GOTA PHOBIA – Part IV D (Elpitiya waves float Gota and sink Sajith)
Posted on October 13th, 2019


The first salvo of the Gotabhayavictory was fired by thepeopleofElpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha by capturing[A1]   power in all the 17 wards and the rival UNP was able to get only 7 of the 12 seats from the preference list while ‘also ran JVP got 2 seats.  In three wards UNP became the third whileSLFP was second. With the announcement of the results the atmosphere in the country from Vavuniya to Tissamaharama including the hill country and the Eastern Province rocked for several minutes with the sound of crackers lit by the jubilant masses. 

The diehard UNP supporters having nothing to say about their humiliating defeat claimed that Elpitiya was a traditional Left seat represented by left politicians.  If that was so, how can Rupa Karunatilleke represen5t the Bentara-Elpitiya seat in the Parliament from 1977 to 1994 and the present MP Gayantha Karunatilleke be he the member for Bentara-Elpitiya from 2000 up to now?

UNP sources and the pro-UNP social media have blamed Gayantha for the humiliating defeat they suffered at Elpitiya.  They have reported to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe that this Minister hardly visited his electorate and carried out no development work in the area and he should be held solely responsible for this defeat.  In the meantime, political analysts comment that based on the Elpitiya defeat and the current political trends in Sri Lanka the percentage of votes that could be received by Gota and Sajith could be 69 to 24 respectively and this could even get changed in Gota’s favor depending on the stupid moves and utterances that could be made by Sajith. 

Dr.  Ramesh Pathirnan, the Galle District MP who is tipped to be the Minister of Health in the future SLP, A government and who is the son of the late Education Minister thanked the people of Elpitiya for showing the whole country the paramount need to support Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.  Dr. Pathirana was the MP who steered the Elpitiya polls. 

The Opposition Leader Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued the following message on the results of the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha Election,

The joint opposition representing SLPP, SLFP, and other parties have secured a mammoth victory. This election was held based on nominations submitted last year, and therefore the SLFP at that time submitted a separate nomination list.  But now they have become one party, a single force, working for the victory of a single candidate in the presidential election. The opposition alliance has won all wards in the Elpitiya PS obtaining 69% of the votes while the UNP has received only24% of the votes.  The JVP has received only their traditional percentage of votes

The voters of Elpitiya have with visionary wisdom defeated the usage of State Power by the government illegally and to a maximum level.  The government violating election laws provided employments, lands and various material gifts to the voters in a vain bid to consolidate their power.

It is not necessary to elaborate on the pitfalls encountered by this country since 2015January.  The economy of the country has collapsed.  He has stated that as per statistics issued by the Department of Statistics, a few days before the Elpitiya elections, the unemployment in this country has further increased and the economic growth rate has reduced 1/3rd of the economic growth rate that prevailed during our time.  Businesses have collapsed. The loan commitments have skyrocketed.  There is no international or external reason to encounter an economic setback as it exists today. Our neighbors such as India and Bangladesh are surging forward tremendously. 

The economic setback being experienced by this country is purely due to political reasons.  Solutions for it can only be found through politics. It was this task that people of Elpitiya commenced.  It was not only the economy of this country that the yahapalana government destroyed, but it also destroyed the administrative structure as well as the democratic system. They delayed local government election by three years and created a situation under which provincial elections cannot be held.  TheParliamentary Election that was called for last year was also restrained through Courts.  They attempted even to postpone the Presidential Election.

Not only that they even tried to refrain from holding the Elpitiya PS Election. They made all efforts to get opposition candidates for the presidential election disqualified running for the election.

The time has come now to put an end to this chaotic era.  The first salvo for this purpose has been fired from Elpitiya.  I appeal to all those of the opposition alliance to enjoy this victory with peace and harmony.

Mahinda Rajapaksa The Leader of the Opposition. 

In another development, political sources say that Sajith camp has launched a new project to buy the disgruntled SLFP MPs who have no hope of winning in the next election or getting nominated as National List MPs.  Negotiations are reported to be being held between prominent persons of Sajith camp and five SLFP MPs to pay them enormous sums ranging from 250 million to 400 million rupees and these negotiations are understandably being held at Waters Edge and some star class tourist hotels in Battaramulla area. 

In an earlier article I pointed that long before the announcement of the presidential election, the then U.S.Ambassador for Sri Lanka Atul Kesghap in his farewell meeting with Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa urged him not to field Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as a presidential candidate.  In the ongoing election process U.S.Embassy in Colombo is reported to be working to promote the candidacy of Sajith Premadasa.  Candidate Mahesh Senanayake, the former Army Commander is reported to be a CIA plant to dent the votes of security services personnel going to Gota.  Recently the Embassy personnel held a meeting with the leader of Ceylon Workers Congress Mr. Arumugam Thondamen and following this meeting Mr. Thondaman expressed his support for Sajith Premadasa.  One of the signs that the Elpitiya results have made is Thondaman to change his mind and express his fullest support to Gota and also his willingness to sign an MOU with Gota. Ib addition to this Liberal Party of Sri Lanka has also changed their minds and expressed their support to Gota candidacy.  

the negotiations held at Waters Edga the concerned SLFP MP is said to have demanded Rs. 500 million but the deal has been closed to pay him Rs. 400 Million and a Minister post in the anticipated UNP government.  He is to severely criticize the SLFP-SLPP Alliance and cross over to the UNP and join Sajith’s team within the next few days, probably upon receipt of the money. As per descriptions are given without naming the persons directly, it seems that the prominent UNPer was Minister Malik Samarawickrema and the SLFP MP was Shanta Bandara from Kurunegala. The description that has been given for ShanthaBandara is an MP who got nominated to become an Mp on National List twice during the present parliament. Shantha Bandara is the only MP in the present Parliament conforming to this description.  It is also pertinent at the moment that the late JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said once that Malik Samarawickrema paid Rs. 250 million to the current JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake in 2015 to ensure victory for the UNP at the 2015 August General Election.  Negotiations about the other 4 MPs are reported to be yet on progress. 

Sirikotha sources indicate that theEl[itiyaresults have severely derided the morale of many UNP stalwarts since they never expected that the results would be so bad for them, and as this is the worst ever defeat the UNP suffered in a local government election.  They have said that if they did not amend the election system to get some members nominated from the list theywould have ended up without a single UNP member.  With this setback, several MPs and UNP stalwarts are reported to have decided to keep away from active politics. The sources also said that the party has decided to spend a colossal amount to prevent them from leaving the3 party and provide them even enhanced financial benefits, now being paid to some activists through government institutions.  For instance Dambarawe Amila Thero is paid Rs. 90,000 per month and Justin Galappatjhthi, former Matara district MP and some other formerMPs are being paid Rs. 45,000 each per month from the Litro Gas Company. 

Meanwhile, a prominent UNP Minister from the Gampaha District has met Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and requested to accommodate in the SLPP. He has also requested to nominate from the nationalist List in the next election. 

The Sunday’s weekly newspaper columnists have also focused their attention on writing about the setback suffered by the UNDP at the Elpitiya PS Election.  Veteran journalist and Attorney at Law C.A.Chandraprema (CAC) in his weekly political commentary to Sunday Island” under the title UNP’s Elpitiya Debacle” states that the boost that the UNP got from Sajith Premadasa’s inaugural rally in Galle Face on the October 10 was washed away by the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha election result the next day. The percentage that the UNP obtained was just 24%, the lowest they have polled in the Elpitiya electorate ever. He points out that not even in the immediate aftermath of the war victory of 2009 when the Rajapaksa government was sweeping everything before it, did the UNP’s percentage in the Bentara-Elpitiya electorate fall as low as 24%. It is certainly true that the result of an election in one Pradeshiya Sabha will not reflect the situation in the country as a whole but the question that needs to be asked is why the UNP’s percentage in this area fell so low when it had never gone as low as that previously?

He states that the Elpitiya election serves as a reality check for the JVP as well since it managed to secure only 5.8.% of the vote indicating that the people may not be impressed by the new sheep’s clothing that the JVP has donned for the presidential election.

CAC says that the UNP’s Galle Face inaugural presidential election rally was impressive and it gave the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s May Day rally in 2017 a run for its money.  He adds that Sajith gave the battered and disappointed rank and file of the UNP a new hope but it is not enough in the circumstances. Referring to Elpitiyaelection results CAC points out that the UNP has failed to win at least one was.

