Ranil – the incurable sleep-walker
Posted on March 18th, 2010

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s entire political career is comparable to that of a man who takes a strong dose of laxative after dinner and then takes a sleeping pill before going to bed. Needless to say, the mixture of the two ill-conceived and contradictory prescriptions invariably ends in total disaster.

 For instance, he agrees to take a dose of peace by swallowing the Norwegian laxative packaged in the CFA and then he takes the worst kind of sleeping pill of lulling himself and the nation into a false sense security before going to bed with the sworn enemy of the nation who not only had no intention of keeping any part of the agreement but also was waiting to stab him in the back eventually. In short, he has been sleep-walking throughout his doomed career without his knowing that the strong dose of laxative is running down his legs, forcing even his own followers to run away from him.

 All this makes it plain that his politics consists mainly of stunts and not viable strategies. Consider, for instance, his latest stunt to start his election campaign in Jaffna. This is like R. Sampanthan, the leader of the Tamil National Alliance, starting his election campaign from Matara. Does Wickremesinghe think that he can sweep the north and the east by starting his election campaign from the north? What is the message he is hoping to deliver to the rest of the nation through this stunt, particularly at a time when the political temperature of anti-separatist politics associated with the north is at its peak? Also, at a time when the most rational and realistic Jaffnaites are running away from Nanthikadal why is Wickremesinghe sleep-walking into that watery grave? 

 It is pretty obvious that he hasn’t learnt one bit from the sea changes dominating the post-Prabhakaran polity. Everything around him is changing and he is staying put in the belief that the world will change according to his gospel. He has been pinning his hopes basically on the two non-productive geographies: the north and the West. He refuses to recognize that the only geography that can save him is in the south. He has paid dearly for this blinkered view and he will pay again on April 8.

 Appeasing the north and the West were his main objectives when he blindly gambled by signing an agreement with Prabhakaran. What did he get in return? Leaving that aside, he should know by now the ethno-centric voting pattern of the north since Donoughmore Commission introduced universal franchise in 1931 has never changed.

 By and large, peninsular politics has been determined by mono-ethnic politics. If, after all this, Wickremesinghe still believes that he can get the Tamil people to vote for him you begin to wonder whether there is anything between his ears other than thick layers of wax which invariably makes him tone deaf to the sea changes swirling around him. His campaign posters have juxtaposed his face with that D. S. Senanayake, Ranasinghe Premadasa, J. R. Jayewardene etc., hoping that some of the glory of the past national patriots will rub off him. But which one of them would commit the anti-national blunders that follow Wickremesinghe like his shadow?

 If he looks back he will also realize that the Jaffna Tamils rejected the most genuine champions of their cause from the Left who were committed ideologically to back them all the way. They were happy that Dr. N. M. Perera, Dr. Colvin R. de Silva, Pieter Keuneman ( and now Comrade Vikramabahu Karunaratne)  were fighting for them facing all odds, risking their political futures. But the Jaffna Tamil failed to reciprocate in kind. They stuck to mono-ethnic extremism that was embedded inflexibly in the peninsular political culture.

 Besides, Wickremesinghe’s own political experiences should open his eyes to the ingrained political culture of Jaffna which will not change in the immediate future. In fact, in his usual blundering way, he went beyond the Left to concede their demands for power and territory. The CFA was just that: granting power and territory to the fascist from Jaffna. The gratitude he got from the north was a big kick in his pants.

 So what makes Wickremesinghe think that the Jaffna Tamils are going to make a revolutionary leap to embrace the Right-wing of the south led by a leader who holds the world record for losing elections? His decision to open the election campaign in Jaffna may help him to write a report to the Right-wing IDU that he is a liberal fighting for the minorities. But how many votes have the IDU even in Jaffna?

 In the post-Prabhakaran era old dogmas are giving way, slowly but surely, to new realities and perspectives like the TNA dropping the cry of Eelaam. But does this mean that Wickremesinghe is going to be the beneficiary of these changes? Fat hope he has if he thinks that he can get the margin he needs from the north or the east to form the next government.

 All the winning cards “”…” power, people, prestige and popularity “”…” are with Mahinda Rajapakse. Even if Wickremesinghe drives a ten ton truck into Mahinda’s body politic he will still fail to make the slightest dent. But he talks glibly of forming the next government. Not surprisingly, Tissa Attanayake, his lieutenant general, is also talking like Wickremesinghe and Gen. Fonseka. Tissa says that he will throw out the Mahinda Rajapakse within six months of the UNF forming the next government. It is rather difficult to understand why he is uttering this nonsense, particularly because he has not changed his name “”…” at least not yet “”…” to “Pissu” Attanayake.

