Defeat of Ranil is a win for UNP
Posted on September 26th, 2019

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The long-drawn and futile battle of Ranil Wickremesinghe to deny Sajith Premadasa, his deputy, the rightful place in the presidential race finally ended yesterday. Ranil fired all his ammunition to eliminate Sajith. But Sajith fought back strategically to outwit Ranil and end the 27-year-old reign of a cardboard leader who led the UNP to nowhere. The inner struggle for power was between the popular will of the UNP represented by Sajith and Ranil’s one-man will backed by the Working Committee packed with his hencmen. In the end the popular will won. Sajith’s victory will mark the end of Ranil and the beginning of a new era for the UNP. After President Ranasinghe Premadasa who reinvigorated the UNP with the grass root forces the UNP fell into the hands of D. B. (Deaf and Blind) Wijetunga. UNP never recovered as a viable political entity in the post-Premadasa era which was dominated by Ranil.

Two factors led to the steady decline of the UNP after President Premadasa: 1. the LTTE decimated the promising leaders like Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake; 2. the misguided and the failed leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe  who thought he could swim upstream running counter to centuries of Sinhala-Buddhist history. The only right decision he made in his entire career was to back President Premadasa. But in his mulish way he decided to go against the Sajith wave rolling in.  When the formidable forces within the UNP and outside were militating against Ranil’s kleptocratic kakistocracy — and swinging as an unstoppable wave towards Sajith — his moral, political and pragmatic duty should have been to bow out gracefully. Instead he waited till he was kicked out of the presidential race once again.  As usual, he never could read the signs of the times.

Sadly, he will carry to his grave the disgraceful record of being rejected by his own Party not once, not twice, but three times. For the third time the UNP has rejected him as their preferred candidate to lead the Party to fight the big political battle for the Presidency. Once again the UNPers have conceded that he was a born loser who could never win the trust of the people to be their leader. In the past they kept him as the leader of the Party partly because there was no one in the bankrupt UNP to give better leadership and partly because he had manipulated the party machine to beat any opposition and hang on to power. So they had given him chance after chance to prove that he can deliver. But he failed. 

 His desperation to hang on to power is pathetic. Even when the tide was going against him for the third time his last move was to lay down conditions, hoping to retain power by curtailing those of Sajith. But it was a futile counter move.  Sajith refused to yield to Ranil’s underhand conditions to retain his grip on power. Ranil should know that two tigers can’t hunt in the same mountain. In any case, surrender was inevitable because as Presidential candidate, or in the event of his becoming President, Sajith will have greater power than Ranil as the leader of the UNP. From now on Ranil will have to play only the second fiddle. From now on Sajith will have the upper hand.

Furthermore, the political forces that matter will turn to Sajith , if he wins the presidency, and not to the leader of the UNP, if Ranil retains  the Party leadership.  Sajith as President will command greater power than Ranil as the Party leader. Besides, there is the possibility of the Party sticking to the constitution of the Party and granting the Party leadership to Sajith. However, if Ranil retains the party leadership he will, in his usual crafty ways, try to create two centers of loyalty. But he will lose hands down to Sajith who will invariably be the central magnet of greater power. .

Ranil’s last resort will be to win the Premiership at the parliamentary elections.  He will then use his newly gained power as a foil to the President. But the chances of Ranil winning a majority in Parliament are as likely as him winning the presidency in the next election. The mathematical calculations that go to decide a parliamentary election are totally different from that of a presidential election. According to statistical analyses, Mahinda  Rajapakse has a lead over Ranil as of now.

As things stands now, Ranil is doomed. He has lost his chance in the Presidential election. And his chances of winning the Premiership are zilch. He must recognize even at this late stage that his used by date is over. The Party had given him enough chances to prove himself as a leader. The UNP has been very patient and generous to him. But what has he given the UNP, except defeat and ignominy?

