24 June, 2024

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Can Sajith Foul Up Ranil’s Well-Laid Plans?

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

For a longtime I argued that the presidential election was a two-horse race between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Anura Kumara Dissanayake and recently hinted that the advantage was slipping in Ranil’s favour. However, the political weather is squally and it would be slipshod not to give thought to other possibilities. In particular a full accounting needs to be made of the impact of the Sajith Premadasa candidacy.

Let me, however, first summarise the underlying logic of the above view before coming to the point of this essay which is: “Is it possible that Sajith Premadasa may upset Ranil’s well-laid strategies?” First some ethnic data. Gota’s infamous 69-lakhs is Lanka’s core Sinhala-Buddhist actuality plus five lakhs of Catholics/Christians. Stripped of the latter which has shifted to Ranil, it is 64-lakhs. The ethnic and religious composition of minorities in Lanka is Ceylon Tamils in the North, East and around Colombo, a little over 10-lakhs, Muslims a little less than 10-lakhs, up-country Tamils about 5-lakhs and the aforesaid 5-lakhs of Catholics. This adds up to 30-lakhs of minorities compared to 64-lakhs of Sinhala-Buddhists, that is 64:30 or 68% Sinhala-Buddhists to 32% all minorities which is what all statistical tables say. You can play around with the decimals but the end result will be much the same.

Ranil is the blue-eyed boy of the IMF which sits on a few billion dollars of funds earmarked for Lanka and influences the largesse of the World Bank and the ADB. The blue that the IMF espies in Ranil’s eyes also includes Sovereign Wealth Funds (international private capital). Ranil is likely to open-up the economy, privatise some public enterprises and float the rupee, all music to IMF ears.

In class terms the Ranil enjoys the backing of local upper and business classes, some SME-types and many who think “Ranil can Deliver”, meaning he can chaperon economic recovery. By manoeuvring with free-hold deeds in war affected Tamil areas, grants to the Jaffna hospitals and the Rs 1000/day wage to mostly Tamil plantation workers, Ranil seems to have stitched up a lions-share of the aforesaid 30-lakhs of ethnic and religious minority vote. He has however fouled up his reputation by protecting crooks like Arjuna Mahendran and others. The great unknown for him, however, to put it in Rumsfeld Speak, is the Known-Unknown; how many of the country’s radicalised youth of all communities, fed up with the system, will throw their support behind the NPP-JVP. This is still fluid but will become clear as October draws neigh.

Now let’s approach the numbers game from a different angle. When Gota polled 69-lakhs in 2019 Sajith, the principal opponent, polled 56-lakhs which represents the core UNP Sinhala-Buddhist national vote plus UNP voting Ceylon Tamils, up-country Tamils and Muslims, but not Catholics since at that time the silly Archbishop was taken for a stately ride by Gota. Can Sajith retain all of the 56-lakh core Sinhala-Buddhist UNP vote and the newly acquired 5 lakhs of Catholics in the October 2024 election and push Ranil into third place? This is the great-game, the great gamble, for both Sajith and Ranil. We are now therefore well into a cross-class, cross-ethnic and internationally weighted discourse.

Before I squeal my two-cents worth on this matter I need to mention one factor that can bugger the works for Sajith. It is about the opportunists and turn-coats who populate his-party’s top posts – Eran, Harsha, Marika etc. Harsha drools for a cabinet post, Eran like John the Baptist is a bleating voice in the wilderness and as for Marika, only Allah knows his innermost desires. If this bunch of good-for-nothings were to desert Sajith and hightail it back to the mother party, Sajith is kaput. On the other hand, if Sajith and Ranil reach a publicly declared deal (no matter who is PM and who President and for how long each) the combination, I reckon, is unbeatable for even a first-count majority.

