Lanka and the question arises whether we should have this zoo or any other such institution in this country.

Some visitors to this zoo may enjoy the sight of these animals that should be living freely in the wild, being put behind bars, locked up in iron cages and confined to massive concrete depression which is sheer torture to these animals. Children by and large are unaware of the cruelty inflicted on these animals and the agony they are going through. But should this gross torture   be inflicted on innocents who should be roaming freely in the wild, by a state institution?

We are certainly not promoting private zoos with far less constraints inflicting punishment and torture on animals solely for commercial purposes.

What should be considered are zoos in wild life parks where animals are confined to specific areas in parks by fences and other structures but would have much greater freedom of their movement and be living in an environment closer to nature? There are such zoological gardens in some African countries from which we could receive assistance to set them up. The Dehiwela Zoo should be wound up over a period of time.

Zoological gardens where animals are put to great suffering for the enjoyment of children, immature adults and tourists, are a paradox in this so called Buddhist country where Buddhism is specifically accorded the ‘foremost place’ while having  hundreds of animals locked up and tortured. Morning, noon and night radio and TV blare: ‘May all beings be well and happy’.

8 Comments for “The Elusive Common Candidate”

  1. Kingsley

    All above common candidates say that they want to abolish the current presidential system. If it is so, in the longer term it is the executive priminister post is the most important and powerful. Out of the above list my personal opinion is Karu Jayasuriya fits the bill best to get the maximum support from all opposition parties as Ranil already has a negative factor among the voters and will be difficult to succeed. But no doubt Ranil is a good administrator and has no family band wagon to plunder the nation like the current lot. I have no doubt, Karu being a very decent politician will appoint Ranil as the executive priminister and will remain the ceremonial president as in many countries such as India. This is a win – win situation.

  2. R.M.B Senanayake

    Will Ven: Maduluwawe Thero get the Tamil votes? He has not said a word so far about the Tamil problem? Does he support the 13th Amendment plus?

  3. gamarala

    Animals undergo torture during transport to abattoirs and before slaughter.
    Millions of chickens,cattle goats & fish are eaten yearly.
    Thousands of stray dogs and cats die of starvation.
    But,devout Buddhists eat only cracked eggs to avoid killing,
    This is the real paradox of this Buddhist nation.

  4. Asoka

    Sri Lankans now voting for the country not for the party. They all knows now after defeating LTTE Tamils, country first, Sinhalese first. Any one safe guarding the Sinhalese Nation and Sinhalese people voting for him. This is very clear now. No one can stop also, Peoples power. Out of 225 MPS in Sri Lanka Parliament 195MPS are Sinhalese also.

  5. Reading this content made it simpler for me to understand one
    or two points I was unaware of!

  6. prashantha

    Dear Journalists can we save this country????
    We read what you report. if you are biased we will not get the right news and when we select MPs, we might select the wrong people.
    looks like we are paying the price for it

  7. Gabriella

    Parliament; Zoo; and the hypocrisy of Buddhist practitioners; all intrinsically linked. Is it paradoxically metaphoric or metaphorically paradoxical ? SOF has excelled himself !

  8. I don’t have time to properly take a look at this website at this moment, but I saved it
    as a favorite to check it in the evening.
    I am grateful for the useful info.

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