By Malinda Seneviratne –
Someone said that Ranil Wickremesinghe had ordered his ‘cut-outs’ to be dismantled. I haven’t seen any RW cut-outs. So if an order had been issued it must have been on the following lines: ‘Make sure there are no cut-outs of me!’
Whether any of this happened we do not know. One thing is certain: a Ranil Wickremesinghe larger-than-life would not attract. If a move was made, it was wise. If a move hasn’t been made, that’s wise too.
What’s disappointing is that RW hasn’t rapped the knuckles of the cut-out heroes in his party. It is disappointing because these very same worthies were howling not too long ago about Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cut-outs. Some of them said that cut-outs take away from the city’s beauty, never mind that they didn’t attribute the ‘beauty’ part of it to the very regime they vilified. But they were right. Beautification is no license for subsequent desecration.
It is funny, really. There’s Wijedasa Rajapakshe claiming that he is the Wise Man of the Parliament. ‘ප්රාඥයා’ (‘Praagnayaa’) actually translates as ‘intellectual’ but ‘wise man’ somehow goes better with the pomposity. This ‘wise man’ held membership in two political parties, both representing both the lumpen proletariat and the lumpen bourgeoisie.
He uttered not a word of protest about the dictatorial nature of the UNP Constitution. Nothing about the Central Bank bond issue. His intellect, sorry wisdom, appeared to have gone to sleep when Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed three party loyalists to inquire into the bond matter which implicated a hand-picked Governor and a hand-picked chairman of a bank who was also a party man. He went along with his leader’s attempt to institute an all powerful executive prime ministership in place of the much vilified all powerful executive presidency. He did his bit, wisely, to help scuttle electoral reform. He looked the other way when his party dumped the Right to Information Act. Wise. Very wise.
Then there’s Sujeewa Senasinghe, the copper-colored MP who has done nothing of significance in or out of Parliament. He claims or rather he has got his minions to claim that he is our future. One worries. Period.
Oh, Ravi! That’s Ravi K. K for Karunanayake. He’s a big boy. He’s gone to town. Lee Kuan Yew described Sri Lankan politics as a periodic auctioning of non-existent resources. He got it all wrong. Ravi K is bragging about doing what he has not done as though the doing/not-doing was all done with his own money even as the said money is essentially public funds. He’s a master at taking credit for what other people have (claimed to have) done. Check the hoardings. It’s Ravi who brought down prices (they are all up now, but that’s another matter) of less than a dozen items, some of which hardly figure in the average consumer’s desirable-list. He brought down the price of fuel, he would have us believe. He’s done everything.
And he’s cute. He’s even inserted a picture of the President (leader of the SLFP and not UNP, let us not forget) to decorate his brag. Smart. He is Mr Generosity Unlimited. Lovely.
Then there’s Upul Shantha Sannasgala grabbing the walls for his campaign. He’s used to it, being a well-known tuition master who has been peddling his wares in much the same way for several decades now.
There are others and no doubt we’ll see other wise and generous people from other parties including those who claim they too are our future laughing at us from walls and hoardings. But those other parties were supposed to be like that. The UNP was supposed to be different.
How could we forget Harin Fernando. He came to Colombo with a bunch of people. They came in ‘CTB buses’. Harin no doubt would have hired these buses. They remain public property though. Harin’s face was plastered all over those buses. That’s ‘difference’? A ‘better political culture’? What does the Wise Man say? What does the philanthropist say? What does the Man of the Future say?
So what has changed from the Rajapaksa days, huh?