3 March, 2021

Blog

Defeat Of Ranil Is A Win For UNP

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The long-drawn and futile battle of Ranil Wickremesinghe to deny Sajith Premadasa, his deputy, the rightful place in the presidential race finally ended yesterday. Ranil fired all his ammunition to eliminate Sajith. But Sajith fought back strategically to outwit Ranil and end the 27-year-old reign of a cardboard leader who led the UNP to nowhere. The inner struggle for power was between the popular will of the UNP represented by Sajith and Ranil’s one-man will backed by the Working Committee packed with his henchmen. In the end the popular will won. Sajith’s victory will mark the end of Ranil and the beginning of a new era for the UNP. After President Ranasinghe Premadasa who reinvigorated the UNP with the grass root forces the UNP fell into the hands of D. B. (Deaf and Blind) Wijetunga. UNP never recovered as a viable political entity in the post-Premadasa era which was dominated by Ranil.

Two factors led to the steady decline of the UNP after President Premadasa: 1. the LTTE decimated the promising leaders like Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake; 2. the misguided and the failed leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe who thought he could swim upstream running counter to centuries of Sinhala-Buddhist history. The only right decision he made in his entire career was to back President Premadasa. But in his mulish way he decided to go against the Sajith wave rolling in. When the formidable forces within the UNP and outside were militating against Ranil’s kleptocratic kakistocracy — and swinging as an unstoppable wave towards Sajith — his moral, political and pragmatic duty should have been to bow out gracefully. Instead he waited till he was kicked out of the presidential race once again. As usual, he never could read the signs of the times.

Sadly, he will carry to his grave the disgraceful record of being rejected by his own Party not once, not twice, but three times. For the third time the UNP has rejected him as their preferred candidate to lead the Party to fight the big political battle for the Presidency. In doing so – once again — the UNPers have agreed that he was a born loser who could never win the trust of the people to be their leader. In the past they kept him as the leader of the Party partly because there was no one in the bankrupt UNP to give better leadership and partly because he had manipulated the party machine to beat any opposition and hang on to power. So they gave him chance after chance to prove that he can deliver. But he failed.

His desperation to hang on to power is pathetic. Even when the tide was going against him for the third time his last move was to lay down conditions, hoping to retain power by curtailing those of Sajith. But it was a futile counter move. Sajith refused to yield to Ranil’s underhand conditions to retain his grip on power. Ranil should know that two tigers can’t hunt in the same mountain. In any case, surrender was inevitable because as Presidential candidate, or in the event of his becoming President, Sajith will have greater power than Ranil as the leader of the UNP. From now on Ranil will have to play only the second fiddle. From now on Sajith will have the upper hand. He will play the role of the maestro conducting the UNP orchestra.

Furthermore, the political forces that matter will turn to Sajith, if he wins the presidency, and not to the leader of the UNP. Sajith as President will command greater power than Ranil as the Party leader. Besides, there is the possibility of the Party sticking to the constitution of the Party and granting the Party leadership to Sajith. However, if Ranil retains the party leadership he will, in his usual crafty ways, try to create two centers of loyalty. But he will lose hands down to Sajith who will invariably be the central magnet of political power.

Ranil’s last resort will be to win the Premiership at the parliamentary elections. He will then use his newly gained constitutional powers granted to the Premier’s office as a foil to the President. But the chances of Ranil winning a majority in Parliament are as likely as him winning the presidency in the next election. The mathematical calculations that go to decide a parliamentary election are totally different from that of a presidential election. According to statistical analyses, Mahinda Rajapaksa has a lead over Ranil as of now.

As things stands now, Ranil is doomed. He has lost his chance in the Presidential election. And his chances of winning the Premiership are zilch. He must recognize even at this late stage that his used by date is over. The Party had given him enough chances to prove himself as a leader. The UNP has been very patient and generous to him. But what has he given the UNP, except defeat and ignominy?

Sajith’s victory is more than a personal victory over a crafty manipulator who had tried to undercut him all the way. His victory is symbolic representing that of the new generation of UNPers. They are tired of the old generation led by Ranil. The wave that swept the rank and file and lifted Sajith into leadership indicates a total rejection of the old leadership. Ranil’s in particular. The voting public was not so much against the UNP as against the Ranil. The coming of Sajith has washed away some of the sins committed by Ranil. The disillusioned pro-UNPers can now go to the polls with some hope.

