Sirisena’s choice: SLFP “hand” or Queen’s hand?
Posted on April 21st, 2015

H.L.D. Mahindapala

On January 8th, 2015 the nation elected Maithripala Sirisena believing that he would make a difference. His main task was to preside over the constitutional transition from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. To impress that he was not craving for power he promised to be the one-term caretaker president who will be happy performing his ceremonial duties.

So far he has failed to do his main task of changing the presidency into a parliamentary democracy as promised. Even the Supreme Court has knocked him back on this issue. And he is not  quite sure whether Parliament too would go along with him to make the necessary constitutional changes. But, in the meantime, he has gone as far as he could by handing over  substantial powers to the two biggest failures in post-independent political history — 1. Ranil Wickremesinghe and 2. Chandrika Kumaratunga.

This is like handing over a plane packed with Sri Lankan passengers to two mentally incapacitated pilots: no one can trust either one of them even  to go to the toilet leaving the other in the cockpit. Sri Lankans are now flying in a plane piloted by two risky operators with no licence of competence to drive even a bullock cart. Their earlier experiments in flying the CFA and P-TOMS planes were shot to pieces in mid-air by their trusted peace partner, Prabhakaran.

Then as now, both posed as if they alone possessed the magic formula to solve the nation’s problems. Then as now, the Tamil leadership led them up the garden path. It was easy for the Tamil leadership to hoodwink both Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga because neither of them could  read the prevailing weather conditions nor the ground situation.

When leaders fail it is  the people who have to  pay for their stupidity. The cost of paying for the failures  of Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga was too much for the people to bear. Subsequently, they got even with them by refusing to hand over power to them. They had to piggy-back on the shoulders of Sirisena to creep into the seats of power they occupy now.

Hopes rose again in the hearts of people when Sirisena won the presidency. But that was short-lived. The people who had high expectations of  the new President delivering his promises suddenly discovered that they were lumbered with the same old tired faces of bankrupt Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga. They found that instead of landing in the promised political nirvana within 100 days they were taken for the biggest ride in their lives.

There is no doubt that Wickremesinghe and CBK were good at plotting and overthrowing the Rajapakse regime. Having accomplished their first step of grabbing power their next mission should have been to prove that they are better than the Rajapakses in running the state. But within the vaunted 100 days” they have come a cropper.

Maverick Rajiva Wijesinha was the first minister to resign from the Wickremesinghe – Kumaratunga regime. He is putting Wickremesinghe, his first cousin, through the shredder exposing the hypocrisies, incompetence, double-standards and the general failure to live up to promises, written and unwritten, of the My-3” regime.

Tissa Karalliyadda too resigned because he could not work with the UNP with a clear conscience, he said. He was also pressured by his constituents who were asking him to show the difference” promised by the new regime.

The finger points  directly to Wickremesinghe –Kumaratunga combo who are usurping the powers of the President. The President too is responsible for the failure because he is letting things happen  under his nose by giving his silent nod. He gives the impression of running a paralyzed presidency. Mainly he seems to be inhibited by his obligation to Sir” Wickremesinghe and Madam” Kumaratunga. He is still paralyzed by the mindset of January 9 when waves of gratitude  swept him off his feet. He still feels obliged to  Sir” Wickremesinghe and Madam” Kumaratunga, his manipulative minders, for maneuvering  him into the Presidential seat.

Unfortunately, President’s misplaced sense  of gratitude is making him look like a puppet in the hands of these two manipulators. The tragedy is that the President has handed over his powers to two discards who do not have the mandate to wield power at the center. Neither of them represent the people in the sense that Sirisena represents the people as their chosen representative to lead the nation. People have vested power in him and they expect him to do fulfill his job as promised. But he has gone the way of all flesh. The difference (when-a-suck) he promised has not materialized though the 100 days are up. Failure to transfer power to Parliament is one thing. It is even excusable considering the obstacles that stand in the way which they should have seen before making promises.

