Posted on April 17th, 2012

By  Gomin Dayasri

 United National Party is neither United nor National; Party provides the only credible alternative to the UPFA/PA which held Presidency, undisturbed for 18 years- those born in 1994 when Kumarantunga assumed power are now adults exercising the franchise! Years on, public perception are- with a government fast losing its peak popularity- UNP is incapable of ousting the UPFA. Is it a belief more than a reality? Underrated UNP acquires a horrific image in the public eye- a Leader who regulates the party and faces defeat till eternity- a fact or myth?

 UNP carries the most dedicated following in its fold (which applauded Mahinda Rajapakse for overcoming terrorism but reverted back to the UNP seeking good governance) but the leadership soothe the opinion of an alienated Colombo Society (Colombians) failing to appreciate the mood of the people in designing policies to attract  multitudes. Worse, notwithstanding multiple losses at every election!

 A mystifying political party that does not change its jockey though satisfied the man on the saddle cannot bring home a trophy to display in its heavily populated achievers glass chamber. Can the UNP wait till the green grass on which the leader trots his horse turns to pulp? The reason put forth to justify, is the absence of a more suitable candidate. “ƒ”¹…”Anybody but Him’ has turned into a “ƒ”¹…”No-One is as Good as Him’. This comes from a Party that exports “talent” after an election to the ruling Party by defections; yet cannot find a replacement for a habitual loser.

 Ranil Wickremasinghe is a dream leader of the Opposition for the Government-a perfect democrat that accepts defeat gracefully at elections following classical parliamentary traditions. Wickremasinghe is a true democrat in the genuine mold. To blame him alone for the lapse is faulty; its a result of UNPs’ perennial problem of being more “ƒ”¹…”International’ than “ƒ”¹…”National’- entrenched  in a warped culture of living down its middle name.

 UNP officially pronounced it’s against foreign interventions but behaved as a holder of a power of attorney for the West after Geneva 2012-except for lone Sajith Premadasa. By word or act, UNP failed to stand up for the country in the hour of defeat. Obviously,  playing politics to discredit the Government but the reading of the tremors on a seismometer show they were busy pressing doorbells on Embassy Street than feeling the pulse of the people. When the country was under siege by foreign forces UNP failed to reveal itself as being positively nationally oriented-often read as collaborating with the enemy. Being tagged as pawns of the West does not help to buy votes locally. UNP is best equipped to engage the West without falling at its feet.

 People after long dominance of the PA/UPFA, still see the UNP as a party that stands against the national aspirations. They spoke of peace in the face of terrorism jiving to the tune of the international community with the encores from the Colombians while Mahinda Rajapakse walked away with the glory of having vanquished the terrorists with the use of arms: Colombians joined the government leaving the evergreen to the UNP. In a comedy of errors, UNP withdraw Ranil Wickremasinghe from the Presidential race and sought a man of war to contest the election!

 UNP has never recovered from the tidal wave of the moral tsunami that struck them in 1956 when our people gave vent to their cultural persuasions “”…” a civilized passion in times, good and bad. It surfaced with the visit of Arahat Mahinda when he trod Mihintale and extended to a time when Giravapattuwe Mahinda in 2012 ascended to Presidency. The Sinhala Buddhists have morphed into a Moral Majority that the UNP has never been able to seize, overwhelmingly, except in 1977 when J.R.Jayewardane targeted the electorate on economic issues with his cry of an eight pound packet of free cereal that never materialized after the results were announced. Without the bulk Sinhala-Buddhist vote, a workable majority is beyond reach.

  Next time, election will be fought on the lines of a National Triumphal as against an Economic Downgrade? People in times of hardship forget the past, of war-time achievements, unless the nationalistic fervor is recreated.

