Ranil won: UNP lost
Posted on December 24th, 2011

H.L.D Mahindapala

The following announcement is intended to clear all doubts and questions about the secret ballot held to elect a leader for the UNP:

“ATTENTION PLEASE!

“THIS IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT FOR ALL UNPers, WELL-WISHERS AND THE NATION.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE COUNTING OF THE NOT-SO-SECRET BALLOT TO ELECT OUR LEADER IS OVER. ALL WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW IS THE NAME OF THE WINNER. THE WINNER IS “”…” LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, HOLD YOUR BREATH! “”…” THE WINNER IS NOT WICKREMESINGHE. NOT SAJITH PREMADASA. NOT THE UNPERS.  THE WINNER OF THE UNP CONTEST — BELIEVE IT OR NOT — IS MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE!”

This, in short, is the message that came out of what happened at Siri Kotha the other day. Yep! This is abso-bloody””…”lutely true. So far only Mahinda Rajapakse has got what he wanted for this Christmas. His problem has been solved. But neither the grassroot UNPers, nor the nation tired of the spineless opposition got what they expected. Wickremesinghe, in his sly way, manipulated the votes after stacking the Working Committee in his favor. Dayasiri Jayasekera has revealed the manipulations of Wickremesinghe to fix the voting. There is no other explanation for the bizarre voting pattern in which Wickremesinghe won all the vacancies except the deputy leadership which went to Sajith Premadasa.

His calculation is simple: He has to pretend that the divisions within the party are over with Sajith holding the deputy chair. He, of course, needed Sajith because he can’t go before the people with Ravi Karunanayake, a leading Catholic, as his deputy. Already under pressures of public perception of being a pro-West, pro-Christian, pro-TNA he can’t go to the polls with Ravi Karunanayake as his deputy. Besides, Karunanayake lacks the national stature as Sajith whose credentials are impeccable and acceptable to the vast majority. The underlying factor is that Wickremesinghe needs Sajith more than Sajith needing Wickremesinghe.

As revealed by Dayasiri Jayasekera it is obvious that Wickremesinghe had stacked the votes of the Working Committee to get the results he wanted. Conceding the deputy leadership is considered a safety device because Sajith with a single vote will have to be his puppet. And whenever he goes abroad he can always appoint John Ameratunga as the caretaker leader overlooking  Sajith. Well, he did it to Karu Jayasuriya. So why can’t he do it to Sajith?

The main objective of the secret ballot was to resolve the divisions within the party. But Wickremesinghe is using the results not to heal but to consolidate his grip on the party and make it a one-man dictatorship claiming a mandate from the latest election results. This is where he is wrong. He claimed a mandate from the people when he signed the CFA arbitrarily with Prabhakaran. He was strutting like a cock-of-the-walk assuming that he had solved divisions within the nation and brought ever-lasting peace. He even removed the barriers in Colombo. His euphoria, as everyone knows, was short-lived. His CFA dragged the nation to the brink of ruin. Most of all it ruined him. And he is still struggling to recover from the arrogance of his misuse of power.

All his politically expedient solutions come at the expense of the nation, the party or his friends. He will sell anything to anybody to stay in power even it means remaining as the leader of the party in opposition forever. First he sold the nation to Prabhakaran hoping to be the President. Then he sold the Party to Sarath Fonseka hoping to be his prime minister. And this time he sold Ravi Karunanayake, his side-kick, to save his pro-Buddhist image with Sajith as his deputy. Now he is in a position to sell the party and himself to Mahinda Rajapakse like the way he bargained with Sarath Fonseka. Perhaps, it is this fear that can also explain why the UNPers went berserk at Siri Kotha soon after the results were announced.

The essential meaning of the contest for UNP leadership is that neither side in the UNP won. If at all, Wickremesinghe scored a Pyrrhic victory. The cost was too heavy. His victory over Karu Jayasuriya, though impressive, has split the UNP once again right down the middle. The election of Wickremesinghe as the leader and the election of his potential rival, Sajith, as the deputy send mixed signals to the rank-and-file and the nation. It signals that neither side had defeated the other comprehensively, even though the majority is with the Kollu Kalliya. The defeat of Karu has been offset by the victory of Sajith. All this indicates that the healing process is as remote as Wickremesinghe is to victory in the next polls.