But his failure to deliver the clean administration – the primary slogan on which he rode in to power – is inexcusable. He has appointed  his brother to the top job in Sri Lanka Telecom. His son is now a permanent fixture in his foreign entourage. His son-in-law is planted in the Ministry of Defence. His daughter is also shown as an item in the Foreign Ministry. So was he faking the sadhu part he put on to win the votes on January 8th ? Is  he not guilty of violating the fourth precept in the Panchaseela?

While he is tending his  domestic patch with paternal care he has handed over powers of ministerial and administrative appointment to Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga. None of these has enhanced the credibility and viability of the My-3” regime. Sirisena has lost the initial advantage of being a viable alternative to the Mahinda Rajapakse regime.

The major  political steps taken so far carry all the hallmarks of events manipulated by the two discards behind the throne. Realizing his inability to hang on to power, even with Kumaratunga and the President behind him, a nervous Wickremesinghe is now begging foreign governments to help him. (See his article in Japan Times – April, 8, 2015)

Wickremesinghe’s over–reliance on his Western friends to rescue him from impending disasters is as short-sighted as his reliance on his former partner, Prabhakaran, to end the war and restore peace. The West is cock-a-hoop that there is a regime in Sri Lanka now willing to be their puppet state. John Kerry crowed that Sri Lanka is a success story of their foreign putsch. But can Uncle Sam and the Brown Sahibs of India save Sirisena’s Sir” and Madam” if push comes to a shove? For instance, when Sir” was Prime Minister under Madam” President Wickremesinghe went round the world with a begging bowl. He even met George Soros. How much did he get from them?

It is apparent that the sudden rush of blood to Wickremesinghe’s  head, with high expectations of all the presidential powers falling into his lap has made him lose his balance. He has unleashed his wrath on Australia and even threatened to shoot Indian fishermen. He named journalists who had supported the former President Mahinda Rajapakse – a veiled threat to free media. He even threatened to strike down businessmen who are in the opposite camp. But he was brought down to earth when he was defeated on the floor of the House – his bear pit where he has to fight for survival. Bluffing, as usual, to dissolve Parliament if he was defeated in the  House – a power which he does not possess – he could do nothing when the part of the SLFP that is not with Sirisena threw out the critical finance bill.

As for Chandrika Kumaratunga, she was defeated long time ago by the then Chief Justice who ruled that she can’t extend her term by changing the date of her swearing in. She represents nobody except her bitter hate of the Rajapakses. Ever since power was transferred to these two political twins, the vaunted Yaha-pala-naya” has been running on the hate politics of Chandrika Kumaratunga and the usual incompetence of Wickremesinghe. And the people are made to pay through their noses for their mega million failures.

In his typical bumbling way, Wickremesinghe blundered by appointing Arjuna Mahendra as the Governor of the Central Bank much against the wishes of President Sirisena. This was meant to be his big move to win the confidence of the global investors and save the economy. But it landed him flat on his face. The most sensational headline-line grabbing event under Wickremesinghe so far has been the appointment of his nephew” as Governor of the Central Bank. Arjuna Mahendra, the garrulous, self-promoting abominable show-man, who refers to his political  patron  publicly as Uncle Ranil”, has no qualms about dropping big names to market himself as a high-flyer in global  financial circles. He was boasting about his connections  with Raj Rajaratnam, the insider trader who was exposed in Vanity Fair, as having financial connections with the LTTE. Wickremesinghe and his side-kick Kumaratunga have a penchant for picking agents allied, directly or indirectly, to the LTTE to run their show in Sri Lanka. Wickremesinghe picked Mahendra and R. Paskaralingam and Kumaratunga picked her right-hand man in London, Vasantha Raja, when she was hiding from the JVP, to run the SLBC. Not surprisingly, none of them last long. Besides, both Sir” and Madam” were in cahoots with Prabhakaran, signing futile agreements to end the war, when all evidence pointed to the fact that an inveterate war-monger, addicted to brutal violence, can never deliver peace.

