By R. Fernando –
The current competition between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa seems to lie in winning the goodwill of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa rather than obtaining the greater number of votes for their respective parties. The statement recently by the Former MP Harin Fernando as well as on several occasions in the past, further reiterates this idea. The Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake group as well as Sajith Premadasa and Harin Fernando group who are mingling with the president, seem to be in competition to indicate that they are willing to support him.
What kind of genre of politics might this be I wonder? They who made serious allegations against the Gotabaya Rajapaksha party in their presidential election campaign just 7 months ago, including Sajith Premadasa who recently went to court with a petition that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was violating the constitution, are now claiming that they are the only party who could help strengthen the hands of President Rajapaksa and help further his program for the country.
Such being the case, what policies are they talking about? This is typically what they [UNP] did during their rule from 2015-2019. Whilst saying one thing to the general public and their supporters, they practiced underhand agreements with the Rajapakshas, misled and let down both the traditional UNPers who voted for them through generations, plus those who supported the UNP circumstantially only because they wished to defeat the Podujana Peramuna by voting for them. At present the SJB even claim that they are willing to work with the policies upheld by the Rajapaksas even before the upcoming elections, whilst the UNP seem to imply so.
If both parties are willing to uphold the policies of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, then, why should one vote for either Ranil Wickremesinghe or Sajith Premadasa, when they might as well vote directly for the Rajapaksas?
What could be the possible reasons for the current reverence of the Rajapaksas by these two political groups?
It could be the fear that the fate that has befallen Rajitha Senaratne and Patali Champika Ranawaka might befall those responsible for The Central Bank bond scam, racket of releasing vehicles from the customs, the fraud of the Central Cultural Fund and other similar schemes.
Else it could be the unprincipled political trend of safeguarding themselves from dire consequences of their own actions, whilst having no qualms of the negative impact the Rajapaksa policies might have on the country and its people at large, by sacrificing the votes given to them as one of the oldest and established parties in the country.
Furthermore, it could also be lack of interest or even more alarming, indifference of the immense destruction and damage the policies of the Rajapaksa family could bring to this country through not following basic procedure and consultation with expertise in those areas.
Whatever the motives might be, what is clearly visible is an unfathomable political poverty, appalling lack of vision and gross deception of the voters, as what other reason could it be?
It has been proven beyond doubt that no support or backing could be given to any of the decisions taken or proposals put forward by the Rajapaksa regime during the past 7 months. It has shown little or no interest in the welfare or benefit of the country and is an administration which has no genuine compassion towards its people. Furthermore it is the rule of a family rather than a political party. It shows no consideration or respect toward the laws of the country and democratic values. It will take steps towards the abolition of independent commissions, and work towards the removal of the 19th Amendment. The resources of the country have and will be sold to their friends and supporters [China, India and America] without any transparency or protocol. They went ahead with their plans to have an election without considering the significant dangers and ominous consequences of the Corona epidemic. We are currently reaping that harvest and experiencing a resurgence of the epidemic due to management and sustainability reasons all of which were focused only on the pending election. They show clear preference towards military power rather than civil power. They use nationalism and racism as their main political strategies within a family power base which has been proven beyond doubt by now. If the UNP and SJP are seen to support the above mentioned policies it is the clear and obvious betrayal of 56 lakhs of their loyal supporters.
The resignation of Mangala Samaraweera could possibly be due to his understanding of the shameful principles and gutless nature of the politics of both Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe. This same distaste must be felt by all UNP members from both groups.
At the presidential election last year, it seemed somewhat impractical to support Anura Kumara Dissanayake of the NPP instead of Sajith Premadasa at that point in time. However had we chosen to follow correct politics instead of mere practicality and voted for the ‘Malimava’ led by Anura Kumara Dissanayake, even whilst knowing that Gotabaya Rajapaksa may not be have been defeated, they would have obtained around 15-20 lakhs of votes which would have been a valuable and solid foundation for the upcoming General Election on the 5th of August 2020.
The current situation indicates that the candidate who obtained 56 lakhs of votes now seems more focused on appeasing Rajapaksa, and thus depriving the people of a candidate who may possibly have faced the challenge of the Rajapaksas on the 5th August 2020.
The country desperately needs a principled party, able to challenge the dangerous political policies of the Rajapaksas. A party based on democratic principles, having civilized political
doctrines, who believe in the basic rights of the people and are able to confront the Rajapaksas and their policies upfront and face to face if necessary. At this point the only alternative available is the NPP led by Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Even though the NPP has all the qualifications necessary for this task, it is still not in a position to defeat the Rajapaksas this time. Not only Anura Kumara, but even the UNP which is divided will not be able to achieve their goal this time.
If the NPP is strengthened in the upcoming election on the 5th August 2020, it will be able to challenge the Rajapaksas with regard to their principals and policies as well as presenting a strong and substantial voter base in 2025. If the disillusioned and disheartened voter base of the poorly principled UNP can strengthen the NPP, this might be the only alternative or recourse left, is my honest opinion.
Some reasons as to why the NPP is the obvious option becomes clear through the ratings of manthri.lk [a monitoring website which ranks MPs in the SL parliament based on individual performance] the JVP MPs have been within the first five rankings consistently. Furthermore, even if one does not support the NPP per se, it has always been their task to highlight and point out to the country numerous transactions without protocol, nontransparent deals, underhand agreements, decisions which could harm the environment beyond measure which would otherwise have gone unnoticed and been implemented.
I would like to reiterate that, had even a section of those who voted for Sajith Premadasa thought about it and had given Anura Kumara Dissanayake 15-20 lakhs of votes in 2019, that might have been a great political resource at this time, which fact I am requesting you to please think seriously about. Had this taken place at the presidential election in 2019, instead of Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s poorly principled politics, where the main candidate was being demoralized and emasculated at every turn by his party leader, we would have been able to create a strong voter base to challenge the Rajapaksa voter base in the upcoming election itself.
We have by now, deprived that opportunity for ourselves. The only recourse is left is to work towards creating a democratic peoples’ power in 2025 within a principled, egalitarian background. Let us begin this process on the 5th August 2020 by voting for the NPP led by Anura Kumara Dissanayake with the sole intention of building up, strengthening and maximizing this process for 2025. This appeal is to all rational UNPers as well as those discerning people who would consider voting for the SJP or UNP if only, to prevent further large scale destruction of the country, to please consider this third option very seriously and free themselves from the intentional or unintentional traps of Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The familiar quotation from Abraham Lincoln seems somewhat apt in the current political scenario. “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”