Though Sajith has leapt over the head of Ranil into the highest seat the Party can offer he remains as an untested, unknown and unpredictable quantity. He is yet to prove his caliber and mettle in the larger arena of global and local politics. He is yet to prove that he can throw out a David Gladstone, the meddlesome British High Commissioner who poked his unwanted finger in the domestic politics. Despite the fact that he has been a part of the UNP apparatus that committed some of the biggest crimes of times he seems to be a better alternative to Ranil. He can be classified as the best of the bad lot. He seems to be keeping a safe distance away from the pro-West, pro-Indian line almost akin to that of his father. Part of the appeal in Sajith personality – his policies are yet to be spelt out – is his closeness to the grass roots. His housing programs are reminiscent of his father delivering goods and services to the villages and the grass-roots. Sajith’s affinity with the people and the sangha is viewed by the Sinhala-Buddhist electorate as being more genuine than the thick pirith noola tied in Ranil’s hand. One of the biggest failures in Ranil’s politics has been his failure to raise his image above the level of a hollow man with his head filled with straw. He has been a fake and – poor fellow! – he will continue to look like a fake Sinhala-Buddhist even if he shaves his head and comes out in public wearing yellow robes.

Kabir Hashim, the Chairman of the UNP, has exposed Ranil’s fake politics in his latest interview with the Sunday Observer (22/9/2019) As everyone knows, Ranil’s cheap trick has been to appoint committees whenever he is confronted with a problem. His latest was to appoint a committee of four leading UNPers to decide on who should be chosen as the leader when the answer was so obvious even to a blind man’s dog. Kabir’s comments, by implication, pours scorn on Ranil’s fake move to find a leader on the recommendation of his hand-picked committee.

So asked him: What is the update on the committee appointed to select the UNF candidate, in which you are also a member?

A. “I think that committee is a red herring. The Prime Minister never called up the committee report. I have prepared a report. Myself and Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara spoke to the minority parties and UNP MPs. We have also got data and information on the best course of action for the UNP at the upcoming election, and we have been ready with the report.

The Prime Minister has nominated Rajitha Senaratne and Dinesh Weerakkody to represent him in the committee. At yesterday’s party leaders meeting at Temple Trees, the committee report was not even referred to.

The report was to be a collective effort. It should have been made together but the others were not attending the meetings so we made a report on our own. It was finalised after a series of discussions with our alliance members, all UNP MPs, and after weighing in the information and data of the current political scenario”.

This comment of the Chairman of the UNP exposes Ranil as a fraud and a fake. Kabir laments that the whole exercise of appointing committee was a waste of time. It was futile exercise which served no one, least of Ranil. It was not even referred to in the end, says Kabir. Committees are appointed by Ranil as dilatory tactics or to divert attention. He has no intention of reading the reports, or following it up, or taking action on them. He uses them to bury the issues which he has no intention of solving or dealing with them. He hopes everyone will forget it and save him from facing the issues as a leader should. He has been surviving in politics by appointing committees to dodge issues. How can a leader who appoints committees to solve problems dismiss them without even reading, or studying, or making any references to them when it comes to decision-making? How can one respect a leader who appoints committees to deceive the people? The people saw through him and never trusted him.

Sajith, on the contrary, seems to be a man of action. He can’t go wrong if he is capable of taking the Party and the administration to the people. And also if he is committed to the work ethic of his father. President Premadasa had to face the revolt of the Kurunduwatte cricket-playing gang in the cooked up impeachment saga. The impeachment even accused him of being insane. The English-speaking elite, thriving in the middle class, was against him. Premadasa came from the football-playing Kehelwatte gang,

Sajith has been spared this class/caste distinction. He was supported by a cross-section of the UNPers drawn from the top to the bottom. He represents the generational change. The passing of the baton, though reluctantly by Ranil. Hopefully it will also represent a change in direction. Hopefully the winds of change will help to bring the Party back to the people, the way his father did.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    2

    I am not so enthusiastic like HLD though I am happy that Ranil was defeated.