Sajith’s victory is more than a personal victory over a crafty manipulator who had tried to undercut him all the way. His victory is symbolic representing that of the new generation of UNPers. They are tired of the old generation led by Ranil. The wave that swept the rank and file and lifted Sajith into leadership indicates a total rejection of the old leadership. Ranil’s in particular. The voting public was not so much against the UNP as against the Ranil. The coming of Sajith has washed away some of the sins committed by Ranil. The disillusioned pro-UNPers can now go to the polls with some hope.

Though not defined explicitly Sajith seems to be a better alternative to Ranil. He seems to be keeping a safe distance away from the pro-West, pro-Indian line almost akin to that of his father. Part of the appeal in Sajith personality – his policies are yet to be spelt out – is his closeness to the grass roots. His housing programs are reminiscent of his father delivering goods and services to the villages and the grass-roots. Sajith’s affinity with the people and the sangha is viewed by the  Sinhala-Buddhist electorate as being  more genuine than the thick pirith noola tied in Ranil’s hand. One of the biggest failures in Ranil’s politics has been his failure to raise his image above the level of a hollow man with his head filled with straw. He has been a fake and – poor fellow! – he will continue to look like a fake Sinhala-Buddhist even if he shaves his head and comes out in public wearing  yellow robes.

Kabir Hashim, the Chairman  of the UNP, has exposed Ranil’s fake politics in his latest interview with the Sunday Observer(22/9/2019) As everyone knows, Ranil’s cheap trick has been to appoint committees whenever he is confronted with a problem. His latest was to appoint a committee of four leading UNPers to  decide on who should be  chosen as the leader when the answer was so obvious even  to a blind man’s dog. Kabir’s comments, by implication, pours scorn on Ranil’s fake move  to find a leader on the recommendation of his hand-picked committee.

SO asked  him:. What is the update on the committee appointed to select the UNF candidate, in which you are also a member?

A. I think that committee is a red herring. The Prime Minister never called up the committee report. I have prepared a report. Myself and Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara spoke to the minority parties and UNP MPs. We have also got data and information on the best course of action for the UNP at the upcoming election, and we have been ready with the report.

The Prime Minister has nominated Rajitha Senaratne and Dinesh Weerakkody to represent him in the committee. At yesterday’s (Sep 20) party leaders meeting at Temple Trees, the committee report was not even referred to.

The report was to be a collective effort. It should have been made together but the others were not attending the meetings so we made a report on our own. It was finalised after a series of discussions with our alliance members, all UNP MPs, and after weighing in the information and data of the current political scenario”.

This comment of the Chairman of the UNP exposes Ranil as a fraud and a fake. Kabir laments that the whole exercise of appointing committee was a waste of time.  It was futile exercise which served no one, least of Ranil. It was not even referred to in the end, says Kabir. Committees are appointed by Ranil as dilatory tactics or to divert attention. He has no intention of reading the reports, or following it up, or taking action on them. He uses them to bury the issues which he has no intention of solving or dealing with them. He hopes everyone will forget it and save him from facing the issues as a leader should. He has been surviving in politics by appointing committees to dodge issues. How can a leader who appoints committees to solve problems dismiss them without even reading, or studying, or making any references to them when it comes to decision-making? How can one respect a leader who appoints committees to deceive the people? The people saw through him and never trusted him.

Sajith can’t go wrong if he is capable of taking the Party and the administration to the people. And also if he is committed to the work ethic of his father. President Premadasa had to face the revolt of the Kurunduwatte cricket-playing gang in the cooked up in the impeachment saga. The impeachment even accused him of being insane. The English-speaking elite, thriving in professions, was against him. Premadasa came from the football-playing Kehelwatte gang,

Sajith has been spared this class/caste distinction. He was supported by a cross-section of the UNPers drawn from the top to the bottom. He represents the generational change. The passing of the baton, though reluctantly by Ranil.  Hopefully it will also represent a change in direction. Hopefully the winds of change will help to bring the Party back to the people, the way his father did.

