Ra-Wick’s defensive gamesmanship in a Party that is neither United nor National.
Posted on August 2nd, 2011

R Chandrasoma

Political parties in Sri Lanka are seldom models of democracy or good governance. We are speaking here of the inner workings of the party “”…” not its widely-touted public message. While loudly declaiming in public on the rights of citizens and of equality under the law, party stalwarts have always played a nasty game of one-upmanship.  No quarter is given to rivals in the incessant struggles to reach the top positions in a hierarchically structured party organization. In Sri Lanka, the departure from fair-play in  the dynamics of political parties is epitomized by the fact the the Party Leader  inevitably becomes the Emperor who denies rights within the party to anyone who dares to challenge him (or her) in matters of precedence or overarching executive power. Thus  J R Jayawardena “”…” who  spoke volubly on dharmishta or the rule of the moral law in public governance – brooked no challenge to his absolute leadership. The Bandaranayaka duo “”…” Mother and Daughter – were no different. They assumed feudal seigneurial rights of overlordship in party matters while loudly denouncing this stance as a public policy.

 The lugubrious fate of Mr Ranil Wickramasingha “”…” the curremt embattled leader of the UNP “”…” epitomizes this conflict between public policy and the realpolitic of battles for party leadership.  As things stand in the UNP, false alliances, deceptive overtures, bogus promises and the lure of high office are “ƒ”¹…”goods that are traded’ to secure a safe position for the leader. His highest strategy is to be precariously at the apex through intrigue and craft while seeming to be regally aloof from the vast turmoil his selfish acts engender. This Machiavellian agenda has its rationale. Let us note,  first, that the “ƒ”¹…”United’ affixed to the UNP is currently a great joke, The members of this once-powerful party are only united in their opposition to the Ruling Party. They are disunited in practically everything else. As to the “ƒ”¹…”Nationalism’ proclaimed in their party standard, the less said the better. Their current leader has carried the standard of Anti-Nationalism ever since his advent into political power and his sustained efforts to make Sri Lanka kneel before the Western Overlord are too well known to be detailed here. In intraparty alignments, Ranil Wickramasinghe has always favoured as his acolytes and close friends those mentally conditioned to resent Sri Lanka’s prosperity. Others favoured are those  markedly sympathetic to the break-up of Sri Lanka at the behest of the Racist Tamil Movement. It is our great good fortune that this diehard Kalu Suddha never achieved absolute power.

The current imbroglio over the leadership of the UNP has a two-fold rationale “”…” first, the underlying claim of Wickramasingha to seigneurial rights of over-lordship in the tradition of his uncle – JRJ.  Democracy is just a playful label stuck to a re-calcitrant bedrock of aristocratic exclusivity. The thought of being expelled by a popular vote is anathema to those accustomed to hereditary privileges.  Secondly,  it is the long decline ot the party as a whole to a state of apathy regarding national concerns – given the political reality that the principal opposing party (the party led by Mr Mahindha Rajapakse ) is the undisputed standard-bearer of the national cause. The UNP long ceased to play such a role and the political damage is irreversible. Ra-Wick’s political decline must be seen in this sad light.

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