Referring to the election campaign, AC states that the video clip of parliamentarians Ashu Marasinghe and Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa addressing a meeting in Elpitiya that had just a few unenthusiastic looking spectators which were circulated widely over the social media in the run-up to the Elpitiya election now appears to have reflected the actual reality on the ground. It was said that Sajith Premadasa had to cancel his speeches at some meetings due to the poor turnout. He claims that on Oct. 10 after the UNP’ show at Galle Face, one pro-UNP website had a euphoric headline crowing “Sajith Premadasa’s Inaugural Public Rally breaks Basil Rajapaksa’s 2017 record!” This website article stated that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) held a rally at Galle Face Green calling in SLPP activists on large scale in May 2017 and that the SLPP claimed it was the largest public rally in Sri Lanka’s political history, but it seems that Sajith Premadasa was able to break the record set by Basil Rajapaksa.. The article had aerial photographs of the SLPP rally and the UNP rally for comparison and the pro-UNP media was so carried away by the UNP’sl rally that they did not seem to realize they were not comparing like with like.

CAC explains that the SLPP was just a few months old at the time that the historic 2017 Galle Face May Day rally was held. It was the political party of a persecuted opposition which was not given their due place even in Parliament. The Joint Opposition did not have the position of Opposition Leader or Chief Opposition whip even though they were the single largest group of MPs in Parliament. Besides, the leaders of the SLPP were running around in circles trying to keep out of jail by a government that relentlessly persecuted them. They were just a break away from the SLFP/UPFA with the latter also retaining a substantial support base. That was the background in which the SLPP managed to hold the biggest gathering in Sri Lankan history at Galle Face.

Explaining further he says that Sajith held his inaugural rally at Galle Face with the full force of the undivided UNP government behind him. Comparing the SLPP’s achievement in 2017 with that of the UNP’s inaugural rally in 2019 is therefore not a case of comparing like with like. What such comparisons indicate is that the UNP is struggling to keep up to benchmarks being set by a new political party which is only about two years old.  

CAC adds that the Asian Mirror website had an accurate prediction of the Elpitiya result which stated that the SLPP would win all 17 wards and get 57% to 62% of the votes cast. As it turns out, the SLPP got 56.7%, the UPFA which is in alliance with the SLPP, obtained a further 12.3% which brings the total opposition vote to 69% in a situation where the UNP got 24.3%. The JVP got 5.8% of the vote. This result will act as a dampener for the election campaigns of both the UNP and the JVP. All the money and effort that went into the UNP’s Galle Face rally has now basically, gone down the drain and even the JVP threw a lot of effort into organizing their inaugural rally at Galle Face. Now, all that effort has been wasted.

The veteran columnist states that it may perhaps have been wiser for the UNP to have held their maiden rally after the Elpitiya election but then there is the problem that if their Galle Face rally had been preceded by an electoral debacle like Elpitiya, people may not have turned up in such numbers for the inaugural rally. He points that the yahapalana government has been dodging elections so we have only the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2015 to compare the Elpitiya result with and gives the results of those two elections in the Bentara-Elpitiya electorate.

Presidential Election           2015 Mahinda Rajapaksa 42, 015 –  59.08% Maithripala Sirisena 28,287 – 39.78%
General Election  2015 UPFA 34,275 –  52.70% UNP 26,559 –  40.83$%

Bentota has its own Pradeshiya Sabha and that the Elpitiya result applies only to a part of the Bentara – Elpitiya electorate.

here has been no major change in the proportion of votes going to the JVP.

CAC claims that it does not augur well for the UNP to face a presidential election in less than five weeks time with less than 25% of the vote. This result is all the more surprising because Gayantha Karunatilleke, the UNP organizer for the area, is not an unpopular individual as he has always managed to retain his seat in Parliament even when Vajira Abeywardene lost his. It was always obvious that the UNP was going to lose this election, but the UNP was expecting to get at least 40% of the vote especially with the psychological impact of the Galle Face rally just 24 hours before the polling began.

CAC predicts that when it comes to the presidential election in five weeks’ time, the Elpitiya result will not be very different given the fact that the voter turnout was 75%. This becomes a debacle for the UNP not because they lost Elpitiya but all electorates are inclined one way or the other and Elpitiya voted as expected for the SLPP. It’s a debacle for the UNP because they were defeated so soundly.

