6 July, 2022


Chances Of A UNP Breakup Are 0% & SLFP’s More Than 50%

By Vishwamithra1984

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honor.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

The real and potential fractures that erupted within the United National Party (UNP) are of a totally different texture and character from those of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The real breakup of the UNP occurred when Bandaranaike left the party in 1951 and formed the SLFP. It engendered drastic national consequences. In a historical context, this breakup was construed as alogical necessity. The UNP was being led by the mercurial Sir John Kotelawala and as far as the UNP was concerned, whatever Kotelawala touched turned into dust.He had lost the trust and confidence of the electorate. The social and political capital that D S Senanayake built, Sir John managed to squander in a couple of years. His excessive subservience to matters that were British and the Colombo-elitehelped further darken the image of the Party and the masses fled it in flocks. The 1956-transformation owed its electoral results to Sir John’s mismanagement of politics as much as to the congregation of the fivefold forces- Sanga, Veda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru. The 1951-fracture within the UNP fundamentally changed the socio-political profile of Sri Lanka. A great majority of the rural sector left the UNP, some, never to come back.ranil-sajith-navin

Even though the country’s economy was on a stable footing, a profound lack of empathy on the part of the UNP’s leadership towards the commoner was skillfully exploited by Bandaranaike and his Sinhalese-Buddhist coalition. The ‘Swabhasha’ cry could not have had a more fertile ground to take root in than the time when the UNP was being led by Sir John. It was totally divorced from the general masses. Not a very encouraging prospect for a party that governed the country for nine unbroken years. Despite the electoral collapse of the UNP in ’56, the party retained its unity thanks to the foresight and strategic approach J R adopted during these years. While being outside parliament after his humiliating defeat at Kelaniya, J R managed to keep the UNP together and later invited Dudley Senanayake, who had already retired from politics, to lead it.

Voted back into power in 1965, the UNP showed some minor crevices in its unity but held on as one single political party. In the early ‘70s, after the electoral debacle in 1970, the rift between Dudley Senanayake and J R Jayewardene did not burst into a breakup of the party although the left leaders and the SLFP at the time wished it did. With the death of Dudley, the UNP became a different party. Under J R, the succession of the party leadership was decided on a brand new process and J R ensured that the membership and its hierarchical echelons had a decisive say in the process. When, in late 1976, he summoned all party electoral organizers to Sirikotha and asked them to nominate a committee of 10 in their preferential order, they knew what J R had in mind. No other political party or its leader would have had either the guts or the foresight to promote a man of Premadasa’s social credentials as its leader. But the UNP and its leader paved the way for it and the way in which Premadasa conducted the affairs of government and party politics is another matter. Yet the mantle of leadership falling on the shoulders of a real ‘commoner’ such as R Premadasa was unparalleled in Sri Lanka’s caste-ridden political history.

The next grave crack in the UNP appeared in 1991 when an unsuccessful Impeachment motion was brought against President Premadasa by a powerful group of Ministers in the then Cabinet.
But the ouster of Gamini, Lalith, Premachandra and other stalwarts who led the impeachment process, signaled a serious splintering in the UNP. It aggravated the instability of the Party further when the breakaways formed the Democratic United National Front (DUNF). Some of the UNP supporters who left the Party and joined the DUNF never came back. One main reason for the UNP to have been rotting in the Opposition benches was this crack in the UNP. Yet in the wake of the assassination of President Premadasa, Gamini came back to the UNP and assumed its de facto leadership in the most unconventional way. And after Gamini’s assassination by the LTTE, the UNP suffered further. Yet under most trying circumstances, Ranil Wickremesinghe kept the Party intact.

Now the tussle before the UNPers is clear. One day, Premadasa’s son Sajith and Gamini’s son Navin might make an attempt to usurp leadership of the party. One might argue that even Ruwan Wijewardene, the grandson of D R Wijewardene, the media mogul in the first half of the 20th Century might have a fighting chance. This setting of succession has to be taken in a different context. Both Sajith and Navin came into politics after the demise of illustrious fathers; Ruwan entered politics with no ‘accident-of-birth’ tag either. Nor can Sajith and Navin be classified as ‘accident-of-birth’ politicians, for when they entered the arena, their fathers had already passed away and were not nursed or nourished by a power-hungry relative. They were elected to parliament on their own steam. The path that they decide to travel hereafter is entirely theirs. In a very profound sense, their election to office is not owed to their fathers, although that memory might have helped them.

