UNP should change its Political Strategies adopted as a personal vendetta against President Mahinda Rajapakse.
Posted on December 8th, 2010

By Charles.S.Perera

 In UNP Rukman Senanayake stands out from the rest- a probable leader to save UNP from collapse.

 In 1986 there was a coalition Government in France. The late Mr.Francois Mitterrand was the President, and his Prime Minister was Jacques Chirac. The President was from the Socialist Party and Chirac from the Conservative Republican Party. Their politics were poles apart.

 Despite their being in a cohabitation government they criticised each other politically within France with out coming down to personal levels . But out side France they never criticised each other. They were very honourable politicians, speaking in one voice for France and defending its foreign policies.

 Even within France, the Prime Minister Jacque Chirac’s political speeches were measured and critical of Socialist Policies, but never promoting any political measure to embarrass the Socialists, because Jacques Chirac had to be conscious of the fact that he should be acceptable to the people as an alternative to Mr. Francois Mitterrand .

 Jacque Chirac was perfectly aware that the President Mitterrand had been elected for seven years and he was abiding time to seek nominations for the next Presidential election, but he never tried to create political tension to precipitate an early election by making antagonistic criticism against the President, or resorting to Trade Union action. Those were real political strategies of intelligent politician. When there was a National issue the Socialists and the Conservatives acted together, such as in the case of American decision to wage war against Iraq.

 But UNP, JVP and other opposition political parties in Sri Lanka have no such mature political strategies.

 At every press conference one or the other of the spokesman for the UNP criticises every aspect of the government, minimising the importance of the government’s progressive development projects subjecting them to ridicule, or as mere wastage of public funds, without a word of appreciation for any of those massive undertakings which will have a long term benefit to our country.

 The UNP’s political strategies takes the form of calumny, slander, denigration and defamation directed at the President. UNP does not realise that their political strategies should be planned not only to maintain the support of the UNP block votes, that would swallow any misinformation fed to them, but also to win over at least a part of those who voted to elect the President Mahinda Rajapakse and his Government.

 Through out the military operations against the terrorists the UNP ridiculed the army underplaying the successes of the Valliant troops of the Government Armed Forces.

 The UNP did that to make the President and the Government unpopular with the people. But the UNP forgot that the soldiers who died in these military operations, others who lost their limbs, while yet others who risked their lives were from the people, they are the ones who had kept the country united and peaceful for UNP and other political parties to form governments and govern a unitary country with a united communities of people.

 The UNP criticises the major development projects of the government in the same way it criticised the military operations of the Government Armed Forces, when every intelligent man and woman in Sri Lanka is aware of the fantastic development projects, never seen before taking place before their very eyes.

 To-day the UNP ( not to speak of JVP already a failed political movement, which has no future in Sri Lanka), is praising and defending as a great hero Sarath Fonseka as he alone was responsible for the elimination of terrorism. But it was the very same man who was ridiculed by the UNP as not fit enough to be the Commander of the Salvation Army. That is their short sighted political strategy.

 These Political strategies of UNP are not well planned. Any intelligent person could see that the UNP is not sincere in its criticism of the government, but using such criticism as a mere political gimmicks to “fool” the people. UNP does not appreciate Sarath Fonseka for what he was, but makes use him now for its own political advantage over the President Mahinda Rajapakse.

 Through out the Presidential election of 2005, the Political Strategies of the UNP were ill chosen and ineffective. The UNP was turning its political campaign to criticise the person of the rival candidate, not to show that the UNP has political plans and projects which are better than those of the SLFP candidate.

 UNP invited enemies of Mahinda Rajapakse- Chandrika Bandaranaike, to promote the UNP Presidential candidate. Chandrika was already an unpopular political figure, she could not contribute any thing beneficial to Ranil Wickramasinghe’s election campaign, other than driving away possible voters from him.

 Ranil Wickramasinghe was defending the Tamils with an eye to win over Prabhakaran to get the Tamil votes from North and East. That was not a wise strategy when terrorists were blasting bombs every where massacring innocent men, women and children.

 The only wise politician the UNP had was Rukman Senanayake. He did not criticise the Government’s military operations against the terrorists. The people were ready to listen to him. But the UNP shelved him. Today no one even speaks of Rukman Senanayake.

 Rukman Senanayake was the only politician of the UNP who did not break away from the Party to join the government, but yet stood by the UNP supporting the Government, giving credit to the President Mahinda Rajapakse for the conduct of the successful military operations against the terrorists.

 Even Sajith PreƒÆ’†’¹madasa whose ambition is to take over the leadership of the UNP from Ranil Wickramasinghe, did not show himself to be as astute a politician like Rukman Senanayake .