11 Responses to “Defeat of Ranil is a win for UNP”

  1. dhane Says:

    The long-drawn and futile battle of Ranil Wickremesinghe to deny Sajith Premadasa was over. Its only their house hold dispute. But for the benefit to the voters or country nothing had change as long as Ranil been the candidate as PM. Voters had enough experience what is happening Sirisena been President and Ranil as PM. If Sajith become the next President and Ranil or Mahinda become PM country will be in the same continuation of disputes. So will Voters cast their voter second time blindly?

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Good move. After 26 very long years the UNP has a real leader other than Ranil. Although Ranil is the nominal leader, even he knows it is game over for him.

    There is no legal obligation for Sajith to make Ranil the PM. The President can appoint anyone as PM as long as the PM has parliamentary majority.

    There is no difference between Sajith and Gotabaya on key policy issues. They both fail on the most important matters.

    1. Abrogate 13A.
    2. Abolish EP.
    3. End all disastrous foreign deals – Hambantota, ACSA, Singapore FTA, etc.
    4. Fix the debt crisis.
    5. Establish rule of law.

    On patriotim each has his own pluses and minuses and they are equal. Each camp will try to show one is better than the other.

    Jayawardane/Wijewardane clan is trying their very best to keep the UNP within their clan as Rajapaksas try their very best to keep SLPP in their clan. Unfortunately our largest political parties just clans/tribes. Shows the tribal mentality of the nation.

  3. dhane Says:

    Yes Dolrok Jayawardane / Wijewardane clan was nicely explained in an article sometime back by ආචාර්ය වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති
    1952 අවුරුද්ද වෙද්දි අපේ මිනිස්සු එක්සත් ජාතික පක්‍ෂයට උන්ගේ නෑයන්ගේ පක්‍ෂය” කියලා නමක් පට බැන්දා. ඒකට හේතුවුනේ ඒ පක්‍ෂයේ නායකත්වය සේනානායක – කොතලාවල – ජයවර්ධන පවුල්වලට සීමාවීම. මේ කතාව හදන්න මූලික ම හේතුව වුනේ දොන් චාල්ස් ගෙමෝරිස් ආටිගල මුදලිතුමාගේ දෝණියැන්දලා තුන්දෙනා සේනානායක – කොතලාවල – ජයවර්ධන පවුල් තුනට බන්දලා දීමේ කාරණය. කලින් ලිපියකින් මේ ගැන විස්තරයක් මම කිව්වා.

  4. dhane Says:

    Yes Dilrook.
    Jayawardane / Wijewardane clan was nicely explained in an article sometime back by ආචාර්ය වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති
    1952 අවුරුද්ද වෙද්දි අපේ මිනිස්සු එක්සත් ජාතික පක්‍ෂයට උන්ගේ නෑයන්ගේ පක්‍ෂය” කියලා නමක් පට බැන්දා. ඒකට හේතුවුනේ ඒ පක්‍ෂයේ නායකත්වය සේනානායක – කොතලාවල – ජයවර්ධන පවුල්වලට සීමාවීම. මේ කතාව හදන්න මූලික ම හේතුව වුනේ දොන් චාල්ස් ගෙමෝරිස් ආටිගල මුදලිතුමාගේ දෝණියැන්දලා තුන්දෙනා සේනානායක – කොතලාවල – ජයවර්ධන පවුල් තුනට බන්දලා දීමේ කාරණය. කලින් ලිපියකින් මේ ගැන විස්තරයක් මම කිව්වා.

  5. Dilrook Says:

    Thank you Dhane. I read that article.

    UNP – Uncle Nephew Party.

    SLFP was the same until Mahinda.