Right now No:1 and No: 2 represent two different political philosophies. So which way will the UNP go now? Wickremesinghe-way or Sajith-way? If the statements made by Sajith, Dayasiri, and Karu are any indication of things to come then Wickremesinghe is not going to sit on a comfortable cushion at Siri Kotha. On the contrary he will be sitting on porcupines. Sajith in his speech emphasized that his was a victory of the rural voters in sarongs and banians. Not of those dressed in Western garb. The sartorial politics emphasized by Sajith is significant. It points to the essential differences between him and Wickremesinghe. By extension it goes to foreign policy and the direction in which Wickremesinghe intends taking the nation.

Though it is apparent that Wickremesinghe pre-planned the victory of Sajith, hoping to silence the opposition within the party and the Sinhala-Buddhist lobby in the electorate, the coming events are not going to move the way he wants. He has been his own grave-digger in the past and there are no signs of Wickremesinghe changing his profession. For instance, he will not make room to accommodate Sajith. Nor will he give space for Sajith to push the pro-people (particularly, the Sinhala-Buddhist agenda) within the party. From now on Wickremesinghe will demand total obedience to his will which will make it uncomfortable for the Karu-Sajith wing to operate with dignity and integrity within the party.

The future of the party now is entirely in the hands of Wickremesinghe. His next moves will make or break the party. For him to re-make the party he has to offer the olive branch and win over the lost party faithfuls. Wickremesinghe will have to tread cautiously not only to keep the party together but also to present a common front to the electorate. But, of course, knowing Wickremesinghe’s arrogant, vindictive and aloof ways he is not likely to reach out to Sajith–Karu’s group.

Right now he’s cock-a-hoop believing that he is on top of the whole world. This is the kind of feeling he had when he was sacked by Chandrika. When he arrived at the airport it took nine hours for him to get home that night, thanks to John Ameratunga who organized whistle-stops of the greens all the way to Cambridge Place.  He mistook his catchers’ responses as the response of the nation. The subsequent 20 elections he lost since then should make him realize that the “jayawewas” of his Kalliya is not enough to win elections. Besides, he is no match against Mahinda Rajapakse. In the next election the best he can do, with the assistance of the Sajith & Co, is to win the voters he lost. But Wickremesinghe will play true to form. He will either drag the party more and more to the West, or cause more divisions within the party. In the election after the next too he will still be struggling to cross the line because the Party under his failed leadership would have gone to the dogs.

His personal belief is that that he can do what his uncle JRJ did: wait under the tree for the ripe fruit to fall on to his lap without doing anything. JRJ succeeded because he kept the party intact under the force of his magnetic personality. He never lost credibility as a potential leader after he took the reins of the party into his hands. But Wickremesinghe neither has the personality nor the political knack of holding the party together. Most of all, he lacks credibility as a trustworthy and responsible leader with foresight to steer the future course of the nation. He has been a more of a divisive force both inside his own party and in national politics. A leader who cannot win the confidence of his own party can never win the confidence of the nation. If, in the meantime, Mahinda Rajapakse can clean up his Augean stables he will be unbeatable for another two elections.

In a sense, Wickremesinghe and Sajith are ideal partners. Sajith has all that Wickremesinghe lacks. Together they could present a solid political platform to the nation.  The combination of the old and the youth is marketable to the electorate. Together both can have an impact on the electorate. Sajith Premadasa’s presence would give the party the much needed pro-people image like that of his father. Besides, Sajith could neutralize the pro-West anti-national image created by Wickremesinghe-Karunanayake combo. But it is most unlikely, as things stand now, that both could work together. When one is looking at London the other is looking at Tissamaharama.  Unless there is a sea change in their relationship their fundamental political differences are not likely to make them co-habit the way No:1 and No:2 should in facing challenges of the future together.

