THE NEW CONSTITUTION & THE MODI-WICKREMESINGHE PLAN
Posted on May 24th, 2017

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka Courtesy The Daily Mirror

 Why is the PM anxious to move the new Constitution in three months? Why does he intend to push for a new constitution instead of an amendment which addresses the ethnic problem? Why does he want to do either without concentrating on economic growth and effective governance?…My sling is David’s.” -Jose Marti, 1895

The print media seems to have missed the most vital news story of the past week. TV news cameras caught the PM disclosing in Mannar that Indian Prime Minister Modi had urged him, President Sirisena and ex-Presidents Kumaratunga and Rajapaksa to solve the ethnic problem by bringing in a new Constitution without delay.

The PM said that this will indeed be undertaken, and a draft document presented in a week or two, with a draft Constitution ready for adoption in two or three months.

The making of a new Constitution in any country is a supremely sovereign act except in an invaded and occupied State such as Iraq after the 2003 invasion or Ceylon prior to Independence.

Why is the PM anxious to move the new Constitution in three months? Why does he intend to push for a new constitution instead of an amendment which addresses the ethnic problem? Why does he want to do either without concentrating on economic growth and effective governance?
I would guess that the PM wants to have the new Constitution ready before the MoU between the UNP and the SLFP comes up for renewal in August. If the SLFP opted to go its own way, the PM wouldn’t mind so long as they’ve done the job that he and CBK had in mind, of endorsing the new Constitution in Parliament.

Even if they do not, he can use the new Constitution as a magnet to bring the TNA into the Government, and a wedge to split the official SLFP, a splinter of which will join him to solve the ethnic problem”.

Since such a realignment will not, in and of itself, guarantee a two thirds majority, the PM is probably counting on the JVP, the currently misguided Communist Party, and more cannily, the Mahinda-led Joint Opposition or at least its SLPP (‘Pohottuwa’) component, to support him on the abolition of the Executive Presidency and thereby, in effect, the new Constitution itself.

What the new Constitution really hopes to achieve are the political and economic aims of the PM and his allies and the economic and strategic aims of his foreign patrons. What is the underlying intent and core content of the new Constitution? What is its very logic?

Lenin said that politics cannot but be the concentrated expression of economics”. The new Constitution is but the superstructure, the edifice of the new political economy for Sri Lanka that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has outlined, most specifically in the Mega MoU” or Umbrella MoU” (As the Delhi media called it) with India, and Prime Minister Modi has placed in macro-perspective in his Vesak speech to this country’s power elite, both Government and Opposition.

Prime Minister Modi’s Vesak oration outlines it:

We believe that free flow of trade, investments, technology, and ideas across our borders will be to our mutual benefit…In infrastructure and connectivity, transport and energy, we are poised to scale up our cooperation…Our development partnership stretches across nearly every sector of human activity such as agriculture, education, health, resettlement, transport, power, culture, water, shelter, sports, and human resources…The economic and social wellbeing of the people of Sri Lanka is linked with that of 1.25 billion Indians.”

The quality Delhi press has spelled out the important implications of the proposed ETCA:

Geethanjali Natraj, professor at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, points out that …the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), which is expected to be signed by the end of 2017, will enhance trade in services, investments, and technology cooperation with India’s five fastest-growing southern states — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. Given these states’ proximity to Sri Lanka, the ETCA would leverage Sri Lanka’s unique geo-strategic location, which is at the crossroads of major shipping routes…” (Aditi Phadnis, Business Standard, 16 May 2017, emphasis mine-DJ)

With the free flow of capital, goods, services and labour through ETCA from the powerful economies of the Southern Indian states, national capitalism and the national capitalist class built up from the days of D.S. Senanayake will be overrun.

The new Constitution will dismantle the biggest impediment to the implementation of the Modi vision, which is the existing Sri Lankan State with its strong centre.

It will (a) decentralise power to the provinces, thereby weakening the centre, thus (b) providing unfettered access to foreign capital, goods and manpower, and (c) facilitating the divestiture to foreign powers of the strategic national assets and resources of the country, while it will (d) centralise political power in the hands of the Prime Minister and his allies, the Chief Ministers of the North and East.