 But can the people really depend on Sajith Premadasa to be a good alternative to Mahinda Rajapakse. His father R.Premadasa, changed when he became the President. His helping Prabhakaran by providing him with arms to fight against the IPKF does not give him much credit other than that it helped Sri Lanka to get rid of an unwanted Indian Army imposed on us by Rajiv Ghandhi.

 Premadasa carried out some progressive development, but at the same time he was too much of an authoritarian President, that is without calling him a Dictator. The Media Federation accuses the President Mahinda Rajapakse for the repression of media freedom. But under Premadasa it was worse, it was said that a journalist who photographed his wife playing tennis, disappeared overnight. There were dead bodies floating in the rivers and burnt on mounds of tyres”¦..

 An ordinary MP is different from an MP who becomes a President, the power is some times too much to keep people normal.

 The President Mahinda Rajapakse is in that respect an exception. He is determined to develop Sri Lanka without any ulterior motive for self aggrandisement. It is evident from his simple, spiritual and pragmatic approach to problems.

 He is patient as much as he is determined. He shows an ability to control his emotions under all circumstances which has given him the strength to traverse the path he has chosen to reach the goal he had set. He is different from any previous Presidents. R.Premadasa, JRJayawardhana, Chandrika Kumatratunga are miles apart in comparison to the President Mahinda Rajapakse. He is even different from SWRD Bandaranaike.

 Therefore, if Ranil Wickramasinghe, Karu Jayasuriya or Sajith Premadasa are proposing to replace him, they have to adopt different political strategies, to convince the people they are better than the President Mahinda Rajapakse.

 Some times the strategies the UNP thinks out are so simplistic one wonder how it has managed to come so far in its political path. To propose an increase of salaries of the public servants by Rs.10,000.00 would be suicidal to any government, let alone that of the President Mahinda Rajapakse.

 Ranil Wickramasinghe must be out of his mind even to think that it would be a strategy that will allow him to get more votes at a future election. He should make proposals that UNP could respect if it comes in to power.

 Another , curious and a morbid political strategy of UNP is to take over the coffins of any assassinated or a dead MP or a journalist who had some anti-government connection and make the funeral procession an occasion for a political manifestation against the President and his government, with slogans and placards.

 UNP made lot of mileage in vain with the assassination of Lasantha Wickramaratne. It was afterwards taken over by the International Media Federations, the Human Rights Watch, and the UNESCO- which even awarded posthumous medals to his second wife, who made capital of the situation to live in cosy comfort abroad, collaborating with the anti-Sri Lanka elements in the West to discredit the Government of Sri Lanka and its President.

 From 2005 to the 2009 UNP did not stop for an instance to deviate from its reactionary , non-profitable political strategies to at least make the people believe that the UNP of today has some thing positive to give to the people and the country, other than its unpatriotic moves to put the people against a progressive and a popular President and his Government.

 The political strategies of the UNP were adopted not with any patriotic love for the motherland, but with the only desire to grab political power for the UNP by discrediting the progressive development projects that are being carried out by the present government of the President Mahinda Rajapakse.

 Those political strategies of the UNP had been and continue to be motivated by a personal vendetta against the President and his brothers who largely contributed along with the Armed Forces to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka.

 Did UNP change its political strategies in the 2009 Presidential election campaign ? Yes it did, but to the worse.

 The UNP was by 2009 a spent force without new ideas misguided and misdirected. Still UNP wanted to defeat the rival candidate Mahinda Rajapakse of the UPFA. Though it could marshal some will it still lacked ideas to plan an effective political strategy to defeat Mahinda Rajapakse. The UNP still had no patriotic motives to change things for the benefit of the people and the country, but UNP had vengeance in heart to chase Rajapakses out of power.

 While the SLFP put forward the Mahinda Chintanaya as its political manifesto, the UNP had nothing positive to put to the people to win their votes. They had no political manifesto. The UNP had already accepted defeat.

 The only idea UNP could concoct as a political strategy, was to prostitute itself by aligning with the JVP, and acclaim a new political leader as their Presidential Candidate- Sarath Fonseka. UNP was foolish to the extent to even sacrifice its party colour and the age old Elephant Symbol to float a new Political Party to defeat the rival Presidential Candidate Mahinda Rajapakse.

 The UNP and the JVP and of course Mano Ganeshan , and Rauf Hakim, believed that best political strategy to defeat Mahinda Rajapakse was to present Sarath Fonseka as their Common Candidate. Ranil Wickramasinghe was pushed out as he had failed 16 times over to win any election.

 That was the worst political strategy of the UNP (and JVP). Tissa Attanayake, Lakshman Kiriella and Gayantha Karunatilleke etc of the UNP were no better than Tilvin Silva, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath of the JVP as political campaigners and made the worst political speeches through out that political campaign.

 The Presidential Candidate UNP and JVP had selected had no political speech writer. He was not a politician. He was astonished by the large crowds that attended his meetings. He thought large crowds meant equal number of votes and became confident of his victory.