Wickremesinghe’s vote has been declining since 2001 steadily. From 43% in 2001 the numbers have dropped steeply to 22 % in 2011. Winning the next election with Wickremesinghe leading the party is a pipe dream. He would be lucky if in the next election he could at least catch up and rise to 43% at least. But he can’t do that with a divided or depleted party. So before doing anything else his first move should be to heal the differences within the party. Before asking the nation to share power with the minorities he should share power with his own peers who are crying discrimination, vindictiveness and arrogance of power.

He must also re-examine the failures of his leadership “”…” particularly his anti-national policies “”…” and re-locate the party right in middle of the people. The policies needed to win the people and win the dissidents are more or less the same. But he and his gang from Kollu-pitiya have gone too far to the West to come back to the centre of the people.

In short, Wickremesinghe’s victory is a bad omen because he can never rise from his ill-fated past to be a winner. As I said many times before, he is a born loser and all his temporary victories will lead him only into permanent oblivion.  

 

14 Responses to “Ranil won: UNP lost”

  1. douglas Says:

    True Ranil WON and HE Mahinda Rjapakse too WON. But who LOST? No one else other than Sri Lanka as a country and the Sri Lankans as a Nation.

    Does this Opposition Leader Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe has anything to his credit to record since he was catapulted into politics by his uncle Late HE Junius Richard Jayawardane? No boubt he was sitting in Parliament as an elected Member, a Minister, a Prime Minister and todate as the Leader of the Opposition. But when we try to collate his career and achievements in the Political field the people of Sri Lanka will not be able to comprehend as to how he had survived this long. What has he given to this country and the Nation? Can anyone please educate us on this subject.

    There is one more WINNER we should not overlook. The Western countries who are waiting to have us destabilized too have WON. They got the correct person whom they have been dealing with all this while and now they can do things in their own way as they please. But people of Sri Lanka are not fools and they cannot be fooled all the time.

    So, HE President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Now you have nothing to worry. Please make our country a real jewel in the Indian Ocean.

    But, please keep a close eye on this person. Not that he can do any harm, but he can be manipulated by foreign powers to achieve their goals.

  2. aravinda Says:

    Ranil 1 – Sri Lanka 0, No country can function a democracy without a stable, strong and a honest opposition. One must ask what can Ranil, Sajith and Ravi Karunanayaka offer Sri Lanka? I see very little. Just imagine Sri Lanka falling in to these hands. I dare not think of that possibility.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    But don’t forget it is what MOST UNPers want!

    72-24 Ranil won.

    There are worse criminals in the UNP than Ranil.

    e.g. Jeyalath Jeyawardena, Gonasons, Mahendran

    These TERRORISTS should be first eliminated for UNP and SL to be safe.

    Ranil can wait.

  4. Shan9 Says:

    Another sad day for Sri Lanka.

    This Western puppet Ranil W ( member IDU) is a threat to Sri Lanka. How come a person with such a heinous track record such as this :

    1. Begged EU to withdraw GSP plus
    2. Created a rift between SF and GR
    3. Signed the cursed CFA
    4. Awarded LTTE diplomatic privileges
    5. Handed over the rule of SL to “co chairs”
    6. Keep traitors like Ravi Karunanayake and Jeyalath Jeyawardena in the party
    7. Baited 2 great military officers to the LTTE
    8. Saved the LTTE from post 9/11 war on terror until the west calmed down
    9. Alegedly raped a man in his own party and has avoided legal action.
    10. Conspire against the nation with the enemies of the nation
    11. Ruined the nationalist UNP into a third grade fag den
    12. Killed hundreds of Sinhala youth in Batalanda
    13. Sacked Zaheer Moulana from the UNP who helped Karuna defect.

    be elected as the leader of the opposition???

    The TRILLION dollar question is why he is not chared for high treason?

    How can this man lead any political party?

    Does this not prove that this man is the preferred puppet of the West?

    Sri Lankans wake up at least now and get back to reality.

  5. dhane Says:

    Sajith is No : 2 slot in UNP holding the deputy chair. He has only one more go to be the Leader.
    Everyone knows how Late Premadasa manipulated his way up in UNP. So like father like son wait and see Sajith movements within next few years. Already Sajith put Karu in behind seat very tactfully. Only barrier will be his age and experience.