Mr. Modi’s dramatic declaration that Whether it is on land or in the waters of the Indian Ocean, the security of our societies is indivisible” adds to the economic and strategic dimension. What the new Constitution does is to enable India, or more correctly the India-US-Japan triad to guarantee its foothold in strategic Trincomalee as per the MoU, by securing its immediate environment, the Northern and Eastern Provinces, through autonomising (i.e. loosening) them from the Sri Lankan State’s Centre by granting quasi-federal powers.

With India’s implantation in the North and East, the new Constitution will turn Sri Lanka into a de-facto confederation within a federation i.e. a confederation of two ethnic zones, the Northeast and South of the island, while the island itself becomes a de facto federal state unit of India.

Sri Lanka’s supine political class –Government and Opposition—seems to have agreed to abide by the neighbouring giant’s rules, neither standing strong like Cuba on the doorstep of the world’s greatest superpower, nor Vietnam on the doorstep of China. The price of unprincipled compliance seems to be that India extends patronage this way, for reinsurance”.

It’s the old protection racket. Does no one care what will be left of Sri Lanka well before 2020, if Modi’s predatory plan works, so long as they or their descendants can wear the crown in what’s left of this shrunken, half-swallowed land?

If India has our entire political class co-opted, the momentum at Galle Face against Indian economic annexation will be turned down, becoming low intensity”.

More: the Opposition to the new Constitutional package at a referendum will be soft-peddled on the grounds of the ‘principle’ of the abolition of the Executive Presidency, and a parallel track or pincer move in collaboration with Mr. Wickremesinghe will be unilaterally undertaken (Once again behind the backs of most JO leaders and Parliamentarians).

Looking back at age 60, I have never been prouder to have supported and worked with President Premadasa who had the guts and principles to openly demand that 70,000 Indian troops leave our soil (Following it up in a written polemic with the Indian leader).

Let me go beyond Premadasa to invoke the words of the finest, most courageous, exemplary and successful leader a small island on the doorstep of a predatory giant ever had:

…this little island will always be a revolutionary wall of granite and against it all conspiracies, all intrigues, all aggressions will be smashed to splinters. And high upon this revolutionary wall there will fly forever a banner with the legend: Patria o Muerte! Venceremos! (Fatherland or Death! We Shall Triumph!)”–Fidel Castro, Closing speech to the OLAS, 1967.

Only People’s Power, spearheaded by an alliance of Labour and Knowledge, i.e. the organised working class (the TUs) and the patriotic professionals, pulling or propelling the vacillating Opposition, will protect our independence and sovereignty.

Our own little island home can be saved from the dreadful fate of disappearing from future history as an independent entity only if we, the people, the citizens, eviscerate the monster of the new Constitution at a Referendum this year or next.

– See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/THE-NEW-CONSTITUTION-THE-MODI-WICKREMESINGHE-PLAN-129475.html#sthash.uryiqpSg.dpuf

17 Responses to “THE NEW CONSTITUTION & THE MODI-WICKREMESINGHE PLAN”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo, Dayan!

    You have finally written an article that I can fully AGREE with!

    Rise and Unite to Defend and Preserve your Motherland, O Patriots of Lanka!

    The ENEMY is at the GATES!

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Sri Lanka is already a federal country since 13A.

    Proposed new constitution will turn it into a confederation (as Dayan says) which is an even loser form of federalism.

    What I disagree is that the proposed constitution will not be passed behind the backs of the JO. The JO is full on board the new constitution via Modi!

    As Dayan himself says, [quote] TV news cameras caught the PM disclosing in Mannar that Indian Prime Minister Modi had urged him, President Sirisena and ex-Presidents Kumaratunga and Rajapaksa to solve the ethnic problem by bringing in a new Constitution without delay. [unquote]

    and

    [quote] Only People’s Power, spearheaded by an alliance of Labour and Knowledge, i.e. the organised working class (the TUs) and the patriotic professionals, pulling or propelling the vacillating Opposition, will protect our independence and sovereignty. [unquote]

    Appreciating these two facts is essential to save the nation. The danger of relying on the JO (which has already agreed with Modi) and vacillating is that the country will be divided and the JO will take credit for it by blaming the UNP and the SLFP for it!

    This is what always happened. The nation came last. All problems ended up as a blame game between political parties. People and TUs will come forward when they are convinced that UNP, SLFP and the JO are all with Modi and are for a confederated Sri Lanka. If they think one of them stands for Sri Lanka, they will rely foolishly on it to save Sri Lanka.