They are doomed to fail because they refuse to learn from their past. With the mega-million bond scandal which came crashing down on Wickremesinghe’s back, nephew” Mahendra has not only ruined the image of yaha-pala-naya” but blown to smithereens his Uncle’s” theory that power in the hands of the prime minister in parliament is better than power in the hands of the president. Wickremesinghe took over the Central Bank and the Department of Census and Statistics from the President promising to clean up both institutions  and make the bastards honest”, to quote a famous Australian political expression. But Wickremesinghe today is faced with (1) his favourite nephew” answering questions at the Bribery Commission on the biggest financial scandal since the Central Bank was established in 1950 and (2) charges for violating emigration laws in Singapore, his home base.

But this hasn’t fazed Wickremesinghe. He is quite happy to carry on with his co-partner, Kumaratunga, playing their ends against the middle of Sirisena. They are happy to let Sirisena do the ceremonial part (example: shaking the ungloved hand of the Queen abroad) while they usurp his powers at home. So far the President has not woken up to the fact that the two manipulators are pushing him into a corner from which he cannot get out. They know that jointly they can push Sirisena into any corner of their choice, both at home and abroad, though Sirisena can’t do the same to them unless he gets Mahinda Rajapakse to join him. He is dependent on Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga because he has abandoned  his inherited and natural political base in the SLFP. Until the results of the coming elections are known Sirisena will be puttee in  the hands Wickremesinghe-Kumaratunga duo.

He has managed to triumph so far because the Southerners have seen only the pirith noola” on his right hand and not the Don Juan Dharmapala hiding inside his upsaka national costume. Like Dharmapala he is elated that he had been anointed by the Queen in London. Right now he is lost between the al-lay-, val-lay, pal-lay, gum-may roots and shaking the (ungloved!) hand of the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Sirisena, when he came home, told the SLFP top-rung, with glee and  pride, of how he shook the ungloved hand of the Queen. He is mistaken if he thinks that he has won  over England with a handshake. It is not the Queen’s hand that is going  to save him. It is the hand” of the SLFP that lifted him that will save him.

Queen’s handshake is only a cosmetic exercise. It is her ministers and her loyal opposition who will fix Sirisena. Predictably, they have treated him as a colonial boy mesmerized by the ungloved hand offered by the Queen. Both David Cameron and Ed Milliband  have told the Tamils that they have given a piece of their mind to Sirisena and asked him to behave. Following the political  dictates  of  the Tamil lobby they have sworn that they will make  Sri Lanka pay for crushing the deadliest terrorist outfit  of the world.

So where does the Queen’s handshake leave  Sirisena? Can he rely on that when he has the hand” that gave him everything he has in life?  He grew up with the SLFP hand” – the symbol that gave hope to a fallen nation. It is also the hand that lifted him up from the al-lay, val-lay, pal-lay, gum-may roots to what he is today. It is the hand of Bandaranaike that lifted the nation from the depths of colonial oppression and denial of the nation’s heritage. The choice before Sirisena is simple: will he genuflect  and kiss the hand of the Queen or rise with the historic  hand of Bandaranaike that defined the nation and the way to the future?

Sirisena’s hundred days are over. Time is  running out. The SLFPers who owe their gratitude  to the historic legacy of  Bandaranaike are out of his  fold. Sirisena is paralyzed because he still feels he is  obliged to Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga, the renegade daughter who climbed on the coffin of Bandaranaike to claim votes but not his historic legacy. But where can his Sir” and Madam” take him?

The questionable role of Sirisena has divided the SLFP into (1) the S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike camp allied to the Left-wing and (2) Wickremesinghe camp aided and abetted by the Right-wing Chandrika Kumaratunga allied to the American-Anglo-Indian camp.

But the people voted for Maithripala Sirisena who has yet to fulfill his promises. For instance, he promised never to betray the heroic al-lay, val-lay, pal-lay, gum-may youth who fought for him and protected him when he was Acting Minister of Defence. His loyalty to Wickremesinghe-Kumaratunga combo can only take him back to CFA and P-TOMS, or revised versions of these failures. This is also what the Queen’s ministers and the Indian sahibs want.