    SLPP is the same.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sajith Agreed to:

    1. Increased Power Devolution (To placte the Tamils and Muslims?)

    2. Changing the Election System

    3. Changing the Constitution (Eliminating the Presidency included?)

    4. Ranil to retain UNP Party Leadership and Prime Minister’s Position.

    So, Ranil GOT ALL WHAT HE WANTED and Sajith CAVED IN to play second FIDDLE to Ranil’s Executive PM and to ELIMINATE his OWN JOB! So, after all that BRAVE POSTURING, Sajioth became a POODLE like PUPPET of Ranil to get the opportunity to run for President! ….. JUST like the current PANA-NATHI JANAPATHI

    The PATRIOTIC citizens of Sri Lanka HAVE TO DEFEAT UNPatriotic Party’s candidate Sajith!

    OTHERWISE, Sri Lanka is DOOMED!

  7. Randeniyage Says:

    1. Increased power devolution is promised by ALL
    2. Changing Election system is promised by ALL
    3. Changing constitution is promised by ALL (Mahinda promised removal of EP, even 1 month ago)
    4. Ranil to retain UNP Party Leadership and Prime Minister’s Position until February is applicable to ALL

    On the other hand NONE has promised imperative five actions listed by Dilrook. ( Except Naganada, but he too is subjected to 2,3,and 4 unless he wins with 50.001% margin which is highly unlikely)

    All the SAME ! All have BAD history as well as some good. There is a very very small probability of proper change, only under Naga.

    Therefore, all patriots have no choice but to support him until 50.0001% majority, unless other candidates too come with actions listed by Dilrook.

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    Mahindapala is WRONG on this one.

    Ranil DID NOT LOSE! He GOT ALL he REALLY WANTED: Party Leadership and the EXECUTIVE PM’s position which will be MORE POWERFUL than the President’s position in 2020.

    Ranil knows that he is UNELECTABLE as President. He negotiated PRETENDING to want the Presidency and SWITCHED at the last moment AFTER Sajith with great relief at being allowed to run for the Presidency CONSENTED to be a POWERLESS PUPPET President and Ranil’s TOOL bound by an agreement made in front of the UNP Leaders!

    NO! It is Ranil who won this struggle. Sajith’s GOOSE is NOW FULLY COOKED!

    A TIME-HONORED TACTIC in negotiations is to stake out an initial position that is unachievable, hiding one’s TRUE goal, with the FULL INTENTION of ABANDONING that position for what one REALLY wants at the last moment. This TACTIC USUALLY WORKS!

    This is what Ranil really did, and in my humble opinion RANIL WON BIG; he got ALL he really WANTED!

    Live and Learn folks, from how this slimy Machiavelli operates!

  9. dhane Says:

    Considering all comments its only Naga came out with new concept. His concept is good for the country with 60PM & small cabinet etc. Only problem it will be not easy to implement. If Naga become to President with 50+% will the present PM Ranil & his UNP MPs will simply go away. Like earlier occasion in Oct: if Rani & his gang go to the Temple Trees and stay over there while Karu continue to function Parliament with existing both parties 225 MP what action could be taken?. Will Judges simply walk away from their benchers?. Will the 3 forces have the power to take instructions newly elected Peoples choice President Naga? Let someone explain these questions & find a solution.

  10. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Anti Sinhalese, anti Sri Lanka, anti Buddhist, minority worshiping, Mother Lanka dismembering GooandPee
    (kakka and chu party) aka UNPatriotic_rats have been dividing Sinhalese and making minorities king makers
    during the last four decades. It started with the traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) thambi mudiyanselage jr@ and carried on by he traitor alugosuwas lk porisadaya and Batalande wa(n)dakaya.

    Today, Sinhalese have become helpless refugees in their own land and traitor foreigners tamils and mussies
    decide where we should live, how our National Anthem should be sung, how our monks should be cremated, etc.
    etc. while traitor foreigners can say or do anything they like. This is the last chance to save Sri Lanka, Sinhalese race and Buddhism from traitor foreigners tamils, mussies and GooandPee traitor low lives. All the indications
    are still a lot of traitor Sinhalese including jaathidhrohee vermins’ party aka JVP etc. etc. going to support GooandPee and expedite the demise of the Sinhalese race, Sri Lanka and Buddhism for good. GooandPee quietly
    introducing more and more traitor Sinhalese (A K de lapaya etc etc.) to reduce the Sinhalese support for
    Gota so that the traitors can get back to partying again. Then of course to decimate Sinhalese race, Sri Lanka and
    Buddhism to please its ardent supporters tamils and mussies.

