COLOMBO:Despite the failure of astrology and charms to deliver the desired results in many cases, Sri Lankan politicians continue to base their decisions on astrological predictions and use occult instruments like charms and amulets to achieve their ends.
Because Mahinda Rajapaksa became Lankan President for the first time in the election held on November 17, 2005, number ‘8’ came to be considered ‘lucky’ for him. He then made it a point to hold subsequent elections on days adding up to ‘8’. Indeed, he won the next Presidential election held on January 26, 2010 and the parliamentary polls held on April 8 the same year.
But Rajapaksa’s gamble with “8” failed in the 2015 Presidential election. To the surprise of most Lankans, the most powerful President in Lankan history was trounced by dark horse Maithripala Sirisena in the Presidential election held on January 8.
The parliamentary elections, which followed, were held on August 17 ( adding up to 8). But once again, Rajapaksa’s “lucky number” failed to click. His dream of coming back to political center-stage as Prime Minister lay shattered.
Despite publicly declaring that he has lost faith in the occult, Rajapaksa is still wedded to it. He always has in his hand a talisman made of gold and a charmed amulet dangles from his neck. The latest addition is an “elephant hair” bangle.
Explaining his failure to make it to the Presidency in January, Rajapaksa said that his astrologer had given him the wrong date and his rival the correct date!
Prior to the successfully concluded 2006-2009 Eelam War IV, the Lankan armed forces used to launch operations at astrologically auspicious times despite failure after failure.
According to former Indian High Commissioner Lakhan Mehrotra, President R.Premadasa used to make his wife, Hema, sit through cabinet meetings because her stars were better placed that his.
As no major decisions are taken without their advice, Lankan astrologers have to tread warily.
In 2009, Chandrasiri Bandara was arrested for telling in his TV show, that President Rajapaksa would soon be replaced by his Prime Minister, D M Jayaratne.
Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena, who told Rajapaksa to hold the Presidential election on January 8, went into hiding after the results.