 They know that they don’t have a ghost of chance of winning the coming election. Once again Wickremesinghe is well positioned to lead his party into defeat. There’s going to be another parliamentary election in 2015 with President Rajapakse still riding high as president. As I said earlier, he is “the indispensable man” for the next decade. Wickremesinghe’s last hope is to do a “JR”: hang on doggedly hoping that an opportunity will come his way some day. But by the time of the next parliamentary election is held in 2015 the political culture of the “Mahinda Chintanaya” would have taken root and what can Wickremesinghe offer as an alternative? More powers to the north and the east?

 “Pissu” Attanayake is still talking of handing over police powers to the north and the east. Mahinda Rajapakse is standing firm on this issue and says that there will be only one Army, one Navy, one Air Force and one Police under one flag. In his interview with the Strait Times (March 18, 2010) President Rajapakse  explained that he has learnt good lessons from the Indian experiment. Here’s his reply to journalist Ravi Velloor: “As for police powers, knowing my people, I would say, please do not devolve that power. See what happened when Sonia Gandhi went to Uttar Pradesh (and Chief Minister Mayawati, who is opposed to the Congress party, denied her permission to enter her constituency). They are fighting for control of the police. You know, chief ministers are chief ministers.

“I have learnt from India. You think I would make the same mistake? See what happened in Mumbai (when terrorists attacked it). It took eight hours to fly in the National Security Guard commandos because they needed the requisite permission,” said President Rajapakse.

 This clearly represents the difference between sense and nonsense. The people can relate to the pragmatic sense of Rajapakse which has been a winner all the time. So what chances have “Pissu” Attanayake and sleep-walking Wickremesinghe to win the election even in 2015?

6 Responses to “Ranil – the incurable sleep-walker”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Hey Mahindapala ! I love your description of the end result, having self prescribed a heavy dose of Laxative, after dinner, and then taking a sleeping pill. I practically figured out the disaster in the real perspective, not metaphorically though. I broke into a fit of laughter, when you said somewhere, the the laxative effect was running down the legs, and his friends are running away from him. You emphatically pointed out the malady. It is nice to see you blending your rhetorics with amusement. I love reading your input, for the beautiful Mother Lanka. Alles Gute.

  2. Sita Perera Says:

    Mahindapala, the Great Story Teller, has come back with yet another masterpiece! (one cannot wait for the next, as each of his articles is better than the former!). His attack on Ranil is somewhat akin to Kaluwitharana hammering sixes one after another against the All Time Great McGrath. The term “Pissu” Attanayake is hilarious, but I thought it is somewhat crude, given that credibility of Tissa is not too bad as opposed to his leader and some of the heavy UNP stalwarts, not excluding Karu Jayasuriya, Ravi Karunanayake and Jayalath Jayawardane.

  3. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Mr. Mahindapala:
    You are correct in aserting the “medical” conditions of Ranil who became a CROWN prince in the UNP with the help of LTTE. LTTE killed all the UNP leaders who were SENIORS to Ranil.

    I hope the Nordic backed peace deal was done in support of LTTE for the “kind” services of the LTTE.

    You compared the FEDERAL system of India. Why cannot you think the same system exists in many countries like Canada or USA or Australia.

    In India the Police powers are with the STATE governments. It is not illegal for a Chief Minister to bar any one entering the state under him/her jurisdiction. Further Sonia Gandhi is an Alien to many Indians and she hold no government positions to demand or challenge Mayawati who is elected by the people.

    Your questions about the support of the leftists for the rights of the Tamils is right but how about the support for Fonseka by the same people? Did Fonseka support Eelam?

    You have singled out the Jaffna peninsula and forgot EAST, HILLS and the Muslims during the presidential election.

    Why cannot you learn something about the FORCES who are against EELAM or separation among Tamils?

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Sheriff puer ! Tum podem extulit horridulum. STERCUS TAURI.

  5. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    “We all have to beg the forgiveness of the Tamil people for all the pain we had inflicted on them,” Ranil Wickremasinghe in Jaffna on Friday 19th March 2010.

    Ranil Wickremasinghe, further said that all the military camps in Jaffna peninsula will be scrapped except Palaali Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camp, “High Security Zones are no longer necessary in the peninsula and the people evacuated from these places will be immediately resettled in their own properties if UNP becomes the ruling party in the general election,” he further said. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has pledged to set up an effective resettlement program in the North by removing all unnecessary high security zones while keeping only the essential ones in strategic areas. He said his party has also finalized a plan to develop the Palali Airport into an international airport.

    • All HSZs except Pallali will be scrapped and the owners of the properties, be they Muslims, people from Vanni or Jaffna, will be resettled in their properties immediately.

    • A Commission of Inquiry will be established and it will immediately begin to find what had happened to the persons gone missing in Jaffna peninsula during the present government.

  6. Raj Says:

    I agree ith your analysis Mahinda

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