    • 10
      1

      Hela,
      I’m glad that Sajith finally won the battle but, I’m not ready yet to be Mark Antony for Ranil. I think that Ranil had vision for SL politics: To push it towards intelligent corner of the spectrum. My assessment is that he was capable of achieving a portion of the vision but, the accusation of Bond Scam along with several other misfortunes, some of which are inherent in SL politics while others are beyond his control, pushed it back.

      For example, he was able to recruit a talented, young & educated team and empower them to perform, something JR did well. But, he was also reluctant to allow their political ambitions to prosper and thereby created the current bitterness within the party. Perhaps, his biggest mistake might have been the surrendering to the elite group of the party who didn’t like the grip of the party slipping away from them.

      Why such an intelligent & experienced politician made such a mistake big enough to darken the whole career defy a logical explanation. The answer lies perhaps not in logic of rationality but in “sociology of politics”. May be Ranil & his team have a strong feeling for the ownership of the party b’cos of what they might have done to keep the party afloat during hard times in the past. May be the same group of people share their social life (Royal- Thomians with connections to Cinnamon Garden) as well. If this is the correct answer, then it also may have had a negative effect on his grand vision of making SL politics an intelligent affair!

      However, if Ranil can be separated from his social ties when think of the party & the country, he still could be a huge asset.

      • 0
        0

        I seem to remember Mr.Pala was the editor of the Daily Noise back in the days of Preme 1. I do hope Preme2 ( if he wins) will not put HLDM in the same chair.

    • 4
      1

      H. L. D. Mahindapala

      RE:Defeat Of Ranil Is A Win For UNP

      “The long-drawn and futile battle of Ranil Wickremesinghe to deny Sajith Premadasa, his deputy, the rightful place in the presidential race finally ended yesterday. Ranil fired all his ammunition to eliminate Sajith. But Sajith fought back strategically to outwit Ranil and end the 27-year-old reign of a cardboard leader who led the UNP to nowhere. The inner struggle for power was between the popular will of the UNP represented by Sajith and Ranil’s one-man will backed by the Working Committee packed with his henchmen. In the end the popular will won. “

      Yes. Unlike in the US and other countries, there is no primary to determine the popular will of the voters, for the UNP, SLPP and SLFP. As the result , a selected few of the WC and insiders decide, and all the supporters have no choice but to vote for the selected candidate.

      Looks like, Sajith knew that, and he went to the voters. He had a few rallies and meetings. They were well attended. Ranil and cohorts tried to scuttle the Krununegala Sajith rally.

      UNP should have named the candidate the day after Gota was named. It was Ramil’s Ego and lack of foresight and leadership, that delayed it for so long. Ranil, like a leach, does not want to let it go.

      Similarly, Ranil should be pushed to abolishing the executive president.. Ranil and Sirisena have failed to deliver on their promises. Does the mean IQ of 79, have anything to do with it? Or, is it simply that they all are Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhists” a distortion of Buddhism and an insult to the Buddha?

  • 18
    5

    H.L.D. Mahindapala:
    All that need be said about your sudden affection for the UNP is ,” Who needs enemies when you have friends like these!”

    • 4
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      Emil van der Poorten, with that you said a mouthful.

    • 3
      1

      Mahindapala does not understand that defeat of Ranil is the defeat of the whole country. This candidacy should have been given to a gentleman like Karu. Finaly the thugs of mariyakade and maradana won pulling the whole country to defeat.Sajith can never win. JVP is not strong enough, so we all no the fate of this country. sad indeed

  • 16
    2

    Ranil was an incompetent leader, who failed many times, yet given another chance, again and again. His time is over, in fact it was over long time ago, but he still clung to power, but did not want to let it go. He should have resigned and left with dignity.
    Now it will go down in history that they had to forcibly take his off the UNP throne.

    As for Sajith, good luck to him, and hope he does not end up like his father, who oversaw death squads, and had terrified journalists. Sajith must not let power go to his head, and forget Richard De Soyza.

    • 6
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      “Ranil was an incompetent leader, who failed many times” – Very true. And, he is also very selfish guy for power & post.

