Sri Lanka politics and commentary

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lies, damned lies and computer jilmaat

The Island Editorial

No sooner had the final result of the Jan. 26 presidential polls been announced than the JVP claimed that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had won fraudulently by manipulating the Election Department computers. While results were still being released, rumours were also floated that Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake had been placed under house arrest and the government was doctoring results to secure victory.

There were various other rumours about the election results doing the rounds not only here but also across the globe. Sadly, in this country, where a sucker is said to be born every minute, there were many who fell for those lies hook, line and sinker.

JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe was the first to go public audaciously with the allegation of a computer fraud. In his inimitable facetious style, he coined a term 'computer jilmaat', which became popular in no time. The Election Secretariat denied the allegation vehemently. So did the University of Colombo, which technologically assists that institution in handling election results. But, the JVP and others of its ilk continued to disseminate their false claim prompting the Elections Commissioner himself to summon a press conference and put the matter to rest.

If any backer of the defeated presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka had had irrefutable evidence of a computer fraud as claimed, it would have been sufficient to challenge the re-election of President Rajapaksa successfully in court. (A 43-page election petition could have been shortened quite effectively to just one page!) So, the ardent supporters of the main Opposition candidate and the JVP expected the computer jilmaat to figure very prominently in Tuesday's election petition. But, lo and behold, the jilmaat was conspicuous by its absence in that document! What happened?

There could not have been a lapse on the part of the drafters of that vital document which they took three weeks to prepare painstakingly. We were told that former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva himself had undertaken the drafting of the petition. The legal brains behind it must have known that the computer jilmaat for what it really was––a Goebbelsian lie, which would have been laughed out of court.

Now, the JVP leader and others who tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the public by propagating the jilmaat lie owe an explanation. They ought to tell their backers why that allegation was omitted.

The JVP cannot bluff its way through anymore. The last straw it clutched at desperately snapped on Jan. 26 and now disaster is inevitable. The outfit lacks a definite goal and a clear strategy and depends on tactical moves for survival. It is a political wanderer looking for issues. It signals left and turns right like asphalt cowboys on our highways and even does not hesitate to compromise its much flaunted ideology for expediency. It also has no qualms about co-habiting with anyone or opting for political marriages of convenience, if that serves its purposes in the short term. Else, its honeymoon with the UNP, which it once accused of having cremated its founder leader Rohana Wijeweera alive in 1989, would never have been possible. Today, it is even ready to coalesce with the ultra capitalist UNP, whose ideology is diametrically opposed to its 'Marxist' one to contest a general election, should the latter agree to a common symbol!

Having squandered its political fortunes for the past six years, the JVP finds itself in the exalted company of the Old Left reduced to a political creeper. No amount of political jilmaat will help it make a comeback.

The April polls will mark the end of the JVP’s political hitchhiking.

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