20 September, 2020

Blog

Is Karu J A Plausible Presidential Candidate?

By Vishwamithra

“A dark horse, which had never been thought of, rushed past the grandstand in sweeping triumph.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

In the last few columns I have tried, maybe in vain, to make a case for a plausible scenario in which a Presidential Candidate representing the same UNP-led coalition that brought current President Maithripala Sirisena to power could be successful again. Maithripala Sirisena, although did not seem to be formidable as a Presidential Candidate, eventually proved to be above average and an ideal mix which an unsuspecting electorate would accept. However, the coalition government that was formed after the electoral victories in January and August in 2015, though has managed to survive, the breakage of the relationship between the UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Sirisena who is barely holding on to the leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), seems almost final and done. That is a very sad ending of a once-promising political partnership that was in the making. The ideological differences alone between the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party are wide and vast enough and too disparate to survive in nasty and cruel political storms.

In the meanwhile, the Rajapaksas seem to have woken up from their defeat-ridden slumber that followed the immediate aftermath of the 2015 Presidential Elections. The sheer magnitude of power and access to the national coffers and the natural proximity to the luxuries of administrative power machinations has apparently awakened them to muster their forces for another game of national ransacking and corruption-ridden governance. The disqualifying elements of the Rajapaksas and their cohorts have been articulated not only at the last Presidential Elections, the parade of their kith and kin to and from the various investigative bodies has gone a long way to convince a curious electorate as to how and what these political hooligans of the Rajapaksa era corrupted a gullible civil service which ultimately became even more corrupt that their corruptors!

Nevertheless, the following changes and their inescapable cascade of consequential by-events have at times struggled to transform the political landscape of Sri Lanka.

1. Defeat of the Rajapaksa Presidency

2. Election of Maithripala Sirisena as President as a common candidate of a coalition of socio-political forces of Sri Lanka

3. Election of a UNP-led parliament

4. Evisceration of the 100 Day program

5. Bond-Scam scandal

6. Eruption of the fissures between President Sirisena and Premier Wickremasinghe

7. Non-event of the Rajapaksa prosecution to an end

8. Local Government Elections

9. Resultant meandering in the political woods          

Each of these aforementioned events and sub events have engendered another sequence of events which in turn have turned into a cause and thereby producing never-ending cycle of cause and effect dynamic. Whatever happens in the aftermath of each event or sub event, what one must bear in mind is the universal truth of facts and hard cold facts that definitively have had serious impact on the lives of all Sri Lankans. Political pundits and statisticians have gone back to their drawing boards. They ponder, more often than not, on the what-if phenomenon of life and in that maddeningly uncertain socio-political drama, they have repeatedly failed to understand one simple and crushingly ugly fact that facts do matter in the ultimate analysis of politics and its history.

In the context of such an unequivocal brutality of political life of a nation, the current impasse in today’s scenario looks natural and inconsequential. A reversal to a once-defeated power-cabal which is the Rajapaksa rule, seems, at least to their own political friends and supporters, a vindication of their deeds and thoughts. Sloganeering that consisted of electric chairs, selfless patriotism and sovereignty of the nation that ruled a frenzy world of delusion and cultivated deceit are looming ominously on the horizon again. It is going to be extremely difficult and practically impossible to confront an emotion-driven mob and convince them that what occurred in the recent past as corruption, nepotism and avaricious pursuit of power is no good for the greater good of the country. Sloganeering and political branding has its own niche and it has been proven beyond a shadow of doubt by Donald Trump in another part of the world- an advanced capitalist society such as the United States of America. Don’t ever forget that just before the Nazi takeover Germany was a well-educated, steeped in high cultural and social values. They were a steeply-read nation that enjoyed Wagner’s serene music and Van Gough’s sensitive lines of painting as their pastime. 

It is no secret that given the right social and political milieu, excessive expression of deeply held prejudices and partialities would be welcome as an open invitation for unrestricted assault on reason and justice. We in Sri Lanka experienced this obscenity of political propaganda under the Rajapaksa-cabal. Entrenched in a bubble of all-consuming power and greed, the Rajapaksas released within this bubble a force under the cover of patriotism and partisanship for the land, the race and the faith.