 Jathika Hela Urumaya took 10 members to Parliament and showed the way the Religious Right functions. The faithful of the faith have been eager participants in every social upheaval in public affairs of Sri Lanka. A constituency attracted mainly from the affluent middle class urban entrepreneurial class, formerly firmly in the UNP column, drifted to the JHU and became embedded to the UPFA after the war. Rajapakse in times of a cultural crisis pulls the strings to project Ranawaka and Weearawansa as his militia from the saffron belt. Otherwise they are firmly gated in the backyard. .

  That is the vote UNP never regained – its policies cater more to an international audience whose thinking is diametrically opposed to national aspirations. In living memory when did UNP last give leadership to a national cause? How many times did the views of the UNP run horizontally to the wishes of the international community? War victory aroused patriotic feeling in the country which the UNP failed to engage because of its adherence to the thinking of the international community which doused the loyalty of the patriotic following in the Party making them feel helpless. UNP is left holding a majority in the westernized metropolitan Colombo only.

  Government will drum to the rhythm on national aspirations challenging the UNP to react; for the sake of opposing UNP will respond, mistakenly posing on an anti-national stance and falling prey to the trap of being branded as treacherous. That would attract those capable of accelerating another downfall for the UNP and irritate the patriotic forces within the party to loose another election.

 UNP often helps to uplift the UPFA by saying or doing something stupid when the Government is peddling fast downhill. It is a leadership that remains out of alignment with the aspirations of the people. UNP peaks in the fine art of defeating itself.



  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Aberrant leadership of Ranil Shriyan Wickramasinghe in UNP that was once patriotic and national but is now reduced to a servile and vocal outfit beholden to foreign powers and agencies that are hellbent on destablizing Sri Lanka. Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s manifesto is always paving the way for mortgaging Sri Lanka to international community, World Bank, IMF, NGOs and the multinational corporations.
    Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe has lost several elections. Under Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s ‘leadership’ the UNP has several of high-profile MPs, hundreds of other elected officials, and millions of voters.
    Since its existence UNP – now being led by Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe — was responsible for all the antiTamil and antiMuslim agendas in Sri Lanka. It was UNP that was responsible for making more than a million Tamils speaking Sri Lankans who toiled to build the economy of Sri Lanka vote-less and stateless.
    Almost all the antiTamil programmes were initiated and implemented by the UNP. It was the UNP leaders who were in Jaffna directly organized and supervised the torching and burning of the Jaffna Library which was one of the most violent examples of ethnic biblioclasm of the last century. Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinhe was a cabinet minister when the 1983 antiTamil pogrom was initiated by the UNP government led by his uncle President Junius Richard Jeyawardene. Under principles of parliamentary democracy guided by collective responsibility Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe too is guilty of the crimes committed against the Tamil speaking Sri Lankans in 1983. It was when Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe was a Cabinet Minister; the UNP Government initiated war as a solution to the ethnic conflict. Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe was a member of inner UNP Cabinet that organized and supervised military operations against the Tamil speaking Sri Lankans.

    Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe ordered and witnessed the execution of hundreds of innocent young men from Kelaniya area including prominent human rights lawyer Wijedasa Liyanarachchi who died as a result in September 1988, in his illegal torture centre maintained by the police Counter Subversive Unit (CSU) headed by Douglas Peiris who was directly responsible for the torture at the Batalanda Housing Scheme, during the height of the People’s Liberation Front (JVP) insurrection between 1988 and 1990 which was confirmed by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry. Since Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe committed these horrendous crimes in Batalanda, Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe had to abandon not only his electorate of Biyagama, but also the Gampaha District. Since these murders Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe is an MP without an electorate – thanks to his uncle Junius Richard Jeyawardene’s constitution. Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe recruited a convicted killer and hardcore criminal Gonawala Sunil as his secretary. Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s secretary Gonawala Sunil went around killing and intimidating people Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted to be silenced. When Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe was the education minister, officials at the education ministry used to call Gonawala Sunil as Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s husband. Gonawala Sunil is one of the earliest criminal gang leaders in Sri Lankan underworld. Gonawala Sunil had major connections with the UNP government at that time. Gonawala Sunil was convicted of the murder, and was serving in prison when he was famously released on a presidential pardon given by President Junius Richard Jayewardene just before the 1982 presidential election. Gonawala Sunil was involved in the massacare of 53 prisoners at Welikada Prison in 1983 and gang raping a 14 year old girl in 1982.

    Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s corruption in “LH Plantations” has been highlighted with excruciating details by his very close friend Mangala Pinsiri Samaraweera. Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s very close family members own several media outlets which promote Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe and help to prolong Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s political survival.

  2. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe has lost several elections. Under Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s ‘leadership’ the UNP has lost several of high-profile MPs, hundreds of other elected officials, and millions of voters.

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

  4. AnuD Says:

    Old UNP is no more. Present UNP is leaderless and working for everybody except for the majority in the country. UNP is very much pro-international.

    UPFA is no different. JRJ gave 13th amendment. MR is completing 13th amendment slowly and with the LLRC, now Tamils have 13+.

    What happened to the people who fought the war, their parents, wives and children. Next to NOTHING. Some are in the jail and humiliated. Other had to leave the country.

    Who actually lost ?

  5. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

  6. Dilrook Says:

    Don’t discount the UNP.

    What matters in the election are 4 sets of variables.
    V1 – UPFA voters of 2010
    V2 – UNP voters of 2010
    V3 – The change between
    V4 – The change to/from others (JVP, etc.)

    What has the gtovernment done for 2010 UPFA voters in addition to 2010 UNP or TNA voters?
    This is what will determine the increase or decrease of UPFA votes percentage from 2010 to 2015.
    In my view, the answer is in the negative which means UNP is going to increase its fold.
    UNP need not be “national” to win the next election as its modern vote base is not “national” or nationalist. Colombians anyway vote for UNP and disgrntled UPFA voters are also going to vote for it irrespective of policy.

    In 2001 UNP was most anti-national but people voted for it over economic disparities. If UPFA wants to win the 2015 election, it should shower in more economic benefits to 2010 UPFA voters. They should get the bulk of the peace dividend which is now going to TNA and UNP voters.

    A simple game of mathematics, voter segregation, voter targeting and positioning for voters. The government has so far blundered pretty badly. UPFA voters vote for their comparative economic benefits, not for political solutions or pompous victory celebrations.

  7. sena Says:

    Who is kidding whom. “People revert back to UNP for the sake of good government”. May be this is in terms of Sri Lankan standards. The extreme undemocratic nature of JR and Premadasa governments together with the introduction of culture of violence and massive corruption completely changed the outlook of a hitherto peaceful society. A new economic system alienated the rural people and drastically lowered the living standards of middle class which especially affected the Sinhala people significantly reducing the average family size. the most significant aspect is once the opposition came to power, not a single offender was brought to justice but they started their own period of abusing power and plundering public property. Like Raygamaya and Gapmpalaya, this is the nature of the Sri Lanka politics. The opposition is simply waiting their turn to abuse the power with a wink to the outgoing bunch. As usual in the current parliament except for a few JVP MPS, not opposition MP challenges the wide spread corruption and lawlessness prevailing in the country which is already threatening the sovereignty of the country due to a huge deficit in balance of payments.

  8. AnuD Says:

    Sajith’s patriotism is only until he gets power. He had talked to LTTE Tamils living overseas asking help from them to become the leader. Now, he sides with the govt just to undermine Ranil Wickramasinghe. Sajith does not open his mouth very much because then people will understand who he is.

    The govt knows, If General Fonseka comes he becomes a formidable opposition. That is why he is the jail.