The next issue is that we must give our minds to the possibility of a three-cornered tournament. This is not an easy one to judge and I am still working on it – who cares what I think anyway except my ever-forgiving readers? I have recently engaged in conversations with some Sinhala-Sinhala (if you get what I mean) friends. Their point is that Sajith’s hold on people like themselves in the rural areas must not the underestimated. Hela jathika abimane folk in rural areas identify with Sajith not with Ranil. They mentioned the Homagama to Gampaha to Kelani Valley belt and the Southern Province but they were not well informed on Uva, the up-country Sinhalese and Sinhalese in further out like the NCP. To what extent will rural Sinhala folk strike a chord with Sajith which they find absent in Ranil? If Ranil is pushed into third place in a three-cornered contest it is fairly certain that Anura will win, perhaps after a review of second preferences.

JR designed the still in place constitution with a certain point in mind. If the UNP does not come first it will at least come second as the major national party and when second preferences are counted most people will plonk for the UNP. The present is a case in point – how many second preferences of defeated candidates will be in favour the JVP/NPP over a traditional party? JR could not, and could not be expected to, anticipate wild swings like the two Chandrika effects, victory in the civil-war and the Mahinda phenomenon followed by the 2019 Gota phenomenon, and the consequences of Ranasinghe Premadasa’s assassination by the LTTE followed the serial assassination of Lalith and Gamini. The well laid schemes of mice and men, in time, all gang aft a flee.

The 2020 economic debacle, the billions of pending IMF dollars, what I called a “cross-class, cross-ethnic, internationally weighted discourse”, the web of uncivilized political thievery and the need to feed the 225 (Ali Baa baba and a mere forty thieves to tangle with) makes the present a unique conjuncture in our history. For these reasons I am calling for a half-time break before offering an evaluation of whether Sajith will succeed in pushing Ranil into third place in a three-cornered contest. In any case who the devil cares about what I write except a tiny number of English language readers? 

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Latest comments

  • 2
    5

    … will become clear as October draws neigh.
    I thought that these words mean, … will become clear as October draws near.
    I thought that that was cute.
    To confirm my belief, I googled.
    … I see no evidence that ‘near’ could replace neigh.
    Seek help …!

    • 2
      1

      “Neigh” – It was a typo

      I think Prof KD meant “Nigh”

  • 4
    4

    … as for Marika, only Allah knows his innermost desires.
    Allah is in for a tough assignment!

  • 9
    5

    … if Sajith and Ranil reach a publicly declared deal
    There is no chance of a deal. Ranil would not be ready for anything with that ‘scum’!

    • 6
      1

      Nathan,
      It’s the other way around.
      Ranil will deal with almost anyone, as we’ve already seen. But if you look carefully, he doesn’t do deals with the likes of Weerawansa, Jayasumana, etc. But did you notice Weerasekara voted for the CEB Bill yesterday?

      • 2
        2

        old codger,
        I propose to stick to my prediction.
        My reason:
        Despite Ranil’s dictatorial ways, UNP marched on. Sajith rebelled.
        UNP was brought to Nil.

      • 4
        0

        OC,
        .
        Assume for a moment, if AKD is the current president, will the opposition candidates agree with him to pass it in parliament?

        Do we have a nation that will agree with the NPPs in coming days? The obvious answer is “no”.
        .
        If so, we can expect that an AKD-led NPP government in the future will not have any kind of difficulty in passing any kind of bills/agreements in the future government.
        .
        Only a leader who has the skills to deal with various kind of political parties can make some tangible changes in the existing systems of this country.

        That is the ground reality of a south asian country full of more criminals and rascals – that is unique to SOUTH ASIANS (please dont mix it up with south-east-asians)

  • 11
    2

    Much of what this writer prophesied have come to nought over time. This was evident even at the time he decided to pen them as some kind of inside knowledge known only to himself. Now, unlike several years earlier, the people of the land have gradually come to realize that they were mere political footballs played at will by the traditional political crooks and that a new grassroots level movement with genuine commitment was sorely needed. That vacuum is now being filled quickly by the NPP or JVP group. They seem to be the only party that knows the heavy burdens of the vast majority of people and they will surely be elected unless the old, decaying cabal of criminals come up with yet another gimmick to not have elections, in which event a popular uprising ten times the magnitude of the Aragalaya which ousted Gotta must be launched. That would be legitimate and perfectly within the scope of international law and the autocratic dictates of the criminal syndicate will not stand a chance..