In this context of succession, the pronouncement made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the leadership of his Party on the need for a second level leadership is significant. Unlike the SLFP, the UNP has had a very decent and democratic way of electing its recent leaders. Both Premadasa and then Gamini assumed de facto leadership of the party via an election held among the parliamentarians or would-be parliamentarians. Even Ranil Wickremesinghe was confirmed as Leader of the UNP after a bitterly fought-out election in 2011. Such steadfast adherence to democratic principles may have gone unnoticed by many but its validity and legitimacy in the current political climate is substantial. Its significance against a backdrop of good governance, transparency, accountability and law and order or lack thereof should be noted by all those who profess to safeguard these democratic values.

Nevertheless, family-centered rule should be unequivocally condemned because the inherent dangers of such rule were amply illustrated during the last twenty years. Democracy is not only an amazing method of governance, but it also provides the players and spectators, in equal measure, with a sense of balance. Those who are mindful of history, who are willing to forgive the wrongs done unto them by their rivals but not forget the damages such wrongs had caused to them, are invariably more successful in the long run. Both leading parties are now led by two gentlemen who do not have any family members to pass the baton to.

In this regard, what Navin Dissanayake, Minister of Plantation Industries aired out a couple of weeks ago is noteworthy. His resolute stand not to release the funds, specifically allocated to the Sri Lanka Tea Board by courtesy of Gazette Extraordinary 1677/14 of October 27, 2010, to the Treasury apparently has prevailed. His posture to resign from the Ministry should not be taken frivolously. Whatever Navin’s plusses and minuses are, he is blessed with that rare attribute of ‘strategic recklessness‘ of his father, Gamini Dissanayake. In political annals, those who dare display ‘strategic recklessness’, ‘sustained rashness’ or ‘controlled aggression‘, whatever one calls it, against ‘political correctness’, a posture assumed by run-of-the-mill politicians of today, survive to triumph. Chances are, when one takes such a stance against personal odds would always become triumphant if such recklessness is not a misplaced expression of anger or hatred. Jawaharlal Nehru once said that ‘the policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all’.

However, there is one cardinal precept that these three young men, Sajith, Navin and Ruwan need to observe: They have to deliver. No delivery, no gain, period. The UNP is in an enviable position with its second level-leadership. Apart from the aforementioned three, any political party would like to boast about the likes of Harrison, Akila Viraj, Ravi Karunanayake, , Kabir Hashim and Sagala Ratnayake in its midst. Both R Premadasa and Gamini Dissanayake delivered on their promises. D R Wijewardene and his son Ranjith were proven business tycoons. They were outstandingly competent and efficient managers of the jobs they had to perform. While Premadasa performed remarkably well as a micro-manager, Gamini was the total opposite, a manager who generated results by consensual covenant and delegation of authority. Both were accepted by the masses as men of superlative capacity and unmatched determination to pursue their respective political goals. Given the above circumstances and in terms of the analysis per my previous column, the chances of a UNP breakup are close to 0% and those of the SLFP are more than 50%.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 4

    Hello Visamaithra;

    It is not break-up of SLFP at all, do not attempt to hoodwink people with misinformation. It is the convergence of two political unholy groups that destroyed Hon.D.S.Senanayake and his dream of a democratic peaceful nation on earth.

    The two scoundrels who led these two unholy political forces are SWRDB and JRJ. So it is SWRDB faction and JRJ faction. SLFP was the offshoot of UNP. After the death of DSS,DS and JK, the UNP should have assumed the name JRUNP.

  • 4

    “Bodi Sira is an invertebrate ” said Ven Omalpe Sobitha , who leased out JHU, Champakaya and Monk Ratne to the Diaspora, UNP London and the UN to give us Yahapalanaya,

    If the Colombo Pollsters follow Sira’s general Sec .Dumiya, they will be hard pressed to give Sira Faction 10 percent.

    But more interesting is the UNP duo Navin and Ruwan,

    Although the writer put Sajith also there as the Gen X UNP leadership to look after the Sinhala Buddhist Faction, the third one is an absolute waste.

    The way he carries on now , he is not not suitable for even a Pradeshiya Saba gig under Batalanada Ranl’s new Federal Thing.., let alone a Leadership role to look after the SBs..