  6. Raj Says:

    Ranil is the best asset of Mahinda Rajapakse. Long live Ranil!

  7. Leela Says:

    Not that I like it, but I knew RanilW would win hands down in this or any election to chose the leader of the UNP. What can we expect; if democracy within party apparatus is top down and not bottom up? Directly or indirectly, prevailing leader appoints most of those that vote (working committee) at leadership election. And they in turn elect the leader. So KaruJ had no chance from the outset.

    Anyway, no matter which Johnny win the leadership, they both have the same trait. It doesn’t matter one dons a sarong and the other a trouser; both are proven Yankee doodles. Both had the similar standpoint and same outlook; just like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Together they have represented and looked after the interest of NGOs, evangelists and the anti-national Colombian lot for seventeen years and most of the rural folks like us who from the majority in this country knew it.

    Needless to talk about what the winner, trouser Johnny RanilW would do if he becomes the President of this country for he had openly displayed all his colours while he ruled the country as Prime Minister in 2001-3.

    As for the Sarong Johnny Karu he is down and gone under for good. So, there is nothing more to talk about him either. But it must reminded to those that are hoping his comeback that he had joined the government with seventeen UNP MPs purport to lend a hand to the President to win the war but left it alone at the crucial hour before winning the war. This is absolute treachery that none should ever forget.

    The likes of Eran and Rosy may be in different camps today. But, it is they together with NGO sharks like Sarawanamutthu and evangelists like Chikera are the ones that steered the UNP to change its old pragmatic policies to a new set of Norwegian backed policies.

    Un-patriotic stance of the UNP had become such an open standard, RanilW called army conquered Toppigala a jungle and would be contestant for the deputy leadership (Ravi) shamed the army alleging it was marching to Pamankada and not Alimankada.
    To revive the UNP what it needs right now is a new set of policies; not the policies that the likes of Eran and Rosy and the Colombian lot steered it for seventeen years. Do they have a leader with such qualities? I wonder!

    Now that RanilW won the leadership, Evangelists must be hoping to ride the elephant and baptise us all. But I have this bad feeling that they have crucified many a village based arch UNPers like us and shunted the rest of the UNPers to be in the wilderness for years to come.

    Whether one likes it or not, it’s plain sailing for Rajapakses for years to come. No doubt, some ministers and their robber barons would take it as a free rein to fatten their ill-gotten wealth further. So, the absence of a strong opposition is a good or bad omen for Sri Lanka is a good thing for all of us to ponder.
    Leela

  8. ranjit Says:

    Lasantha you are worst than Ranil because you dont know the reality in the country at the moment talking rubbish. Mahinda is a reputed writer and his articles have been well read by many because he is an experienced person in politics so just wake up you day dreamer. Read Shan9 what your favourite Ranil has done to our nation How can you compare the current President our hero to that weak westernized puppet?

    Ranil nor Sajit wont be our President for another maybe 10 to 20 years so dont count on them yet.Both were traitors to our land of birth.Their ancesstors too were traitors and cowards. They dont love our Motherland but themselves.Power , glory and wealth by hook or crook. Those lousy politicians dont deserve anything from our citizens except defeat. They will lose every elections for many years to come. Lasantha you too can join them and day dream some more years because your Hero Ponnaseka wont be released from prison so easily.He is a traitor who licked the white man’s ….. for green bucks. Join their band wagon and say HO! HO ! yahoo.

  9. Christie Says:

    This is another article that is hell bent on dividing the majority of the Island nation. The Sinhalese, Muslims (Arabs=Sinhalese), Burghers (Dutch+Sihalese, Malays (Malay=Sinalese) should try an understand what this type of articles are aimd at. To divde the majority on party lines, religious lines, socio and economic lines.

    Other similar articles have the same veins. Some articles promote Parabakaran as a bad great terrorists, hardly a mention about his sponsor India and Tamil and indian merchants of the Island nation. No mention of Indian Intelligence Service or th Indians overseas who support Tamil terrorists.

    The aim is clear. Divide the majority.

    For those who wants a strong opposition, let us change things. Vote for a government and an opopsition.

