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A face-saving exercise?

Politicians are adept at marketing anything to anyone, even air-conditioners to the Inuit. During elections, they 'sell' even the image of their leaders. Posters appear defacing the wayside walls, signposts, bus halts etc. with the grinning mugs of various political nonentities in the company of national leaders. The latest ruse they have invented to flout election law is to put up posters with pictures of the Head of the State together with their faces and numbers even after the conclusion of election campaigns.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered that all the posters containing his picture with those of candidates in the fray be removed forthwith. He may have taken that decision for his own sake, unable to bear the shameful sight of himself in the exalted company of the scum of the earth in the garb of politicians. Even garbage trucks and wayside refuse bins carry posters with his face. What an insult!

Meanwhile, Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has urged the public to be wary of voting for unsavoury elements contesting PC polls. One couldn't agree with him more. Such elements need to be kept at bay at any cost for the wellbeing of society. There have been numerous instances of people returning rowdies and racketeers to Parliament and other political institutions. And in so doing they have made the greatest disservice to democracy. But political leaders including the President and the Opposition Leader must be blamed for nominating such dregs for elections. The onus is on them as national leaders to properly sift candidates who seek nominations and field only the deserving.

Had the two main parties desisted from promoting crooks, cattle thieves, extortionists, rapists, robbers, killers and other underworld figures such as Gonawala Sunil (UNP), Soththi Upali (UNP), Beddegana Sanjeewa (SLFP) and Wambotta (SLFP), this country would have been a much better place to live in. Some of the paragons of virtue in the JVP pontificating to others on democratic values and good governance also have a criminal track record. Their involvement in murder and armed robbery during the reign of terror in the late 1980s is only too well known. They are the least qualified to impart lessons on morality.

There is no reason why President Rajapaksa should fight shy of imposing a blanket ban on all election posters in public places in keeping with the election law that the Elections Commissioner finds it extremely difficult to implement owing to resistance from political rowdies. The ubiquitous rash of posters also amounts to visual pollution and one wonders what the Environment Minister has been doing about it. The President must give his ministers a jab each in the ribs once in a way and remind them of their ministerial responsibilities.

Else, the President's order to the IGP to remove posters with his mug will amount to a mere face-saving exercise.

Politicians are adept at marketing anything to anyone, even air-conditioners to the Inuit. During elections, they 'sell' even the image of their leaders. Posters appear defacing the wayside walls, signposts, bus halts etc. with the grinning mugs of various political nonentities in the company of national leaders. The latest ruse they have invented to flout election law is to put up posters with pictures of the Head of the State together with their faces and numbers even after the conclusion of election campaigns.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered that all the posters containing his picture with those of candidates in the fray be removed forthwith. He may have taken that decision for his own sake, unable to bear the shameful sight of himself in the exalted company of the scum of the earth in the garb of politicians. Even garbage trucks and wayside refuse bins carry posters with his face. What an insult!

Meanwhile, Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has urged the public to be wary of voting for unsavoury elements contesting PC polls. One couldn't agree with him more. Such elements need to be kept at bay at any cost for the wellbeing of society. There have been numerous instances of people returning rowdies and racketeers to Parliament and other political institutions. And in so doing they have made the greatest disservice to democracy. But political leaders including the President and the Opposition Leader must be blamed for nominating such dregs for elections. The onus is on them as national leaders to properly sift candidates who seek nominations and field only the deserving.

Had the two main parties desisted from promoting crooks, cattle thieves, extortionists, rapists, robbers, killers and other underworld figures such as Gonawala Sunil (UNP), Soththi Upali (UNP), Beddegana Sanjeewa (SLFP) and Wambotta (SLFP), this country would have been a much better place to live in. Some of the paragons of virtue in the JVP pontificating to others on democratic values and good governance also have a criminal track record. Their involvement in murder and armed robbery during the reign of terror in the late 1980s is only too well known. They are the least qualified to impart lessons on morality.

There is no reason why President Rajapaksa should fight shy of imposing a blanket ban on all election posters in public places in keeping with the election law that the Elections Commissioner finds it extremely difficult to implement owing to resistance from political rowdies. The ubiquitous rash of posters also amounts to visual pollution and one wonders what the Environment Minister has been doing about it. The President must give his ministers a jab each in the ribs once in a way and remind them of their ministerial responsibilities.

Else, the President's order to the IGP to remove posters with his mug will amount to a mere face-saving exercise.

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