The same forces are threatening to raise their ugly profiles today and the unhindered participation of the mob variety of the average men and women in the country do not seem to care. Forthcoming Presidential Elections are being planned and scheduled against this backdrop. It is no easy task to challenge them. The UNP’s task looks even more desperate. The repeating mistakes and misjudgments are taking the Party of Ranil Wickremasinghe to the edges of extinction and sure death. 

Superficial operational adjustments introduced into the traditional structures of the Party do not seem to produce a fundamental change in its very outlook. The coalition and its operational arms that delivered the Presidency to Maithripala Sirisena need to be mustered and coalesced to a new Presidential candidate. Who could it be? That is the proverbial sixty four million dollar question. Here are some of the would-be contenders:

1. Ranil Wickremesinghe 2. Sajith Premadasa 3. Navin Dissanayake 4. Dark Horse candidate

Arguments for and against the current leader of the UNP and Prime Minister of the land, Ranil Wickremesinghe have been made almost to exhaustive lengths and breadths. In fact they seem to have been foreclosed. The overwhelming loyalty of the Northern and Upcountry Tamils and Eastern Muslims towards Wickremesinghe is beyond doubt. It is not conceivable that any other aforementioned candidate would enjoy such uncontested loyalty from the minorities, except perhaps Navin Dissanayake. The leadership of the Tamil communities, both Northern and Upcountry, has been quite vocal about their political grievances and their adherence to the fundamentals of reconciliation and Tamil homeland concepts. Political expediency and misplaced sense of patriotism might derail Sajith Premadasa on these fronts, yet he might be of the opinion that his popularity among Sinhalese Buddhists and especially amongst the Buddhist Clergy, cultivated over a decade or so by giving away ‘goodies’ of sorts to the temples around the countryside, would overcome the deficit that he has with the Northern Tamils. Yet one brutal fact that Sajith needs to confront is, despite all these efforts towards pacifying the Buddhist Clergy, he has not been able to translate that gesture into votes. 

Even in the recently held LG Elections, he did not win his electorate, nor could he secure the district. The argument that he is in the SLFP den- Rajapaksa-led Hambantota- cannot hold water as a leader is supposed to carry his own electorate when all other chips are down. Navin Dissanayake on the other hand, did manage to win not only his electorate; he managed to win his entire district, Nuwara Eliya which in the context of a Presidential Election is a microcosm of the country. Nuwara Eliya within its geographical boundaries has some ancient Sinhalese Buddhist villages. Both Kotmale and Hanguranketha from which Navin Dissanayake’s paternal grandmother and grandfather respectively hailed, are steeped in tradition and culture that is unmatched by some other such villages in the country. If the people of such tradition and culture could depart from the rest of the normal pattern of voting, it certainly speaks volumes for such an allegiance to a political leader in the district. Gamini Dissanayake, Navin’s father, enjoyed such unquestioned and unquestionable personal loyalty from his supporters. Navin, it looks like, has retained that loyalty.

Yet, both Sajith and Navin might not be able to gather around them the coalition forces that assembled around Maithripala Sirisena in 2015. That is not due to a special personal attraction of Sirisena; it is solely due to the fact that the coalition government that was formed after the 2015 elections failed to deliver on its election pledges. The UNP and its friends need a dark horse; a candidate whose baggage does not carry within itself dark secrets of corruption and nepotism; a fifth horseman, so to speak who will be seen as a deliverer beyond all expectations. Only Karu Jayasuriya, the current Speaker of the House of Parliament, fits into that module – a dark horse or the fifth horseman.

I will delve into this possible candidate in my next column, yet could not suppress the urge to throw this thought out for our readers to ponder upon. A fifth horsemen or a dark horse-candidate who could possibly mount a formidable challenge to any ‘Pohottuwa’ candidate, a Rajapaksa or any other, has more than an outside chance of victory in the next Presidential Elections. 

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com   

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 3
    2

    When will the UNP be able to move away from Rajapaksa centric politics?
    Why do you fear that in a free and fair democratic election majority will always vote for Rajapaksa. If Rajapaksa was in power you could suspect him to manipulate the election process. But now? Enough of anti Rajapaksa propaganda has been carried out and people KNOW what a villain he is. Why Vishvamitra is shivering? Again it is going to be a free and fair election.