  • 14
    3

    With all the “plans”/schemes/stunts/tricks/cunning/moves/double-dealing/ ……. what has Ranil achieved? He could never become president (his mentor JR won a landslide.) That’s the difference between using “talent” for achievement and using poor “imitation” for getting perpetually bogged down.

    When Ranil could finally become president due to a foolish kink in the constitution …… he becomes president with his hands and legs tied-down, nose and mouth wrapped in duct-tape ……. and with a noose around his neck! …….. A classic hostage story: wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

    It’s not difficult to analyse Ranil and his long-term achievements, and where he is heading …….. if a realistic methodology is used …….


    A methodology similar to the following can be used ……. instead of pure emotions …….

    When people look at stocks/shares to invest in …….. they first look at the person at the helm ……. the driving force ……….

    If the person has a large stake in the company and a proven track record ………. people have invested and made easy money. ……… MS, Amazon, Google, META, NVDA, WMT, COST, TSLA, ……… (Check Nick Sleep and Qais Zakaria/ Nomad an Investment Partnership)

    • 12
      3

      cont

      There’s another way …….. share-price, in the long term, will reflect earnings growth. But it’s a slow process: gotta wait a long time. Type and check the max graph/curve NYSE:V ……. you’ll get what I mean. There are hedge-funds that invest only in these types of shares: It’s a lazy way of investing but make good profits due to steady earnings growth of the holdings. Check the holdings of Valley Forge Capital Management.

      There are trillions – in retirement-funds, schools/college endowments etc. – floating around searching for management/investment. And the managers earn a good % of the clients’ investments. The managers become billionaires …… the clients remain millionaires if they are lucky. ……. Check out …..”Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?” ……… https://www.amazon.com/Where-Customers-Yachts-Good-Street/dp/0471770892

      • 11
        1

        cont

        The mangers are always a regular presence in the media ……. that’s how they attract investments. Ray Dalio/Bridgewater, modest results, worth 15 bil. Berkshire Hathaway has never paid a dividend – Americans prefer share-price appreciation to dividends cause dividends are double taxed – but share price has grown astronomically over the years and Warren Buffett is a steady media presence.

        Lankan pols are a steady media presence.

        There is no alternative to unemotional knowledge of the world ……… and it’s inhabitants.

        Future is not difficult to see ………. even without Sumanadasa and the blind boy …….. and their crystal balls …….

        Better stop before ……. Bandarawela overflows with emotions ………

  • 5
    0

    In the current era of social media and Artificial Intelligence, we do not know how much of false/fake informations are going to be floated in order to misguide the voters. It happened in 2019 following the Easter Bombings. Who knows what role of RAW/ CIA/ MOSSAD going to play in the upcoming elections?
    Results of the elections may surprise all of us. There are facts and alternate facts in the media in the printed / social media. The crooked IT people might help the party that pays them well…Cambridge Analytica.
    What’s going to happen to SL elections know one can predict. The best way to Protect& preserve Buddhism is to practice as Buddha desired and NOT what Gnanasara theros like clergies are practising.

  • 3
    10

    The fight is only etween sajit and anura.Ranil is not in the picture at all.Next president -sajit.

    • 5
      0

      Shankar,
      .
      No matter what anyone says or does, in the end SJB, UNP, SLPP, SLFP (sub-groups), CP have to come together and oppose the NPP. The NPP would not be democratic even if it cam be an alternative.
      There are many more cracks within SJB as is in SLPP. It will be like Standing against MR in 2015, they will have to get together to save the country from JVPrs.

      Half or more of SJB’s powerful candidates doubt the SJB leader.
      .
      Even today many disagree with the NPP because they cannot help but be reminded of the barbaric atrocities of the JVP in 89-92.
      Besides, it is clear that the NPP does not have much power within the JVP-NPP alliance.
      Perhaps, if the decisive part of the coalition were NPP, many would have supported them, no doubt about that. JVPrs are real barbarians, no arguments would further be necessary.

      In today’s context, people tend to choose a leader as the lesser devil.

  • 4
    5

    Ranil’s well-laid plans? You mean postponing elections?

    A flaw in your argument, Prof. Kumar, is the asumption that the 69 lakhs who voted for Gota still make one block of votes. And that after taking away the 5 lakh “Catholics” the rest will go as a block to Ranil.

  • 4
    1

    Author:
    “If Ranil is pushed into third place in a three-cornered contest it is fairly certain that Anura will win, perhaps after a review of second preferences.”

    Me thinks that in a three way contest between AKD, Sajith and Anura, AKD and Sajith will take the first two places. If it goes to a second count, the most likely winner is going to be Sajith. Anura, if he is to win, must win on the first count. My reason is that those who vote for Ranil are more likely to give Sajith, not AKD, the second preference and vice versa.

    • 0
      2

      Sorry, “in a three way contest between AKD, Sajith and Ranil….”

    • 2
      0

      LJ first count or over 45%.
      Many RW voters may not mark a second preference, which is more likely to be SP except a few who want to punish SP.

    • 0
      4

      Dear Leonard, and also Professor Kumar,
      .
      It is possible that nobody will get 50%. You must surely know some government servants who have been counting votes. My counting of votes was pre-1980, and I never counted Executive Presidential votes.
      .
      I have now checked with some people who have counted Presidential Election Results. Fewer than 1% of voters cast Preferential Votes. It will not be difficult, of controversial for you to ask those who have been counting votes.
      .
      I am biased in favour of AKD, but I grant the possibility that he will not top the list on the first round. If he comes second after the count of the “kathires” (or the Number Ones – see the link I give below), he is done for!
      .
      https://www.sundaytimes.lk/191020/news/1-2-3-or-x-polls-chief-explains-voting-procedure-374161.html
      .
      It is true that the way Mahinda Deshapriya talks in that article, he says that the Preferred method is to mark 1, and 2 and 3. That’s he way the system was designed to work, and he therefore advocates that.
      .
      Why on earth doesn’t Jaffna Man give us his observations on what is simply guidance on procedure? He has to know!

      • 0
        0

        SM:
        “I am biased in favour of AKD, but I grant the possibility that he will not top the list on the first round. If he comes second after the count of the “kathires” (or the Number Ones – see the link I give below), he is done for!”

        I think that even if AKD comes first in the first count but still doesn’t get over 50% of the votes, there is a good chance for Sajith to win provided the gap between him and AKD is not great. In recent opinion polls they are running virtually neck and neck.

  • 5
    0

    An assessment of current opportunities of the main contenders for political power need to be made on developments in the country following the Aragalaya which has drastically changed the landscape. The NPP has analysed the situation deeply and has spread its influcence into all sectors of the people, communities, professionals, ex-servicemen and so on. Of course it has to go a long way in harnessing the support of Tamils and Muslims in which the latter population is gradually moving towards to NPP. With at least 70% of Gota’s 69 lakhs already in the bags of the NPP the balance of probability is with the NPP>

  • 3
    0

    The dirty JRJ or those who designed the constitution not only produced dirty politics of mad executive presidents and constant amendments to save the criminality of their crook parliament members. The second and third preferences is more ridiculous than any other matters. Considering this factor it is possible that Rajapakasa can come again as the president if he joins the race purely on the basis of second or third preferences.

    • 0
      3

      Ajith, Amendments to save the criminality of crooks will finally be judged.. There is no way out for these listed in the bible in Rev.21,8 as “unbelievers, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, liars etc. except being away from the presence of a loving creator God and inside hell.

  • 8
    5

    Prof. KD
    If sajith is a good politician and knows what is good for him, he will figure it out that his best chances are to align himself with Ranil.
    Nobody wants to rock the boat. Ranil will win this election. Once he wins you will see his true colours.
    Ranil will deal with the mafia and sanitise the rotten system.
    Let us not spoil a system that is working in spite of its ups and downs.
    Ranil is the Man.
    AKD is good as the opposition. They will continue to cry blue murder for the slightest thing and that will keep Ranil in check.
    AKD is not good as a ruling party and Ranil is not good as an opposition.
    Think about it…

    • 0
      3

      Politician _Good, _ Not realistic.
      Ranil _ Sajith, _ Not happening.
      Ranil _ Man, _ Was he ever.
      AKD _ Opposition, _ Until when.

      • 3
        1

        Nathan,
        Sajith is good at running away, don’t you think?

      • 3
        0

        Uncle Nathan,
        .
        “AKD _ Opposition, _ Until when.”

        Until Economic revival is achieved for new dawn of politics. The most thought provoking challenge is to save the country from the ongoing economic debacle. All others can follow after the high priority issues are done.
        :
        That is why all parties should get together at this highly critical juncture of the country for getting passed all crucial kind of new laws and reforms for a better journey.

        We know it undoubtedly, People are corurpted and politicians are their represenatives, but being out of the mechnism, not joining hands with the current context, would only make more divisions between the NPP and anti-NPP. I am very pessimitic about a better future with JVP led NPP:

    • 2
      1

      Human Touch, you are absolutely right. Once Ranil wins, he will show his true colors and of course, he will deal with the mafia and the rotten system, which he cannot do now. His priority now is the economy. He does not want to rock the boat and go after the crooks whose support he needs to put the economy on track. That, most Sri Lankans do not understand since they have been truly brainwashed by the NPP/JVP. Sajith if gets elected, will not be any different from Gota!

  • 3
    4

    If Ranil truly wants to serve the country honestly and to turn around the economic condition, then why not he come to an arrangement with Sajith to allow Sajith to be the President and Ranil to be the PM? This would save face for both and allow SJB to join UNP again without any loss of face. On Ranil’s part, he would be recognized by the citizens as a selfless, true politician who cares only about the country. Once this combined UNP comes to power, the constitution can be changed to abolish the Presidency and give the power over to the PM Ranil. Next election Sajith can contest as the PM.

    • 3
      0

      I think as outsiders, we can easily point the finger at politicians for getting used to it.
      But it seems very difficult to gather all the forces before them in leading the country.
      I pray that the honorable Imtiaz Bakir Markar will be the future leader of this country. Please listen to the below dialogue and decide for yourself (in sinhala).
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz2cDTVCqFg

      • 4
        1

        LM,
        “I pray that the honorable Imtiaz Bakir Markar will be the future leader”
        Not until all the Mahanayakas have converted to Islam 🤣🤣🤣

    • 5
      0

      Buddhist 1
      If Sajith is such a good and competent candidate, why didn’t he accept the opportunity that was given to him by Gota at the height of Aragalaya?
      Sajith chickened our and AKD chickened out taking the responsibility of rebuilding a country that was drowning because they knew they were incapable of initiating an economic recovery.
      Ranil had the courage to take the challenge head on and he has shown his colours. Not only economically, the country has progressed in many other aspects such as little or no racial hatred, crime levels have been driven down, police brutally is low, drug and illicit liqueur sales have been curtailed, services are operating at optimal, halted projects have been energised, etc. Gnanasara is back in Jail…
      What else do you want?

      • 0
        2

        Human Touch,

        Sajith did not chicken out, he gave conditions under which he wanted to take over. Ranil on the other hand fell at Gota’s feet without any condition and took over.

        Sajith did not want to rule with the crooks on board, but Ranil… you know very well has kept all the crooks of SLPP with him and even brought in all the crooks of UNP who were kicked out by the voters as advisors. Today Ranil cannot do anything without Ravi Karunanayake.