 His political speeches were a disaster. He as well as other UNP, JVP speakers, thought that criticising the Government, accusing the President and his family for corruption and portraying Mahinda Rajapakse as a man with dictatorial tendencies and if elected he would be a Dictator, would make the people vote against him.

 It was however written on the wall that there candidate will end up as the looser. Both the UNP and the JVP knew it but nevertheless bellowed anti Rajapakse rhetoric until the end, and continue to do so unable to stop their ridiculous momentum of the disastrous election campaign.

 The UNP still thinks that Sarath Fonseka has some value in him for UNP to rise from the depth of the “stinking” pit into which it has fallen. Ravi Karunanayake and Ranil Wickramasuinghe continue to visit Sarath Fonseka in the prison, and tells the press the terrible condition of his imprisonment still hoping the people may sympathise with the Prisoner bringing along with it some respect and prestige to the UNP as well.

 In fact UNP as a political party does not exist to-day. It is only a name. It is a monument of hatred. It is boiling with hatred within and hatred outwards. It exists because of its hatred towards the President Mahinda Rajapakse and his Government. It has to change, if it has to exist as a political party. It has to change its political strategies.


 If all those political strategies of the UNP were bad, what should have been the good political strategies. Of cause a good political strategy would be when criticising the government for a wrong action to propose an alternative action.

 The SLFP had the Mahinda Chintanaya as its political Manifesto. A good Political Strategy would have been for the UNP to present an election manifesto to counter Mahinda Chintanaya.

 The President Mahinda Rajapakse has been able to raise Sri Lanka from a developing country, to a Middle Income Level. Hence the UNP cannot suggest political strategies to take the country back words, but it has to think out new policies to take the country forward.

 The UNP should have stood by the Government in its Military solution to eliminate terrorism, without criticising and hindering the process. It is true that the Opposition to a government should be critical of actions of the government if they are not favourable to the country, but that does not mean that the opposition should criticise the government for the sake of criticising, assuming it to be the role of the opposition.

 The Government of the President Mahinda Rajapakse has broken away from the strictly “traditional” diplomatic ties with its former colonial governments and the West, to enlarge the circle of diplomatic relations with many countries. This has to be respected by the UNP. The UNP leadership should stop its members making damaging statements against countries that have formed greater diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka.

 The UNP should adopt political strategies that would make UNP acceptable to the people to form an alternative government, if they are dissatisfied with the present government.

 When the Government gave notice of bringing a no-confidence motion against Karu Jayasuriya for his statement detrimental to the Government and the Armed forces, Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake made statements in defence of the Government.

Ravi Karunayake had said, ” My friend and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Senaratne has brought fish prices down at a difficult time which the price of bread is at Rs 50 and a kilo of rice is at Rs 75, “¦”¦”¦ adding that although he is a member of the Opposition, he would like to congratulate the President on that. There is no point in being critical of everything that a government does just because one is in the Opposition camp,” he said. We shall appreciate and admire those activities that are good for their worth in spite of our political differences,”

These type of appreciation of the activities of the government should have come before when the Government was really in need of the support of the Opposition parties to defeat the terrorists.

 The West is out to discredit the Present government. The West is evidently supporting the Tamil Diaspora with the intention to divide Sri Lanka. The UNP and the Opposition Parties should unconditionally support the government now without allowing the West to discredit the President. After all the President who was elected by a majority of the people is the President of every one the UPFA,UNP, JVP,SLMC, and the TNA.

 This would also be a political strategy that will bring UNP closer to the people of all political shades.

 The UNP should not forget that it is the oldest Political Party and that it is the only alternative to the Governing Party, therefore it should adopt political strategies that would not put the people against it.

 The President Mahinda Rajapakse has been elected for a specified period of time of five years. Therefore, the Opposition parties should have to work in cooperation with him until the end of his term of office, unless of course he turns out to be a danger to the people and the country. As it is the President is well loved by the people and he is doing exceptionally well as the President of Sri Lanka.

 If there are criticisms, it is best that the UNP adopts a more conciliatory attitude and a process of dialogue with the government This will be appreciated by the people and UNP will take credit for its cordial relationship with the government.

 It will also mean more peace and happiness among the people, and a satisfaction for the politicians of all political parties.

One Response to “UNP should change its Political Strategies adopted as a personal vendetta against President Mahinda Rajapakse.”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    A very good analysis by Mr Charles Perera of what happened/happening to the UNP. Such a shame ! A genuine political Opposition with creative new ideas is what is needed in Lanka, instead of a ‘puppet Opposition’ for vested interests. While the country as a whole has mostly matured through the strife of many years, the present day UNP leadership has not, with the exception of Mr Rukman Senanayake.

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