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Who'll it be? Our man or the alien

Ranil or Rajapaksa - the question lingers in everyone's mind, writes PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2005 20:22 IST

Though the countdown for the November 17 Presidential election has begun, the question remains as to who would be the next President.

Opinion polls conducted by professionals and impressions, during personal visits to politically important areas over the past two weeks, depict a conflicting picture.

While surveys done by professional pollsters predict a close fight, if not a win for Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party (UNP), personal visits to the field indicate decisive support for Mahinda Rajapaksa, the candidate of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

A visit to the North Western and North Central Provinces of Sri Lanka last weekend, showed that the Sinhala-Buddhist community, which dominates Sri Lanka, was backing Rajapaksa, while minority communities like the Muslims, Christians and Indian Origin Tamils, were backing Wickremesinghe.

In the rural out backs of Anuradhpapura, Polannaruwa, Matale and Kurunegala, Rajapaksa is seen as a man of the Sinhala-Buddhist masses, a true representative of their type, a person who reflects their hopes, aspirations, concerns and fears. In other words, he is seen as "their man", giving full credence to his catchy campaign slogan "Ape Mahinda" (Our Mahinda).

First Published: Nov 07, 2005 16:17 IST