    Soma

  • 3
    6

    Dear Vishwamithra,
    .
    I appreciate that you are attempting to perform a very necessary service to our nation. We must ensure that the Rajapaksas don’t creep back in, and ruin this country further. However, to achieve that end we’ve got to appoint somebody with credibility. I don’t subscribe to the notion that our people are the most intelligent, politically-educated and mature of those in the world.
    ,
    I agree that it is up to us to actively search for a candidate. This has been your choice for to consider:
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karu_Jayasuriya
    .
    Seventy-seven years. Far too old; I will not vote for him. Certainly not for First or Second Preference. Perhaps, unenthusiastically for Third Preference. There hasn’t hitherto been a need so far to count the second preferences.
    .
    Many don’t know that you can mark 1, 2, and 3 on your ballot paper. If any of you are puzzled by what I’ve just written, please ask me to explain the system. I shall oblige, to the best of my abilities.

    • 1
      3

      Sinhala man

      “We must ensure that the Rajapaksas don’t creep back in, and ruin this country further.”

      If Rajapaksa was in power you could suspect him to manipulate the election process. But now? Enough of anti Rajapaksa propaganda has been carried out and people KNOW what a villain he is. And how he ruined the country. And how his period compares with yahapalana. Do you suspect that the next election under yahapalana will not be free and fair? With such a gigantic propaganda machinery moved against an individual never before seen why do you fear that in a free and fair democratic election 100 people will vote for Rajapaksa, leave alone the majority?
      Explain us a bit.

      Soma

      • 1
        1

        Dear Soma,
        .
        This is my personal view, share it if you wish. Please think of me as just one ordinary man – but one who knows that my people don’t usually act rationally. However, don’t think of me as some elitist who has contempt for my fellow citizens. I know that this paragraph is full of oxymorons.
        .
        I don’t want to imply that the Rajapaksas will “manipulate the election process.” They may get a majority of the votes the way things are going. How? By appealing to the basest communal instincts of the Sinhalese, by making ridiculous promises, by relying on our very short memories.
        .
        Why we have to fear this is because the UNP has proved so ineffective and non-democratic in its internal organisation. Old men (can’t think of many men) are holding on to their positions; youth are not given a chance. Ranil W. epitomises them. Sirisena has proved that he’s not up to the task. He seems to have no capacity to formulate a policy and stick to it. It looks as though he has no idea whatever of Economics; neither have I, and I, too, am old.
        .
        I remembered that I had made some comment, and I returned to it thinking that I had said that I wouldn’t waste much time on it. all that I have offered to explain is the system of voting for the Presidential Elections. I could provide you with links to my imperfect but honest attempts, and please see what I have said about Maldives Elections.
        .
        Like what I have said or lump it!

        • 0
          0

          Sorry about this mistake: in the third paragraph I meant to say (in parenthesis) that I can’t think think of many women holding back young people from progressing in the UNP.

  • 1
    0

    Vishwa, what mediocrity and intellectual Bankcrutpcy is here!
    Perhaps your JVP past is part of the problem?

    JVP’s Anura Kumara or Sunil Handunetti who broke the bondscam must come forward as a presidential candidate. JVP has proved that it is the only party willing to fight the epidemic of corruption that has mortgaged Lanka to foreign interests under the guise of Fake Development projects.
    People are fed of up of the bi-partisan corruption racket -UNP-SLFP-PP-TNA that passes for Democracy and I know many Colombo 7 folk who plan to vote JVP and AKD.

  • 1
    1

    ” the breakage of the relationship between the UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Sirisena who is barely holding on to the leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), “

    1.why did the relationship break? answer-because of the bond scam.

    2.Who was the culprit in the bond scam?answer-leader of the UNP,not sirisena.

    3.Threfore what should be done to fix the relationship? answer-Change the leader of the UNP

    4.Who should be the leader of the UNP? answer-there are many candidates but no one who can be named conclusively as the leader.

    4.So what should the UNP do to select the leader?It should get the feed back from the grassroots of the UNP.It should ask all the card carrying members of the UNP to let the working committee know who is their choice as the leader of the UNP.All new issung of membership cards should be halted.