        Therefore Ranil is no comparison to Sajith.

        • 1
          0

          Buddhist 1
          If you can remember, the first thing Gota did run away when things got heated.
          Why didn’t Sajith take over when Gota ran away?
          Let me save you the trouble of searching for silly answers, nobody thought that it was possible to salvage SL from the mess it was in.
          Ranil and AKD may talk the talk but they certainly can’t walk the walk…

  • 2
    0

    Stalin once said that the people who cast their votes don’t determine the new Government, its the people who count the votes that matter. And anything is possible in Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      1

      P,
      If he had said it, it was fantastic foresight.
      It happened in a presidential election in the US in which George Bush (jr) got elected and a large number of Black votes were rejected.

  • 3
    0

    Human Touch, you are absolutely right. Once Ranil wins, he will show his true colors and of course, he will deal with the mafia and the rotten system, which he cannot do now. His priority now is the economy. He does not want to rock the boat and go after the crooks whose support he needs to put the economy on track. That, most Sri Lankans do not understand since they have been truly brainwashed by the NPP/JVP. Sajith if gets elected, will not be any different from Gota!

    • 0
      3

      Rathnavali,

      Yes, Ranil will show his true colours by adding back all the crooks as advisors. Even today he is at the feet of Basil whom he called Mr.10% and kisses Mahinda’s hands and rules with all the crooks of SLPP.

      Ranil has no colour to show only darkness.

      • 3
        0

        Buddhist11, You talk as if you are a clairvoyant! Do you have a supernatural ability to see what is happening in the inner circles of the government? If not, how did you see Ranil at Basil’s feet and kissing Mahinda’s hands? People like you who assume things based on what appears on the surface or on what others say, are the ones who got Gota elected last time having got carried away by all the beautiful stories his supporters spun. Now we have NPP/JVP almost beating their chests and guaranteeing a corruption free country when AKD takes over (probably with terror tactics that JVP used in the past) and Sajith woefully lacking experience in governance ridiculing Ranil who was once his leader, both taking the people for a ride! Sad, that people in this country get easily be swayed by words.

        • 2
          0

          Ratnavali,
          A balanced comment. Thank you. Most people don’t seem to get what’s behind the scenes.
          We will get to read more in the coming days as to why RW suddenly flew to India today. India’s rival China will attack us again and will have to face some consequences as a result.
          We are football between China and India.
          Curse go to the improper behaviours of Rajapakshe rascals and their betrayals.
          If things had proceeded as the late Mrs. B thought right (offline race), it would have been much to our advantage.
          .
          Btw, minority votes and SLPP-slave voters are both mandatory to win an election in our hell. Considering all the new developments, it is not conceivable that the NPP will win the next election. No matter what anyone says or advertises, N-E and plantation are not for NPP.
          .
          DTG is the only person among us who has supernatural powers. He says nothing without looking it up in his Bible.
          .

        • 1
          0

          Thank you, Rathnavali.
          .
          I am glad there are rational thinkers like you who are not easily swayed by emotions. As you have rightly pointed out, many people in this country are deceived by listening to nonsense and making crucial decisions without critical thinking.
          No wonder Sri Lanka is still a developing country even after 75 years+ after independence.

      • 1
        0

        Buddhist 1
        Does Basil and Mara own Sri Lanka?
        If not why should Ranil worship them?
        If yes, how do they get their power?

  • 0
    0

    Before SAJITH Fouling up the plan of RANIL RAUF HAKEEN,RISHARD BADURDEEN AND MANO GANESAN And company may FOUL UP SAJITH at the last moment.Right now know body can feel the pules the real situation of political leaders as far as PRESIDENT ELECTIONS ARE CONCERNED.

  • 0
    0

    If not for his dad, who was once the President, Sajith would have faded away quickly.
    Ranil offered him a low pedestal just to keep votes in tact. To contrast Sajith with Ranil is outrageous.

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