In the Galle Face rally, Sajith Premadasa has announced that Sarath Fonseka would be given the highest responsibility in his national security set up. The reason to make this announcement, for which he has no constitutional provision,  was obviously to win over those who have concerns about national security and are likely to vote for Gota on that account.CAC elaborates that Sajith’s stated aim of putting Fonseka in charge of national security sits oddly beside the assertion made by Chandragupta Thenuwara that the cure for what he called ‘Ranavirugaya’ was electing Sajith as President.

  The veteran columnist states that the likes of Thenuwara are working for Sajith on a platform that is rabidly opposed to anyone who had anything to do with the war. A painting soldier by Thenuwara depicts the figure of a one-legged man with a military helmet in place of a head and a face and a rifle used as a crutch. Many would condemn such a painting as insensitive and downright cruel towards people who have lost their limbs in order to bring about the peace that we all, including Thenuwara, enjoy today. The use of the phrase ‘Rana Viru-Gaya’ itself shows CAC says a certain attitude of mind. When Sajith is shown seeking the support of such individuals and is photographed clutching Thenuwara’s hands, that will not do gown well with whatever audience he was trying to reach by announcing that Sarath Fonseka would be placed in charge of national security. Sajith is, in essence, running with the hare and hunting with the hounds – a situation he finds himself in, because of the misfortune of being the UNP’s candidate.

Commenting on President Sirisena’s exit strategy CAC explains the reason why President Maithripala Sirisena appointed an Acting Chairman of the SLFP with just weeks to go for his term as President to end could be to ease himself out of the hot seat as his term as President will end on November 17, after the presidential election is over. Being an experienced politician he would be realistic enough to know that the reception he gets after November 17 will not be the same as the reception he got earlier. Now that he has announced that he has temporarily stepped aside, it will be a miracle if he manages to resume his position as SLFP president after November 17

CAC reminds that when Sirisena took over the SLFP and the UPFA from Mahinda Rajapaksa in January 2015, it had 144 MPs in Parliament but today it is left with just a rump and the present plight of the SLFP is due to his leadership or the lack of it. Even at the height of his power, Sirisena did not heed the call of certain NGO activists to take disciplinary action against the SLFP MPs who sat in the opposition in support of the Rajapaksas. He allowed the SLFP members to sit in the opposition in Parliament and to vote against his own government. Though Sirisena allowed an opposition to CAC function, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya did not recognize the Joint Opposition as being part of the opposition.

Last Monday, after the nominations had been handed over, it is said that one member of the Elections Commission, Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole, had made an attempt to reject Gota’s nomination paper on the grounds that the National ID card submitted by him was a questionable document in the light of the complaints made to the police by some NGO activists. However, this had been shot down by the other two members of the Commission. It’s not surprising that they had done so. CAC who is well versed in Constitutional Law explains that under Section 14(1) of the Presidential Elections Act, No 15 of 1981 as amended by the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act, No 16 of 1988, objections may be made to the nomination papers of a candidate by any rival candidate or the person who has signed the nomination paper of such rival candidate on three grounds:

(a) that it is apparent from the contents of the nomination paper that the candidate is not qualified to be elected as President; (b) that, the candidate has been convicted by a court of law or a corrupt or illegal practice or an election malpractice or (c) that civic disability has been imposed on the candidate by Parliament following an inquiry by a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry. That is when an objection is received by the Elections Commission. If no objections are received, under Section 15(1) of the presidential elections law, the Elections Commission can on their own volition examine the nomination papers for the following and reject it if found wanting:

(a) That the nomination paper has not been delivered to the Commissioner at the place of nomination on the date of nomination between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. by the candidate or the person who has signed his nomination paper. (b) the deposit has not been made. (c) If the signature of the secretary of a recognized political party, or the secretary of any other political party, or of an elector, as the case may be, does not appear on the nomination paper. (d) Where any candidate is nominated by means of more than one nomination paper, each such nomination paper has not been signed by the same person. (e) The signature of the person signing any nomination paper shall be attested by a Justice of the Peace or by a notary public.(f) The written consent of each candidate to be nominated shall be endorsed on the nomination paper. (g) No person shall sign the nomination paper or papers in respect of more than one candidate.

None of these provisions empowers the Elections Commission to look into the authenticity of the identity documents produced by a candidate and therefore the Commission was right to disregard  Hoole’s contention CAC Asserts.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2020 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress