2012: Which Turn will it Take?
Posted on December 17th, 2011

ByƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Gomin Dayasri

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Those two little friends of mine, Channa and Anura, have ears glued to the ground. Intelligent and perceptive they are my reliable weathermen. Both are basically apolitical and boldly patriotic. They worked relentlessly to ensure the victory of Mahinda Rajapakse passionately in 2005 and gratefully in 2009. The message they delivered is often heard. Mahinda Rajapakse (MR) is in the early days of developing pains. It shows signs of becoming acutely chronic in urban areas but could be infectious.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Heard the rumblings and took little notice knowing the soundings originated from the middle class crust carrying Colombo addresses and semi urban intelligentsia mostly middle rung public officers and professionals on the way up the ladder of success, commuting daily to Colombo. ThatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s a niche corner in a cul-de-sac. Yet, students of disaster management should not ignore an early warning from such opinion makers. Words of Channa and Anura were a red alert, made me raise the antenna.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The message heard is loud and clear. This government with a 2/3 majority is performing poorly to that elected in 2005 without a majority, on whose success the war was won in 2009; rewarded with overwhelming gratitude withelection victories coming up to 2011 due to the smart footwork of the 2005 government. As 2012 approaches the line holds strongin the rural belt but is increasingly thinning among the urbanites. There is no movement towards the UNP but from being plus positive for a MR government, is sliding ominously towards the passive negative gradient- enthusiasm for the UPFA is gone but it has not worked its way to the UNP.Where it will float, time will only tell.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The search embarked was to find reasons for the fault line. Answer came easy -those wearing UNP underwear carry forward UNP policies dressed in UPFA overalls with their loyalists in tow leaving the party policies out in the cold. There are no monitors in the class to check on them. The old Left, left in the party, is left to sounds alone. Rumblings among the microscopic nationalist forces in the government are not taken seriously; their days in the government are numbered for their own sustainability.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Last time there were 41 JVP members to keep vigil on a minority government. Those who made a dent in the UNP by leaving are presently damaging MR fatally. What the UNP is incapable of doing from their home run is happenning from anunforeseen inside track. Those whom MR took over deceptively from the UNP have openly taken over his party.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ UNP still stand detested having not gained mileage on UPFAunconscious imitation of its image with an inverted U- turn to the far right. UPFA can push forward a UNP agenda more effectively since it is not sold as a handicraft of Sri Kotha. Regaining Sri Lanka gains more distance on a UPFA track and carries with it, the same fallout. The blame is thrust on UNP turncoats presently in political or administrative garb now holding key positions. Both budgets after 2009 elections did not give the distressed a whiff of relief while receiving subdued encores from commercial chambers.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Rajapakse understandably finds crossovers with their undivided personal loyalty to him, trust-worthier than thathis party men. They have no other to turn to for the moment. He believes they are more efficient and effective, rightly or wrongly.UNP policies with high spending mega projects are mimicked like the failed Commonwealth Games bid, does not attract the UPFA electorate. There is nothing in it for the people as worthless as the Suriyakanda stadium.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Rajapakse regime has made life better for the rural sector that was the backbone of the old SLFP. Understanding the rural mind MR, concentrates on their welfare and gains goodwill, often lost, on the crossovers many who hold the office key to the economy. President for convenience allows them to manage the government and involves himself too late to make rectification. The prevailing corruption, monumental waste and extravaganza directly stares at the face of the executive with loose talk making it still worse.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ItƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s KaruƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Karumayaif called upon to lead the UNP. He stands stronger if he breaks away and forms his own front ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”like Gamini and Lalit- for much of the UNP will follow the pied piper. Those who wont join the UNP like the JVP or the Fonseka few will find him more acceptable. Many in the present government from the UNP, at the appropriate moment may do a Karu Jayasuriya; the reverse somersault. Most of all, to many who voted for MR, UNP is a prohibited word. But a new name can conjure appeal. So maybe its better for Jayasuriya to lose his party stakes.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Does a tortoise like Jayasuriya have the energy fire and dynamism shown by the DUNF of Gamini and Lalit? Without the party machinery can he invent a new vehicle? His decision to accept a portfolio under MR haunts him for life. Unless Jayasuriya gives leadership to the Opposition more will join the MR administration. Moment the candidature of Jayasuriya was mooted Ranil became a caricature in the UNP. Defeats at elections and relentless defections makes it impossible for Wickremasinghe to stage a comeback. He sure is graceful in adversity.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Strength to JayasuriysƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢a dormant muscle will come from latent foreign sources determined to bring RajapaksesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ down for winning the war in the way they achieved it. Handling of the LLRC recommendations is to the government like insulin is to a diabetic. It needs adroit tact. MR may well resort in doing what he knows best- raise the cry of foreign interventions and wave the patriotic flag to rally the people. In his stead is the role of a proved achiever. This might attract the tide that is turning away from him.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Future of Sri Lanka may be determined by the conduct of foreign merchants. It can unwittingly seal the fate of the local political parties.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  TNAƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Sambandan made a dream opening for the government with a call for such an intervention. Its time he gives way to an enlightened leadership under such as the rising star Sumanthiran who does his homework diligently.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Rajapakse is carrying too many on his footboard; it obliterates the name of the destination in his bus. Will it blur the vision of the driver to make it run down a precipice?

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