    The enemy is not at the gates; the enemy is inside the parliament.

    Indian plan is obvious. India plans to create Tamil Eelam (Northern Province and north part of Trincomalee district) and Malayanadu (Nuwara Eliya and Batticaloa districts) as two additional South Indian states (bringing the total number of Dravidian states to 7) and create another nation (Sri Lanka) in the island for the remainder.

    As Dayan correctly states, the first economic losers will be traditional UNPers as their businesses will be ruined. People must organise under trade unions, patriotic groups and civil leaders and serve an ultimatum to the JO, SLFP and UNP to stop the process or suffer consequences. All attempts must be made to defeat it before putting it to a referendum. If elected parliamentarians cannot stand up for the people, they are useless. They cannot enjoy rich perks but shield themselves behind human shields when it comes to Modi and India.

    A referendum will show to the world internal divisions we have – the north, east and Nuwara Eliya District supporting the move. That will be used thereafter as their right of self determination to divide the country by another avenue. So a defeat at the referendum should be the last resort.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    We must also be aware how the proposed division massively improves election fortunes of the JO.

    If Sri Lanka is turned into a confederation, the north (with Trincomalee), the east with Nuwara Eliya and the rest will be able to elect their own governing councils with most powers. Even if there is an executive president he will be a puppet. As the JO leader was defeated by the north, east and Nuwara Eliya voters in 2015, his political fortunes will turn immediately under a confederation. Tamil majority areas will elect their own powerful leader while the JO leader will easily win in what remains as Sri Lanka.

    He sure remembers 2005 election which he won thanks to a similar de facto situation.

    This is an unseen danger of the whole situation Modi seems to have perfectly understood. Modi seems to know about Lankan politicians more than Sri Lankans who have unfortunately bonded themselves to political figures.

    If our intention is to save the nation, we must detach from politicians first. Politicians think of their clans and party first. Having detached, we can present a list of demands to politicians. They will get our support only upon fulfilment of those demands. Excuses, bad luck stories and other bogus inabilities don’t work.

    My estimation is the JO will not oppose it as the JO stands to gain most. Surely, the JO will come up with highly believable excuses. I must be proven wrong on this.

  4. Vichara Says:

    Agreed.
    My guess is that the immediate aim of the SLFP MR group is to recapture the SLFP mother party, which is held together by the Eexecutive President MS. With the abolition of the post of Executive President, MS will be out of the scene. Even if MS wishes to contest with a view to become the PM, UNP will not support him against RW. The disappearance of MS from the scene will unite the SLFP under Mahinda.
    Another reason is that under the present political climate and with plantation Tamils dictated to by India the election of a UNP Executive President cannot be ruled out.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    Yes, I agree:

    the ENEMY is NOT MERELY at the GATES;

    the ENEMY is ALREADY WITHIN the PARLIAMENT and the PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE!

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    Regarding your scenario on the JO supporting the NEW CONSTITUTION, I disagree.

    You have forgotten that the JO ultimately depends for its power on its supporters, who are for the most part Sinhala Buddhists.

    Those Sinhala Buddhists will not let the JO support the New Constitution that will sound the death knell of Sri Lanka as ONE Nation. It us FOLLY to think that the JO leaders can act independently of what their voter base wants.

    NO! When PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, the JO would not DARE oppose the wishes of its supporters. The INTEGRITY of Sri Lanka will be a greater consideration for them than their loyalty to any politician. Even MR would do well to remember that, and the PATRIOTS will see that the JO as a whole does as well.

  7. Dilrook Says:

    @Ananda

    Your scenario works only if two conditions are met.

    1. JO leaders believe voters will come to know and react.
    2. JO leaders put voters before themselves.

    Don’t forget there will be bad consequences including assassination if they go against India as Bandaranaike and Premadasa. They will not take the risk. Some voters can be easily fooled partly due to ignorance and partly due to distraction (economic problems).

    The same applies to Sirisena and UNP too. Though not as patriotic, they too know these deals mean their end. What choice do they have? They too have fooled their voters.

    Sadly the JO has deserted its voters many times already in just 2 years. May Day to Modi is the latest. Previous tricks include not voting against 2 budgets collectively, not opposing OMP bill in parliament than disrupting it and letting it pass, not participating in no confidence motion against Ravi as a collective and participating in various parliamentary select committees that formed these constitutional proposals.