      BUT, he is a decent politician, importantly, not a racist, and that is one reason why minorities like him. The same reason why Sajith might get more votes of minorities, and not because of Sajith himself.

      During October coup, did you witness how rowdy the opposition politicians behaved in the House, while UNP guys maintained their calm? That is because their leader was Ranil. Imagine if it was R. Premadasa. Sometimes, Ranil is not an incompetent leader, but an incompetent politician for SL environment.

  • 15
    7

    Sajith could win ? A big dream of Mangala, Harsha, Iran, Ajith clan. Ranil would have to get more votes than Sajith, if the UNP’s WC selected him as a Presidential candidate. Ranil could win more votes from North than Sajith. Please read Tisaranee’s article published in the CT on 15/09 2019 which says on Sajith:
    ” The argument that a Sajith Premadasa candidacy can assure the UNP of an easy victory is one not based on facts. In 2018, the UNP’s average vote in the Hambantota district was lower than the UNP’s national average. The UNP obtained 29.4% of the vote nationally, while in Hambantota, it got only 25.5%. The UNP won only one council in the district, the Hambantoa Municipal Council – a victory due to Muslim vote than to any Sajith magic……..
    If there’s no Sajith-magic in Hambantota, the district he nursed for more than 15 years, can there be a Sajith-magic anywhere else in the country? Logically, factually no. “

    Sajith will definitely loose the election by paving way to a military Dictatorship in the country. It is a very sad news for the country. HLDM’s argument is not based on facts.

  • 0
    5

    Sajith wins ? A big dream of Mangala, Harsha, Iran, Ajith clan. Ranil would have to get more votes than Sajith, if the UNP’s WC selected him as a Presidential candidate. Ranil would win more votes from North than Sajith. Please read Tisaranee’s article published in CT on 15/09 2019 which says on Sajith:
    ” The argument that a Sajith Premadasa candidacy can assure the UNP of an easy victory is one not based on facts. In 2018, the UNP’s average vote in the Hambantota district was lower than the UNP’s national average. The UNP obtained 29.4% of the vote nationally, while in Hambantota, it got only 25.5%. The UNP won only one council in the district, the Hambantoa Municipal Council – a victory due to Muslim vote than to any Sajith magic.
    If there’s no Sajith-magic in Hambantota, the district he nursed for more than 15 years, can there be a Sajith-magic anywhere else in the country? Logically, factually no. “

    Sajith will definitely loose the election by paving way to a military Dictatorship in the country. It is a very sad news for the country. HLDM’s argument is not based on facts.

    • 0
      0

      Sajith comes across as a man of limited vision but more amenable to the unsophisticated majority. Ranil comes across as a man of much sophistication but hopelessly inadequate as a Chief Executive owing to a tendency to survive purely on intrigue and cunning.

      Good chief executives are those who will rail against vice and corruption and stand four square behind truth and justice. Good chief executives are also those who hve a water tight succession plan aimed at continuance of a steady, sensible policy.

      Ranil who had almost everything going for him failed because he didnt play by the accepted rules which make a strong society.

      Therefore it is time Ranil went. Any further lingering would be to overstay the welcome.

  • 7
    5

    i agree with you that ranil is a fake
    he calls himself a theravada buddhist and then goes to indian kovils to seek blessings of hindu gods
    however your sudden interest in the fate of the unp surprises me and one wonders if it is case
    of greeks bearing gifts

    • 3
      1

      NOT ONLY RANIL EVEN MAHINDA AND MY3 GOES TO INDIAN HINDU TEMPLES.local yellow robs damdge hindu temples in kanniya and chemmalai none of these singala leaders open their mouth and expect miracles from indian temples.THE WIN BY SAJITH IN NOT A WIN FOR THE UNP.IT IS A VICTORY FOR MY3-SIRASA TV AND ITS BOSS.

  • 0
    1

    Yes Nalmen!

    Timeo Danous et dona ferrentes……
    Eagle Eye is like the Trojan Horse!