  10. radha Says:

    Ranil might have won, and UNP might have lost according to the game played out for the public and what we have witnessed. But I have my doubts. I am very suspicious if UNP had a more sinister strategy to usurp the hard won struggle for political freedom by people at grass root level, in villages and by our heroic members of the defence forces and civil security.

    Look at the number of former UNPers holdng key government posts, those who surround the President like a ring of steel, amongst those ministers who make decisions on government policies that affect all walks of life. Where are the old guards of the SLFP who aligned themselves with grass root electorate and represented them. Most of them have been sidelined in favour of real or apparent UNP queue jumpers who today are running the government.

    It is quite feasible that UNPers master strategy and agenda are planted within the Trojan Horses who have jumped the fences into the government side. UNP need not win in the national elections, because they can become the king makers merely by jumping sides (for the PR effects) and by simply holding the power within the government.

    Ranil may well be promoting this policy surreptitiously. Even if he does not declare it publicly, the result is the same. I think Ranil and the UNP have got a Win-Win situation, when it comes to influencing the way the country is governed without too much effort on their part. In that scenario, does it matter what happens at Siri Kotha; the props and make believe riots were just for the TV camera, and to mislead political pundits.

  11. Samson Says:

    Radha,

    Ranil the master strategist?

    Such fools!

  12. Christie Says:

    We definitely do not need two major parties amomg the non-Indians in the island nation. The Tamils have a block vote to decide the destiny of the Island.

    They did it in 1956, they tried it in 2005 and tried in 2009.

    The 2005 attempt is the first time their strategy failed. According to a highest ranking Tamil terrorist, they (Tamil terrorists and their masters India) decided it might be difficult to negotiate with Ranil compared to Mahinda.

    Ranil came from the established ruling background of the nation. The Royal College, English educated and a better political, economic and social envroment compared to MR. MR from Thurstan an unknown ingriedient in local politics, only economic and social connections being through politics.

    So Tamil terrorists and their masters India decided to back MR thinking he will be another SLFP leader like SWRD that thaey created in 1951.
    They failed to take in to account his family members at the time and Tamils all over the Island were instructed to boycott the 2005 election. If you do not beleive look at the voting stats and local voters racial background. Indian Intelligence Srvice (the Third Eye) failed to take in to account his family memebers like Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was residing in US. If you do not beleive me follow the trails of CBK around that time.

    In 2009 Tamils and Indian interest paid an unknown amount may be x million dollars. An forensic estimate you can try. If you get your son in laew to collect the payments how much will you give inlaws to safe keep (in this case son in law,s mother) say 5%. She had about $ 600,000 in cash, say it is 500,000. Then tthat means the down is 10 million dollars US a reasonable estimate taking in to account similar payments in the circumstances of the island nation. So 10 down payment, 10 after the win and anpother 10 or more later.

    During 2009 election most of the UNPer, JVPers and SLFPers in the West thought SF will win. They thought village youth who have been conned by the JVP will vote SF. Village yout had to vote MR as a relaive or a friend has died during the war.

    Tamil block vote went to Mr Sarath Fonseka. Again look at voting pattern of Tamils and Indians in the island nation.

    From this it is clear we need only one political party to represent Sinhala, Muslim, Burgher and Malays in the island nation.

    As long as Sinhalese are politicaly divided Indian money and block Indian (include Tamils) vote will decide the destiny of the island.

    If the Sinhalese unite under one entiy; at this junture only viable one is MR&Co the country will prosper. It will be like the times before 1956.

  13. Lorenzo Says:

    Christie (Kit Athul),

    I agree that the Sinhala vote must not be divided. SWRD did the grave crime of dividing it in 1951 because he was not given the PM post.

    At any given time people must flock around the strongest of the two – SLFP or UNP. After all both of them are same!

  14. Christie Says:

    SWRD was not divent the PM Post.

    In a demcracy there are due process. SWRD should have gone through the due process. He was a new comer to Politics at that time. Just because he was Oxford educated that in no reason to gve him PM post.

    Indian Intelligence Servive, the Indian Tamil merchnts, the Tamil dominated Union Movement and the Western educated Sinhala Socialists backed SWRD with money and support at set thge agenda that destroyed the Sinhala nation.

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