What was tougher for Mathripala Sirisena the new president of Sri Lanka? Winning the election or concealing the strategy from Mahinda Rajapaksa? When the election process in Sri Lanka was set in motion none had expected the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
However on D-day it started to become clear that Rajapaksa was about to be defeated, thanks to a well coordinated move by the opposition to field Mathripala Sirisena as the Presidential candidate.
Indian officials watched closely the election process in Sri Lanka and one officer explained to OneIndia how Sirisena and his men had to constantly strategise while avoiding the snooping eyes of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Beating Rajapaksa at his own game
The official pointed out that Rajapaksa was never over confident about his victory. At some level he knew that he would be defeated as the public perception against him had changed a great deal.
He felt the need to keep a 24/7 surveillance on the opposition. He had a dedicated team to do so and for a while he felt as though it was working. The team reported to him what the opposition was doing at all times.
However Rajapaksa was outsmarted by the opposition who never discussed any strategy in the open. Their phones were tapped and hence they avoided making any calls or even sending text messages.
Alternative methods of communication
Sirisena and his team had a closed door meeting a few months before the elections. Over there they discussed that there would be no public meetings or phone calls/text messages discussing strategy. At the meeting it was said that Rajapaksa would do everything to keep tabs on them. He would use all his power and might to ensure that the opposition was caught on the backfoot.
The opposition decided that they would use services such as skype to communicate with each other. This was not under the radar of Rajapaksa's men and the opposition managed to convey amongst each other the crucial aspects leading up to the defeat of Rajapaksa.
Rajapaksa had become desperate
There was one time however when Rajapaksa suspected that there was something fishy going on. With absolutely no discussion over the phone and every intercept shooting a blank, he had even sent his brother Basil to meet with Sirisena.
Sirisena however told his brother that he was very much on Rajapaksa's side. Thanks to this not once did Rajapaksa get a wind of the major democratic coup that was being staged against him.
When the hopes faded
However the opposition was in for a rude shock when they got wind of the fact that Rajapaksa was even planning a military take over. After the name of Sirisena had become public as an opponent to Rajapaksa the latter saw defeat staring into his face.
The opposition had however undergone some very nervous moments when Rajapaksa called on the army heads to discuss a military take over. The opposition felt that Rajapaksa may just be able to stage a coup.
However the non-cooperation on part of the army came a major relief to the opposition. They knew that they had put the worst behind and the election process would go on as per schedule.
The Indian officer says that Rajapaksa had tried every trick in the book to cling on to power. He was clearly shaken up the moment Sirisena's name had cropped up. However after the army refused to listen to him , he realized that his game was up.