  • 3
    1

    For once I agree with much of what HLDM says, but I take exception to the following:

    “Ranil’s kleptocratic kakistocracy.” That is a highly inaccurate and unfair accusation. But it would be a 100% correct description of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s rule. Just because you know some fancy phrases you should not apply them indiscriminately.

  • 4
    3

    HLD your have no UNP to write if Ranil not saved the party from MR,MS and other notorious politicians.HLD views outdated.i can’t thought why like HLD are enemy’s of the UNP leader.

  • 7
    2

    Well known facts but coming from Mahidapala is the only surprise. He should by spending his time and energy on Gotha. Today the courts ordered to hand over relevant papers to Special investigation team. The documents clearly states Gotha got a new passport and NIC on emergency basis in May of this year. He also produced a letter signed by US counselor in Lanka requesting to give up hid US citizenship. So how did Gotha vote in previous elections. The voter registration clearly shows Gotha has never used his new NIC to register up to now.

  • 8
    0

    Ranil hasn’t been defeated; in fact he’s won again.

    He knows well that he isn’t popular enough to win so he believes in putting into practice, the cat’s paw theory.

    He reduced the presidency through 19, by way of deception.

    He’ll do the same to Sajith even though he’s from his own party.

    He enjoys PM ship rather than becoming the president because with parliament backing PM is more powerful than Presidency now.

  • 10
    2

    Mahindapala, lets leave the pimp (which is not a secret any more) aside and focus on the Murderer. Gotha and Trump are of the same kind. Both are Pathological liars, immoral, hungry for power, exhibit pervasive personality traits, lacks empathy,obsessed with power and in short born criminals. Just see what is happening right now with Trump. He broke the law by getting Russians to influence election outcome. But there was not enough evidence to impeach him then. But that did not stop him from repeating. (anti social traits). He pressured the Ukrainian president to come up with fake accusations against Biden , who may be the next opponent in elections. They both love power and end up abusing it. They are both pompous,arrogant and yearn for public attention. Trump wanted a Russian style military parade in middle of New York city so that he will be portrayed as a military general/war hero ,when he is not.He abuses the public services/security and money on his family and his business. Gotha got a puppy in a flight. A criminal will never stop until he is stopped.

    • 1
      1

      Chiv, Biden ordered Ukranians to fire the prosecutor who went after Biden’s son. Biden is a crook like other democratic leaders.

  • 0
    1

    Ranil is a CAT and he has all his nine lives intact. Ranil doe snot know politics. HE is frinedly to every one whether It is Foreign embassies, Pohottuwa fellows or CBK. Ranil’s only expertise is listen to what the experts or his henchmen and women says, if they trust worthy, just say, OK Then do it that way. That is why he always appoints his people. Even a Apple Orchrad superintendent is his Economic adviser.

  • 1
    0

    Nice to hear from the Editor of the Lake House of R.Premadasa era.

  • 3
    0

    H. L. D. Mahindapala, You haven’t told us how Sajith’s victory will mark the end of Ranil. How? You tell us that LTTE decimated leaders like Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake. What an exit strategy! LTTE is not there. Both, Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake, are not there. There is no one to challenge you! Your prediction that Sajith will have greater power than Ranil is again what you wish for. Sajith can never be a leader of UNP. He is contesting on the UNF ticket.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You are right. Sajith has no presidential stuff in him. Sajith can’t jump! He has leapt over nobody. See how smart Ranil has played his hand!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Are you that forgetful to ask, how can someone respect a leader who appoints committees to rid of issues. The whole country has been living on special Committees. Have you ever seen any of the reports?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Sajith has been spared his —–/—– distinction. And, you have to draw attention to it. What a jerk!

  • 2
    0

    For a miracle for the first time HLD has uttered something that is acceptable. But don’t know what the underlying reason. Will Sajith fund HLD for his nefarious propaganda. I will never trust HLD as anyone.

  • 0
    0

    HLD took the flight same night Premadasa was killed. Some solace.

    • 0
      0

      A case oh history repeating itself, because before that when Dudley, whom he wholeheartedly supported, lost in 1970 HLDM lost no time in fleeing the country !