    Under GoodandPee we can see how the mussies have multiplied all over the country and Sinhalese are being
    pushed and pushed to a corner. In the last census real mussie numbers were fiddled due to the pressure from
    mussie deshapaluwas for their support. Actual mussie numbers could be in the region of 25% or even more.
    Every town in Sri Lanka is mussie dominated and town have maybe four times the population than villages. This
    is the reason GooandPee (kakka and chu party), vairapala sorry sena, MR etc. etc. still licking the backsides of
    the mussies. If Sinhalese have an iota of patriotism in them, they should dump these treacherous, lying, thieving,
    minority worshiping, Mother Lanka dismembering, Buddhism destroying, murderous (Sinhalese Buddhists only)
    GooandPee deshapaluwan for good! This is the last last last chance Sinhala modayas!

    First step to save the Sinhalese race is to dump these GooandPee thieves. Then bringing new laws to curb mussie
    multiplication. Limit 2 children to a family, no child brides (prodcution line starting early), no mussies only/tamils
    parties, no mussie only/tamils only schools. No FREE educaiton after 2 children. No FREE hospitals after 2 children.
    Abolish 13, 13A to get rid of mini drealam and mini mussisthans. Just get on a intercity train to see how mussies have multiplied. This is what the mass breeders did to old Buddhist iran, afganisthan, pakesthan, bangladesh, malaysia and indonesia. Multiplied, multiplied and outnumbered the natives and turned them all to mussie
    countries within a few hundred years. Naga, maga, lapaya, lk porisada junior etc. etc. so many Sinhalese will fragment the vote base and GooandPee will get in the driving seat. All patriotic people know what will happen. Please, please if you are Sinhalese don’t canvas for unknowns. Go for the tried and tested. Please, please, please, please. This is the last last last chance! Kepuwath kola patai bath kana harak of the GooandPee party forget the
    packet of rice/Rs 1000/job/a bit of money/a lot of money/a shot of arrack, dump the traitor thieves for good.

  11. janakic Says:

    Yes, it is a breadth of fresh air that a decision was made to appoint Sajith as the UNP candidate. The future relationship of Ranil, the party leader/PM is still unclear. The UNP Secretary stated explicitly that Sajith had agreed to a) Abolish the The Presidential system within 6 months of winning the presidency; b) Devolve power to the North and Eastern provinces and; c) Ranil to continue as the prime Minister. These conditions no doubt present issues that are worse than that of Ranil and Mr. Sirisena the current President. Further turmoil and dissension can be expected.

    Further a change in policies cannot be expected. Sajith has already declared the power would be devolved to the North and the East and SOFA agreement will be signed to allow Americans to have a military hub in Sri Lanka and enable the MCC projects that would divide the country in half as North and South Korea. Unlike Korea, Sri Lanka is a small country where such division is not possible. We need to live together as one nation and consider issues as national issues and not as purely ethnic. For example, security, employment, law and order are common to us all regardless our ethnicity. Therefore Sajith being the presidential Candidate other than Ranil is a mere change of pillows for a headache.

    The choice fro Sri Lankans at the presidential election is very stark and cleat. It is whether Sri Lankans want a divided country on ethnic lines where there would be three, for the most part, incompatible jurisdictions, with an American military hub which is not subjected Sri Lankan judiciary and run the risk of being attacked by external American adversaries or Have a stable govt. protecting the country’s integrity as a Sovereign single entity, without a sell off Sri Lankan assets willy nilly, addressing the welfare of all communities as national concerns and having a non aligned foreign policy that ensures protection from being decimated by foreign invasions.

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