    The second group of Vishwamithra seems well rounded to continue Batalanada’s Policies. with the enforcer from the St Lucia Parish in Bloemendhal Road.

    And Kabir and Harrison in the midst.

    By the way where is Ammata Digital Harin and the Colombo Elite’s Pin Up boy Lottery winning Senasinghe?.

    The latter specially, after boasting that he was the highest scorer after Ranil in the heartland of Colombo Elite, Anglicans and the Vellalas.

    • 1

      Vishvamithra is very calculated and sophisticated in his writing.

      He is a typical Konduru thel seller in a street corner.

      • 0

        It was obvious from the outset that this Konduru Thel veda was planted by childhood alliance of two well known politician representing SWRDB and JR faction of UNP. Readers should not be be surprised , if this Konduru Thel or Sunaka Veda appears in politics.

  • 1

    How sad.

    The leaders that Vishwamithra1984 envisages to take charge of the UNP to manage the country are lacklustre and nothing remarkable. A case of more of the same. As far as I can see a real leader with strength and vision is still to emerge in the Sri Lankan political landscape. The SLFP are full of rogues and fraudsters and the best rogue and fraudster will prevail as the leader. In the UNP no one has a backbone and ever so willing to set aside principles for an immediate personal benefit. The UNP are even happy cohabiting with plenty of fraudsters from the enemy camp who My3 invited to join the National Government (sic). Doing deals with the devil is no problem for all politicians in Sri Lanka. Only the other day Ranil succumbed to the appeal of the Sinhala Buddhist supremacists. And My3 was ever so quick to endorse same. No matter who takes over which party or which party will break up to form other parties, lacklustre and gutless political leaders are bound to lead the country to more strife, more divisions among the people and destine Sri Lanka to a failed state ad continuum.

  • 1

    Sweet to see Sajith there with the “Wife” of the Hon PM. Major General Kamal Gunaratne a true war hero spoke about Hon Ranasinghe Premedasa’s act of TREASON supplying loads and loads of weapons and ammunition to LTTE terrorists. How does Sajith and Hon PM sleep at night? Hon PM was a senior minister too and they all humiliated our brave lads with this act of TREASON. Keep smiling. We do not care about the SLFP; they are falling apart because they all abetted unbridled corruption and dictatorship under the Rajapakses and their power grab. This included Sirisena our Hon President. But Rajapakses did not supply weapons to LTTE only money to trick them.

    • 2

      But Rajapakses did not supply weapons to LTTE only money to trick them.

      Above statement is not true. Rajapakse was in full agreement with LTTe. Just the way CBK was protecting her children from LTTE, Mahinda Rajapakse protected Naml from LTTE.

      War was something he did not face willingly. He just had to. He was just lucky some one was there to lead the war administrativly.

  • 0

    It looks vishvamithra has good experience in selling Konduru thel in street corners. He look like a UNP supporter.

    His list of prospective candidates are all to destroy Srilanka. One candidate recently, did not waat to give the $ 60 million to the treasure, instead he wanted to keep it for his own needs. The other one is promoting his father at the expense of the govt money.

    They also have history of stealing govt properties and selling overseas, another one buying apple orchards in australia.

    what kind of vision these people have except they are the chosen one for Sri lanka as their fathers are politicians. So dumb children of politicians will governthe country, or every time a dynasty rules the country.

    vultures are there to promote it.

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 1

    Sarath Fonseka will upend all these losers. When Ranil, Sira and Mangala mega drama comes to a close with a resounding loss at the referendum for the constitution, there will be a call for a Jathika figure to take the lead. SF will fit in well. He will hijack the UNP, he will ring a chord to as the head of UNP because of the anti LTTE credentials with the majority. So anyone thinking of SF sitting their to just bark is all mistaken. He will stand for the next election as the Presidential candidate of UNP.

  • 1

    Hello Visamithra;

    You have stated;

    “His excessive subservience to matters that were British and the Colombo-elitehelped further darken the image of the Party and the masses fled it in flocks”

    You are wrong and what people and true UNPers were led to believe is wrong. The UNP history has been written by a bunch of dirt-bags, who plotted to destroy Hon. D.S.Senanayake and his family.