  • 3
    0

    What happens to RW is a personal matter and he was a pretender and paid a price for all his misdemeanous in protecting Gotha and his cohorts. He also paid a price for pretending to offer LTTE a 10 year self rule which he never meant to honour or keep.
    But what happens to Sajith and UNP is of enormous interest to Tamils . I am hoping that he will prove to be one in a million after 71 years of betrayal and brutality and change the cousre of history and go down in history as the man who had a VISION and LOVED his Country and PEOPLE . It is too early to pass judgement. We live in hope.

  • 1
    0

    hld
    why are you so hard on ranil
    as a rajapaksa acolyte you should know that ranil has been helping the the rajapaksas
    enjoy life on bail instead of going to jail these last 4 years
    he is a close friend of mahinda and gota who will look after him if the unp is defeated

  • 0
    0

    Another “I SAID SO “moment . Today SLFP/MS decided to not to stand for elections but to support Gothabaya. For last few years I saw Lankan public including CT readers were in heated discussions as though SLFP, SLPP and previous united front/opposition (I am not sure what shit they were called) were all different parties. I maintained they were all together but were pretending to be different. MS of course had his own personal agenda to grab power by cornering Rajapaksa, which he miserably failed. Now at the most opportunistic moment , they all came out of closet in unison to return back to Rajapaksa camp as planned. There aim was to hang in power come what may be, Jeopardize governing, create road blocks, pass inside information and loot money as before, all this pretending as part of government. MS tried a coupe against his own government. On completing their task SLFP was buying time , to show public that they are a separate entity. Dayasiri, and the rest kept staying they will go independent , then they changed narrative to join JVP and even went the extent of promising not to join Gotha at any cost. After all the drama, and acting sessions they are now back in Rajapaksa camp as expected. The ststment released by SLFP today says, “there is not much difference between SLFP and SLPP, in ideology,governance and policies”??? Is that so, are you kidding??? Then why do we need all this drama???? What took them so long to realize ????

  • 0
    0

    Did Sajith really win? Now that he got the nomination from the UNP ticket let us look at what next. If he wins we know that the UNP can win the Parliamentary elections and Ranil is the PM. Poor SRP cannot even be a Minister. The security apparatus and finances will be under Ranil. All the UNPers will be back in Ranil’s fold to get the “perks”. If SRP loses the Presidential elections, even those who supported him to get the nominations will look the other side. Then Ranil can throw him to the dustbin. So the answer to my question posed in the beginning is NO.

  • 0
    0

    After his relentless past attacks of Ranil, HLDM’s present comments are unsurprising. But, unlike him, decent, fair minded members in the UNP will appreciate Ranil’s service to the party. They will remember, among others, the leadership he provided after the deaths of Premadasa, Dissanayake and Athulathmudali, how he sustained the party through the CBK years, and his significant role in defeating MR in 2005, when MR was thought invincible. They will remember also his skilful handling of last October’s constitutional crisis which a loose cannon of a President visited on the nation. It is not smart to suggest that a ‘born loser’ could have accomplished what Ranil did. Ranil has been long enough in public life to know that ‘you cannot win them all’ and will accept disappointments with good grace. In the meantime, the UNP must hope that Sajith Premadasa will go on to win. His father’s achievement in becoming President was widely admired and celebrated. He was from the grass roots and achieved what he did mostly under his own steam and without the benefit of political lineage. What an irony it is, then, that the main claim in Sajith’s political CV is his political lineage – that he is his father’s son. Today, political lineage does not count for as much as it once did, and let’s not forget that President Ranasinghe’s political legacy itself includes some troubling unanswered questions. The Presidential Election is still a fair way off, electoral dynamics are constantly changing, and it would be a courageous or reckless person who will confidently predict the outcome. In the meantime, the likes of HLDM will do well not to be in a hurry to write Ranil off. He’s not done yet.

  • 0
    0

    HLD M has not mentioned Vellala-caste-Christian-TNA here. Why is that?

  • 0
    0

    Bert, lets wait for the House and Congress to come up with answers. Your comment “Biden is a crook like other democratic leaders” says it all. (You mean if Rajapaksas are born criminals , the whole SLPP members are criminals too.). US impeachment is not as our Lankan constitution. FYI, there is more Republicans right now in prison than Democrats.

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