    India has studied Sri Lanka very well. 13A is not sustained by Indian pressure. It is kept by politicians! A self-sustaining gimmick. Competing to become Modi’s best darling is the main driving force for all 3 parties.

    This is why we are talking about this matter. This is why Dayan correctly puts the burden on the people.

    However, once passed, the JO will absolutely destroy the UNP-SLFP government in election platforms and invoke extreme patriotism. It is part of the same conduct. But once back in power, it will ratify the new constitution and Indian deals.

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    OK, we disagree on how much the JO will listen to its voter base, and how much pressure those patriots will exert on the JO and on MR.

    Let us wait and see. I for one, will do everything I can to see that these leaders respond to the message of the Patriots.

  9. Christie Says:

    Bamaste: Another Administrative Ordinances for the Colony of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) of the Indian Empire. Jai Hind.

  10. janakic Says:

    The biggest issue right now is the new constitution. It is imperative that we defeat the referendum. We need to avoid unsubstantiated irresponsible allegations such as the JO supports the new constitution with Ranil and Sirisena. This is like the golden horses and islands in Seychelles. JO never wants the Presidency abolished. Yes Mahinda met Modi. This does not mean he supports Modi’s expansionist agenda, ECTA or another scheme inimical to the country. It is called diplomacy. It is to have a good neighbour in
    case JO comes to power. Mahinda managed India and China without selling or giving large tracts of our land on long term leases. Mahinda is a honest patriot and has a skill set required to steer the country in the interest of the country. Give the man a fair go. We must all unite to save the country from the referendum.

  11. Leela Says:

    I fully agree with janakic: What I cannot understand however is why learned people here construe Mahinda-Modi meeting as an approval of Modi’s devious scheme by Mahinda. True, not just Mahinda, most JO mps aim to recapture official SLFP at the first opportunity. However, to suggest that JO in toto would go for that grab at the cost of our motherland in my opinion is insane. May be, Tissa Vitharana and the old left would appease Tamils at any cost, but Weerawansa, Gammanpila, Gota and et cetera would never even consider it. I have this gut feeling that RaNil is a bad strategist and a looser

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    MR should leave the SLFP (CBK’s ‘dayadeya’ party) now. CBK/RW pair (the UNPATRIOTIC PAIR) rule the roost now, with MS as the visible front puppet. MR is the only truly trusted leader along with some other Patriots. He is the proven past Patriot.

    INDIA called the shots in the past. Now all the cats are out of the bag and most people know the role INDIA played in the past, especially during the Cold War times with the illegal 13-A, the most divisive law, and even the trumped up 1983 Riots.
    What INDIA really wants is the deep sea water port, Trinco, as they have only the somewhat acceptable Andra Port for deep sea water vessels such as container cargo vessels. Right now, about 80% of the INDIAN heavy cargo passes through Lanka ports (per Kamalika Pieris’ articles to L’web).

    The other great danger, apart from the New Constitution, is the BIM SAVIYA LAW. We heard that large parts of the Uva-Wellassa area are already sold to foreigners (per Lanka C-News). Can someone give us more details on this ? This law must be deleted.

    The forces against Lanka are massive. Can’t help feeling that we need “many MRs” to ease Lanka out of this mess …..

  13. Dilrook Says:

    The right approach to defeat this madness is for people, civil leaders, trade unions and others outside the political system to organise as Dayan says. Then demand UNP, SLFP, JVP and JO to do what is needed to defeat it. Inaction is equal to supporting it.

    The JO will never openly support the openly federal constitution. That is suicidal. Instead there is a risk of them not doing enough to defeat it or keeping out of the affair. JO must remove MPs supportive of federalism including Vasu, Tissa, etc. than be influenced by them.

    There is no Joint Opposition outside the UPFA. At least not yet. Most JO MPs are reluctant to leave the SLFP and therefore bound by SLFP party hierarchy. This is a bitter fact that must be accepted. In the past, all MPs who didn’t toe the party leader’s policy had to leave it. On the other hand, those who opposed it but opted to stay eventually refrained from opposing when it came to matter. If this trend changes in 2017, that is unprecedented.