According to a TV report in Ada Derana Sirisena has confessed to overwhelming pressures coming from the West and India. He has said that he can’t give in to what Modi wants nor can he  not give into them. One can understand the pressures he is facing. But not his inability to decide on his course of action.

This is an issue that needs another essay. But for the moment, it  is suffice to say that the answer is in his hands. As President he has to answer one question :  what does he want? We all know what India and the West wants. We also know what Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga wants. What we don’t know is what he wants.

The people elected him to defend the nation. Mahinda Rajapakse won the  heart of the nation because he defended the nation against foreign interventions. Whose heart can Sirisena win if he gives in to what the West, India, Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga want?

17 Responses to “Sirisena’s choice: SLFP “hand” or Queen’s hand?”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    Thank you again Mahindapala for another fine article. But I think Sirisena has realised that the two evil manipulators have not only pushed him into to a corner, but also got him by the balls for signing an agreement with them to give them the ultimate power. If he goes against them the deal will be exposed.

    His pride over that un gloved hand shake shows his inferiority complex. Same goes with “sir” Ranil and “madam” Chandrika complex. A leader with no self respect and no self confidence is no leader at all.

  2. Christie Says:

    Namaste: Come on man; Coolie Sirisena or has been chosen to suck Lingum. Governor Chandrika of Indian Empire has been asked by Lingums to chose Ranil the Kankani. The writer is another cover up man for Indian Empire. He only see bad West, Anglos, US but not his Hinduthwa. Jai Hind

  3. Ben Silva Says:

    Sri Lanka is now run like a lunatic asylum run by inmates.

  4. vyasan Says:

    Good analysis of the current political situation in Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahindapala!

    Would you allow me to translate it into Tamil and post it in a Tamil website newspaper?

    I am a Tamil from Jaffna, currently living in Canada.

    Thank you.

  5. Christie Says:

    Namaste: “On January 8th, 2015 the nation elected Maithripala Sirisena believing that he would make a difference.”. What rubbish, Indians in the island divided the Sinhala vote and then the Indians voted in the Coolie. Jai Hind

  6. Kumari Says:

    When I was young, I thought there were real problems for the Tamil community that needed solving. Now with the way RW and CBK are going about creating dis-unity among the two communities, I have come to the realisation the problems are created by so called leaders (both Tamil and Sinhalese) to meet their selfish political aims. I hear Vigneswaran’s two daughters’ in law are also Sinhalese. HLD says Arjuna Mahendran (a Tamil) is RW’s nephew. So what is the problem? We don’t have problems, you don’t have problems. So let people get on with each other.

    The problem actually is with you (Modi, RW, CBK, Vigneswaran etc. etc.). The only issue I can think of is, that you all are suffering from a massive inferiority complex. Please don’t create problems where there are no problems. Go to a good counsellor, the problem is not outside, it is in you.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    HLD, fine piece here – thank you !

    ——-

    HLD says that the new President has handed over substantial powers to Ranil & CBK, two FAILED politicos. How can the same President be trusted to preside over the transition of power from a Presidential system to Parliamentary system ?

    Isn’t it TRUSTWORTHINESS & CONFIDENCE IN THE TOP PEOPLE that is lacking here ?

  8. SA Kumar Says:

    Kumari
    When I was young, I thought there were real problems for the Tamil community that needed solving.- I thought as well also I partly agreed with you we do not have problem but we do not have proper system in place since 1948.
    What We need is simple all Tamil need to give opportunity to learn Sinhala & Bhuddisum ( every Govt Tamil school should have this facility) with out any publicity.

    If this happen I am 100% confident all TNA members loose their election deposit in need election !!!!

  9. Independent Says:

    I believe it is not late for the president to take charge, shredding all the disable and corrupt thieves even if they have brought him to power. Being born to criminal does not make one a criminal. It is his action that will make him a criminal or good person.
    Buddha said “najajja vasalohoti najaja hoti brahmano ” . Therefore MY3 should take charge and kick out CBK to purify SLFP and move forward alone.

