Caste is a sleeper issue in Sri Lankan elections. We don’t much talk about it, but it’s there in the marriage proposals and serious decisions, like the Presidency. Politics and indeed much of the post-colonial elite has been dominated by the Govigama (farming/land-owner) caste. Both Mahinda and Ranil are Govigama. Fonseka, by contrast, is from the coastal Karawa caste.
This is sometimes referred to dismissively as a ‘fisher caste’, but it’s actually a somewhat elite coastal thing. The Govigamas are more inland, and the Govi ideal is probably Kandyan. Please comment or correct me here, I’m mixed and no little or nothing about caste.
In speaking with some oldies, however, they have brought up the caste issue. Sometimes it’s the first thing they bring up. It won’t show up on any polls, but that sort of clan identification may show up when people actually vote. What do you think? Does caste matter anymore?