  14. Dilrook Says:

    @Fran

    If Mahinda leaves the SLFP, that is a huge enabler of actively opposing the proposed openly federal constitution. Not otherwise. SLFP as a party supports it (subject to conditions). Nationalists cannot take a chance on this matter of the possibility of signalling left and turning right. The nation is too vulnerable and precious.

  15. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    With the Podujana Peramuna (currently ked by GL), JO MP’s need not toe the SLFP line in order to get nominated to compete in the next election.

    With the Podujana Peramuna registered as a bona fide political party, the SLFP will be hard put to deny JO members nominations knowing that wI’ll only strengthen their competition.

    For the JO the decision whether to go the whole-hog supporting the Podujana Peramuna will depend on whether Sirisena and his SLFP faction caves-in to JO demands.

    If it does, then the Podujana Peramuna will have served it’s purpose.
    If it does not, the Sirisena SLFP faction will die an natural death at the hustings. In this case, the UNP May, or may not win, thecelections; it will depend on whether the current momentum for the Patriotic cause can be maintained.

    If how the Yampalanaya is responding to the floods, and the current WITCH HUNTING of Ganasara Thero and the BBS, in collusion with foreign media, gives any indication of the future, the Yamapalanaya is digging it’s own grave.

    Gnanasara will become the Veera Puran Appu of modern times in the eyes of the Sinhala Buddhist!

    As Christ, nailed to the cross by his enemies on mount Golgotha is reputed to have said “Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

  16. Dilrook Says:

    @Ananda

    So far, SLPP is the wrong vehicle for the purpose for 3 reasons.

    Leadership

    SLPP already has its leaders – Basil and GL both rejected by the election process. While Mahinda can become its leader, what about Dinesh, Wimal, Udaya and other key crowd-pullers? They have rejected SLPP. This is why they refrained from going to its inauguration. It is utterly foolish for them to work under Basil who is a political junior to all of them.

    Policy – Federalism

    Sirisena has no control of them as they are not SLFP members. They naturally want leadership roles and refuse to work under Basil and GL. Other popular federalists and quasi federalists like Vasu, Dayan and Tissa may be willingly join them (Basil and GL are known federalists) but not the nationalists in the JO.

    No one knows the stand of the SLPP on any of these! While ambiguity helps avoid taking a stand initially, it has to take a stand at some point.

    SLFP On Last Legs But Not Dead Yet!

    SLPP is the perfect alternative for Mahinda as Basil is its leader but not for a viable opposition. Even Gotabhaya has refused to join it. Sirisena seems to know this well. That is why he allowed JO to be recognised as a distinct entity within parliament but refuses to allow the same place to the NFF of 5 MPs led by Wimal.

    If one day SLPP contests alone with known federalists in them, Dinesh, Wimal, Udaya, Weerasekera, etc. are better off contesting alone (my preference) or with the SLFP (as shocking as it may sound and not my preference) if it has fewer number of federalists and award them leadership positions. We have seen worse political shocks in the recent past. One is the JVP-PA tie up in 2001 (short-lived) and 2004 done by Mangala and Sirisena with Wimal leading the JVP. In fact, JVP led by Wimal demanded Sirisena (or Kadirgamar) to be the next PM and not Mahinda! Dinesh and Udaya have also jumped a few times.

    Sirisena knows SLFP will be dead if SLPP contests with Mahinda. So he will come to many compromises to kill the SLPP at all cost. As executive president he will extensively (mis)use his power to selectively pardon those found guilty of corruption, etc. if they support him and impose civic disability on those who don’t support him. Mahinda used this power in 2007 to bolster his party in parliament using COPE identified corrupt MPs.

    If you carefully listen to their speeches, they don’t bash Sirisena (apart from some name calling which is nothing in substance). Please listen again to Wimal’s Galle Face thundering speech. It is not just against “Hitang” and “Hutang” but also against anyone else who may welcome Modi – a definite and subtle threat to Mahinda as well. Like Mahinda, they too keep their options open!

  17. Fran Diaz Says:

    What if :

    * We VISUALISE a future WITHOUT political parties & even political personaliteis, where able and PATRIOTIC leaders get together to lead the country and prosper in peace & security ?

    * We EVOLVE, as far as we possibly can, our own systems of politics, economics, religious/spiritual thinking to suit our small country ?

    * HELP all our People to be AWARE, GROW & EVOLVE, and help the world too in whatever way we can without compromising the security & safety of the People of Sri Lanka ?

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