    Defeat of the UNP was engineered by J.R.Jayawardene, a sworn enemy of Senanayakes. Knowing very well that Dudley Senanyake was a gentleman and didn’t have enough stamina to deal with political scheming, JR engineered Hartal of 1953 through a very destructive and unpleasant budget.

    My analysis of the behavior of JR Jayawardene, confirms he deliberately without the full approval and blessings of Dudley Senanyake introduced much dreaded Budget to destroy Senanyakes including Sir John Kotalawela from the seat of power in Colombo.

    Every anti UNP move was initiated within the UNP by JR Jayawardene and SWRDB clans. Even now your predictions are well crafted by these two families. Sometimes, I wonder how you have got similar dirty traits of crafty politicians of Sri Lanka. Stop, pretending to be an independent messenger.

  • 1

    Even now your predictions are well crafted by these two families. Sometimes, I wonder how you have got similar dirty traits of crafty politicians of Sri Lanka. Stop, pretending to be an independent messenger.

    The way, I understand vishvamithra, he is trying to become one that he should not be. He also thinks western literature and western writers are best of the best and following some one’s lead by quoting some western literature.

    He should understand asian philosophy has better things. That is, as I said earlier, failure of the Sinhale education.

    the name you got Vishvamithra is wrong. I think you have mixed living like a buddhist with politics. Politics is power. your spiritual principals don’t have space here. That is why even Buddha stayed away from politics.

    “Vishvamithra” principal doesn’t work because most are greedy. today, most would kill another just to get something from them. So, vishvamithra you have to separate issues. Talk fitting things.

    Both SLFP and UNP are okd parties and they need changing to the present needs. UNP has done better things to Sri lanka than SLFP.

    SWRD and CBK destroyed Sinhala buddhist civilization. UNP has not that bad even though UNP is right now the Christian party in Sri lanka.

    Ranil always write about economy, ten million jobs, technology development. But, in action, he gets loans from all over the world, from every country, increase taxes to poor, privatize govt institutions that can be profitable, his FCID prosecute only rajapakses, continue buying luxury vehicles to fish politcians, increase their salaries arbitrarily.

    Yet, Ranil wickramsinghe has not done anything useful to the country.
    Still, there is no disciplinary code for politicians, there is no rules to regulate how politicians get donations. Right now, poiticians are keeping govt money without giving it to the treasury. You appriciate those. Still politicians contiinue stealing.

    He says, he ie providng jobs, but, privatize profitable institutions.

    future politicians – who are the dumb children of former politician will follow these and further bankrupt the country.

  • 0

    If SLFP breaks the curse of that will fall on MY3. Chaura Regina got a contract to oust MR by picking someone from SLFP who wears national dress and putting him against MR. MY3 says that he decided to leave the government in 2011. This is a bloody lie. Then why the hell he advised MR not to hold election in 2014. He decided to leave because MR refused to give him PM post. If he got it, he would have stayed with MR and probably the second in the list Bimal S would have betrayed MR and contested against MR. Chaura Regina’s assignment is to keep Bonil in power by destroying SLFP. That is what her pay master wants.

  • 2

    JR conspired to oust Dudley in the early 1970s and even approached the SLFP to join. He was lucky that the leadership fell when Dudley died. As for your promotion of an elite rich English speaking Ruwan W; it is FALSE; He was chosen because of his loyalty to RW and the fact that they are RELATED via the Wijewardenes. So stop speaking falsehoods. Ruwan like his cousin Shalitha Wijesundere(Prof Stanley’s second son) who was a failure as SLFP organizer for Kelaniya are all relations of RW’s. Rohan was made a Director of Apollo Hospitals by Ranil too. Only because of the relationship. And you all shouted about Gota who was appointed and stepped down after the loss; all sorts of lies were spread by the UNP about how Gota owned Apollo hospitals. What rubbish.

    Ruwan was promoted via DailyMirror. There was a time last year, almost on a daily basis his father’s newspaper Dailymirror kept putting photos of the British Educated(could not get into SL’s Unis) in the paper to promote him in a not so subtle way. RW appointed him as a State Minister for Defense for a reason too. So stop being a Tom-Tom beater for your party.

  • 0

    A party is opposition and in the government is a unique experiment in democracy. It boils down as to who leads. High time to revert back to the usual “government and opposition” format.

    The opposition SLFP must join the government SLFP or breakaway.

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