    He was reciting during elections the verse,

    Na hi verena verani ,
    sammantidha kudacanam,
    averena ca sammanti
    esa dhammo sanantano

    Verse 5: Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law.

    But now ne must recite a different one.

    Carance nadhigaccheyya
    seyyam sadisamattano
    ekacariyaram dalham kayira
    natthi bale sahayata.

    Verse 61: If a person seeking a companion cannot find one who is better than or equal to him, let him resolutely go on alone; there can be no companionship with a fool.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    I agree with Kumar. Tamils ought to learn Sinhala & Buddhism.
    Also remove Tamil language as a National/Official language to stop Tamil illegal migration from Tamil Nadu.

  11. SA Kumar Says:

    Also remove Tamil language as a National/Official language – here come trouble
    for We-Hela Demilaya Tamil & Saivam also Koddiya flag ( not VP’s flag) flag is our soil like you Bhuddisum & Sinhala .

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    Kumar,
    Your ‘Koddiya’ Flag should be raised in your true homeland of Tamil Nadu. Take the Nilgiris – they are lovely !

  13. Lorenzo Says:

    Independent,

    The FOOL is Maru Sira himself.

    Assuming office the fool said Na hi verena verani. We can see that in action.

    ANYONE who goes against MARU SIRA is immediately taken to prison, his wife punished, his children punished, etc. But the BIG CROOKS who asslick him are promoted and saved.

    Today he plans to JAIL GR after a BS court hearing. BR is already in jail. Then they plan to question MR and jail him too. Using this as a THREAT he plans to get MR’s support for the election.

    I worked for Maru Sira with HELL OF A LOT OF insults, abuses, wasting money, time, banned from websites, even banned from facebook. But when I made a simple request to LEAVE war heroes, army HSZs and MR alone (going by his promise Na hi verena verani) they turned against me!!

    ONLY 3 traitors stand in the way of progress for SL.

  14. Indrajith Says:

    Lorenzo,

    You say “ONLY 3 traitors stand in the way of progress for SL”
    Are they Sirisena Hitan, Thoppigala Ranil and Chandrika Perumal?
    I’d like to add one more to this list. Mr. Manahara’s husband.

  15. ranjit Says:

    I hope Sira will come to his senses and realize the best way to go forward is to go along with MR without any condition as MR is the only person who can trust at this very moment rather than those two wicked couple Ranil/CBK(UGLY DUCKS) MR should give some lessons how to Govern and teach him how to respect the people who saved this land.
    Before he told MR “MAHARAJANO” and now HORA. He should apologized for those comments because MR is one of the patrons in S.L.F.P. and the most popular politician we have today.

    Millions worth if these articles can be published in Sinhala and Tamil and distributed among the citizens because of the valued contents it has. People don’t have a way to know the truth because of media restrictions forced by this evil Govt. Thanks to some TV channels who aren’t afraid of the Govt who show Opposition activities here and there. We saw illegal housing units come up in Wilpattu sanctuary constructed by the Muslim community from the orders of a Govt Muslim Minister. By all means we should not allow these things to happen. Strong leader needed to stop all the illegal activities danger to our sovereignty. Let’s hope something good will come up in the talks between MR and Sira. I wish Sira say to MR ” Sir please take over I am tired and fed up with these two devils CBK & Ranil” and leave for good.

  16. SA Kumar Says:

    Your ‘Koddiya’ Flag should be raised in your true homeland & fall homeland We-Hela Demilaya have only one Home Land that id Mother Lanka ( Lanka puri – King Ravana’s Time)

    once 13A & 6A fully implemented Koddiyas flag & Lion flag flag together when can replace by lotus flag !!!

  17. Fran Diaz Says:

    Kumar,

    Tamil Homeland is in Tamil Nadu.

    You can hang the wet ‘saram’ with “Koddiya’ flag too. And pls don’t believe in epic fairy tales from far off times – Greek mythology is same.

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