  9. Leela Says:

    Fonseka was no doubt a war hero but he is no way an astute politician. Remember, his support base had been a mixture of ace capitalists and hard communists, nationalists and separatists. They all aimed at nothing but defeating Rajapakse. Had Fonseka won, he knew no wiles to keep that multicolour swap shop together in a democratic environment but in a gun culture. In a few months, association would have gone for a six and the whole country would have been t a chaos. And Fonseka would have become a dictator. The fact that all his former allies abandon him now proves my point beyond doubt. I feel sorry but Fonseka is fool and a dead duck.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    This line says it all : “UNPs’ perennial problem of being more ‘International’ than ‘National’- entrenched in a warped culture of living down its middle name”. UNP, under RW, is like young Skywalker in Star Wars, has completed its metamorphosis into some sort of Darth Vader outfit, serving the ‘international’ only ! Local folk are only labor/voter, nothing much more for the current leader of the UNP. Modernisation & Mechanisation for the labor force, revamping the University subjects taught for job skills here and abroad, are only just words for RW ! RW’s favored past time is running circles round the present government.

    Under Pres.MR, some good things are happening for labor, such as removing the tea estate line rooms from British Colonial days (Modernisation) with labor living outside.

  11. sena Says:

    Leela, The question is why he is in jail, specially when those who accused him of wrong doing are doing the same offences at thousand times larger scale

  12. Vis8 Says:

    ………….. no wonder, Mr. Wickremasinghe is being paid his wages, security and transport by the government! He is a good opposition ‘leader’ to have.

  13. douglas Says:

    The question that is raised is “Can we Sri Lankans look upto the UNP as the next alternative to UPFA”? This has to be answered having looked at the present policies that this party is following for the betterment of the country and its people. It is child’s knowledge to answer this question in the negative and also adults’ comprehension to say,” not even in the far distant future”. The leadership together with the hierarchy in their day to day behaviour as Politicians are displaying a worse than “Montessori” type of analysis of the national and international issues affecting the country in general and citizens in particular. So no wander the general membership and the voters in the country are distancing from this once glorious political party. It is true that there isn’t a single member of the hierarchy to take over the reins and lead it to operate as a “True Opposition” in the Legislature and show the general public it is the “next alternative” to run the country. At the going rate UNP will never achieve that status because both the urban and rural bases have eroded and fast loosing to minimum.

    The irony is that this leadership and his selected army of henchmen sitting in high positions never ever feel and evaluate the “pulse” of the people, mainly because they are not “feeling belonging” to the country and its’ citizens. However they think that in a crisis situation,by organizing protest rallys carrying “Pathola” and breaking “pots and pans”, dashing cocanuts on the streets is a big show of power and capacity to solve the problems. This type of showdowns and public utterances have degenerated the party to a very low ebb without realizing that they are further eroding its stature and recognition as a responsible Opposition that could be trusted and relied upon for the future.

    In short this party – UNP is now in par or even below that of JVP,TNA and other such “communal”,religious” (Tribal”) parties in the country. That is how we Sri Lankans feel and assess . What a pity?

  14. Lorenzo Says:

    UNP is a dead ASS.

    No future. Even if SLFP is doing badly it is better to FIX those problems (get rid of the Silvas) and move on than bring the UNP FULL OF SILVAS!

    In SLFP Kudu/Mervyn Silvas are the EXCEPTION.
    In UNP Kudu/MervynSilvas are the NORM!!

    Don’t forget Kudu/Mervyn Silvas WERE BORN IN the UNP WOMB and crossed over!! So the mother of Kudu/Mervyn Silvas is the UNP!!

  15. Fran Diaz Says:

    How about a National Government for Sri Lanka ? At least the stupid, wasteful & senseless infighting will have to stop and the Peoples’ need properly taken care of. Could some one with knowledge of the topic expand on this possibility ?

  16. douglas Says:

    My comments posted above on 18-4-12 has been given the thmbs down by two readers. I suppose you are still the strongest supporters of this “Grand Old Party” who would defend it and its policies even at this stage.

    So since you don’t agree with me on the facts stated, I would invite you to come forward and present your views in these columns and educate me to change or support you (which I will never do unless there is a strong case made for it).

    I await your views in support of your party. Thank you.

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