Catch 22
Posted on December 29th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island

Blood is said to be thicker than water. That may be so, but there are some exceptions. Blood doesn’t seem so thick where Sri Lankan politics is concerned. We have had some political families whose feuds even led to legal wrangles. This should come as no surprise in a country which has a history replete with instances of even patricide and fratricide committed by kings, usurpers and aspirants to the throne. It is said that two dogs at the same bone seldom agree, and one may add, even if they share the same parents and are raised in the same house. Power hungry bipeds, engaged in electoral contests, can be far worse than feral, nay, mad dogs.

A candidate contesting the upcoming local government polls, in a suburb of Colombo, is reported to have gone to the extent of brandishing a pistol and threatening his own mother, who attended a meeting organised by his political rivals. How savage a person, capable of pulling a gun on his mother, will get if he happens to clash with others, is not difficult to imagine. A politician who cannot enlist the support of his own mother should be ashamed of himself.

The aforesaid incident seems to represent, in microcosm the polarization of the Sri Lankan society at large, owing to partisan politics which has been relentlessly eating away at social institutions including the most important one—the family. It is against the backdrop of such societal fissures caused by party politics that the fragile unity of those currently sharing power at the centre should be viewed.

The incumbent government, formed by two hostile political entities out of sheer expediency, is split down the middle but is being held together at the top. Their members haven’t gelled as a group at the grassroots level contrary to their leaders’ claims that they have joined forces for the sake of the country. For the first time since their coming together the SLFP and UNP leaders have had to pit themselves against each other in a contest which, given the extremely high stakes therein, neither of them can afford to lose. Worse, it is a three-cornered contest in the southern parts of the country with the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) posing a formidable challenge to both of them. Public resentment is palpable and sure to take its toll on the constituents of the ruling coalition, especially the SLFP and the UNP. Meanwhile, the SLPP, in spite of its rhetoric, is in the same predicament as a trigger-happy cowboy left with only a single bullet in a fight with two gunslingers.

The unity government has manifestly reached a crossroads at long last. It managed to postpone elections for two and a half years, but finally had to bow to the inevitable. The upcoming mini polls, however, are the least of its worries. The two main parties can no longer wish away the harsh political reality that they have to contest the next presidential election. Only the naïve may expect President Maithripala Sirisena to show his gratitude to the UNP by retiring after completing the first term and letting UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe secure the much-coveted executive presidency. It is also unthinkable that the UNP will again throw in its lot with President Sirisena as a common presidential candidate. The UNP hasn’t produced a single President for about a quarter century; it has lost two consecutive presidential elections (in 1994 and 1999) and avoided two others (in 2010 and 2015). This must be a world record. The consternation of the GOP’s rank and file is understandable.

The SLFP will have to take no prisoners against the UNP in the upcoming electoral contest if it is not to lose a sizeable chunk of its vote bank, which is not well disposed towards its political marriage of convenience with the UNP, to its off-shoot, the SLPP. The UNP, too, will have to give no quarter in taking on the SLFP if its membership is not to get too demoralised to vote; UNPers thirst for power. They have been openly calling for forming a UNP government. At the same time, the UNP and the SLFP will have to try to defeat their common enemy, the SLPP.

It is a catch 22 for the SLFP and the UNP. Divided they will certainly fall. But, they have no way of remaining united in the forthcoming race which has already torn families asunder. Even friendly backyard cricket encounters end up in brawls in this country.

One Response to “Catch 22”

  1. Christie Says:

    කොහෙද බොලව් අපේම අත්තනගල්ලෙ මාතාව; විස්කි මැඩම්?

    විමුක්ති කොල්ල තාම රැජිනගෙ රත්තරන් අස්සයො නිව්යෝර්ක් වලින් එන්ගලන්තෙ ගාලට ගේනකන් බලන් ඉන්නව වගෙයි.

    ගොන් සිරිසේනයට විමුක්ති කොල්ල ගමට එනකන් ඉන්න බැහැ රුදාව.

    සිරිසේනයට මතක නැහැ මගෙ මහ එකා කොල්ලවගෙම එන්ගලන්තෙ ඉඳල ඇවිත් තමයි ඉන්දියාවට පක්කලිකම් කෙරුවෙ.

    අද මූ ජනපතිය වෙලා ඉන්නෙ මගෙ මහ එකයි මමයි හින්ඳ

    නෑ බොලව් මෝඩිය කියනව ඔය ගම් කෙලිය එච්චර ගනගන්න එපා කියල. මොකද ඕකත් දෙමලුන්ගෙ ජල්ලි කුටිටි ; ගොන්නු හීලැහරක් කරනව වගෙ සෙල්ලමක්.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress