All parties are eagerly participating in provincial council elections. Any one looking at these campaigns might conclude that all parties are committed to the provincial councils and devolution of power. If these institutes are not equipped with sufficient power it is futile for any body to spent millions of rupees to get into them. But, all the same, these dandy candidates of both bourgeoisie parties, parade pages and pages of daily and week end papers, become nuisance to TV watchers with their mini 'Dancing Stars.' Then in the evenings we see the participation of candidates in urban gardens and rural villages, with supporters garlanding them in every corner with tremendous cheers and lighting of crackers.
The most remarkable is the campaign of the ruling party. It is amazing, because most of the parties in the ruling front are opposed to the very idea of devolution. Of course there are few opportunists who hang on claiming that they are there to fight for the implementation of certain power sharing. It is not clear whether they want to go beyond what JR Jayewardene proposed in 1987 or not. But in secluded discussions these gentlemen assure the faithful that they are in the government for the sake of devolution and none other. There cannot be any other wish, with Mahinda becoming the most ardent supporter of World Bank guru Mana Mohan Singh. However, it is strange how these gentlemen see, that Mahinda to be more democratic than the opposition leader, Wickramasinghe. Of course Wickramasinghe is no better. But at least, while serving the global capital in the same strength, the latter arrived at a peace agreement and wanted to discuss further devolution as a way out for the Tamil national problem. Still the truth is,within the government apart from these lefty gentlemen who have really lost track, all others including the Sinhala war hero Mahinda, are against the devolution set up.
The JVP is fuming that some in the government are thinking of devolution. In fact as far as they are concerned the greatest crime of the present government is the surreptitious tendency to link with devolution. JVPers are not much concerned with the plight of the people immersed in economic disaster; nor about the enslavement to global capital. What is bothering them primarily is the tendency to yield to a political solution. In spite of red banners and pickets the JVP remains the most reactionary Black Angel. However they are very keen to get some foot hold in this business of provincial councils. With their antagonism to the idea of devolution, I remember well, as elected members of WP council they participated and made a significant contribution to strengthen the PC setup. Thus they indirectly confirm that these councils are useful and beneficial to the people. Their hate for devolution and provincial councils arises out of pure Sinhala chauvinism. They cannot stand Tamils, Muslims and Christians and local communities participating in power mechanism.
In Colombo district elections, more than any thing the validity of devolution will be the primary concern of the people. It is a district full of Tamils, Muslim, Christians and other smaller communities. At the same time it is the red base of the Sinhala racist petty bourgeoisie. UNP did well in the past because off the faith of Tamils, Muslims and Christians that it is more tolerant than the SLFP. But in the recent past, particularly after the last presidential elections UNP did not stand up for the rights of minorities as expected. Many have turned away and looking for an alternative. This is where left could benefit if they could agree to a left party. Within the UNP, sudden anti Wickramasinghe group has developed with a chauvinist platform. Rukman, a descendent of the founder of the UNP has taken the ancestral sword into his hand to chop the head of the present leader. He talked loudly but how powerful is he. ? In any case the clamor of this guy has send shivers to Tamils and Muslims who think that the UNP is their safe house. On the other hand all those who are carried away by the chauvinist campaign of the government are delighted by Rukman the man; another Parakramabahu from Bothale Walauwa to rescue the landed gentry from the unscrupulous post modernist Ranil Wickramasinghe! Rukman has created a mini war inside the UNP to imitate the true battle taking place at Mulative jungles.
In Mulative, it is claimed that still nearly 200 thousand people are committed to face the last struggle. Here in Colombo in this mock battle how many are prepared to die for Wicky the great!