    5.Once the feed back has been received what should the UNP do?It should appoint the person having the highest number of nominations as the leader of the UNP.

  • 3
    1

    karu is weaker than ranil
    did he not at one time leave the unp and join mahinda
    none of the names mentioned can win but ranil wont allow anyone else to contest
    no one in the second generation can win the support of the others
    ranil has seen to that

  • 6
    0

    Karu J?! Hell No! Please no!
    My list (with a large dose of my personal bias off-course )
    Possibilities (Women) – Thalatha
    Possibilities (Seniors) – Sajith, Navin
    Possibilities (Other) – Buddhika, Harin, Harsha, Gayantha, Akila (and maybe Ajith Mannapperuma but not sure)
    Possibilities (Non-UNP) – Champika Ranawaka, Mano Ganesan (Ranawaka can hold on to some of the Sinhala-Buddhist votes unlike the current RW led UNP hierarchy but according to rumors he is not interested in running until at least 2025. Mano, if presented properly could bridge the racial gap but realistically not much of a chance).

    • 1
      4

      Dear Thanos,
      .
      You have done your homework well.</b.
      .
      Thanks for allowing us to crib from you.
      .
      I seriously mean this: more of us readers should be doing this. Then we would be able to make intelligent choices.
      .
      And Thanos, you've been able to do something that is very difficult: emptying yourself of ego.

      .

      • 0
        0

        Sorry. I have again offended You can see why. In the first line there, instead of the greater than (>) sign, to turn off bold, I have used the full stop – same key, lower case, instead of upper. I’m now putting in one signal for bold, and two for cancelling bold.

    • 0
      0

      Thanos

      Sorry to disagree. Prefer Karu J. (despite his disloyalty on abandoning his party & then returning). Weak he maybe but at least he is honest than the proposed sorry lot

  • 2
    0

    Why can’ there be any young blood contesting for the presidential elections? Why only stick to brittle bones that is good for uttering ‘mata mathaka naha’?

  • 2
    0

    Are you serious ???.
    Uncle Karu doesn;t know whether he is Arthur or Martha, although he looks and acts more like Martha ,after he rejoined with Dr Ranil , Mallika and Maggi…

    It wasn’t long ago that Uncle Karu was hell bent on protecting Buddha Sasana from Dr Ranil’s UNP.
    And went on Parade with the then young Kid from Keselwatta to groom the Kid as the all powerful Sinhala Buddhist Leader of the UNP since its founder.D.S Senanayaka …..

    Dr Rani soon banished the Kid to the Bush.
    And forced Uncle Karu to do house work in Medumuana.
    Now Uncle Karu is hell bent on protection the crooks who robbed the guts of the Nation.
    And keep protecting Dr Ranil and his crooks from facing an Election which the 70 percent of the inhabitants are demanding…

    That is a good indicator of Uncle Karu’s chances of becoming the next Yahapalana President…
    Perhaps Uncle Karu should take the Madam to boost his popularity among that 70 % majority…

  • 0
    0

    vishwa is thinking of somebody other than ranil
    it can only be a popular sinhala buddhist outside the unp who can get tamil and muslim votes
    i cannot think of anyone at the moment
    however as things stand at present he will have to deal with mahinda as pm after the parliamentary elections which is not going to be easy since it will also be a slpp cabinet

  • 0
    0

    There is NOT one single individual in whole of Srilanka with suitable qualifications to administer and manage this country efficiently. Period. Full stop. The underlying reason is starting from going back five generations or five decades Srilanka produced only pseudo scholars. Just before a child start to attend school he or she was coached to tell lies and cheat. It proliferated exam cheats aided and abetted by tuition masters in cahoot with corrupt officials from the Department of Examinations. There are no genuine PhD holders. Srilanka must find a foreigner of the kind, Sir Chris Patton, the last Governor of Honkong who established a rock solid government which has a unique quality to self manage by itself.

    Srilanka must be ashamed of herself to be resplendent of a population of liars and cheats.

  • 0
    0

    Vishwa, your analysis is a good eye opener to all politicians specially to the prospective candidates for presidency and to the Electorate in particular. What is the message or the main focus we could guess that will be marketed to the voter?Can any present day politician from any party could promise good governance devoid of corruption, nepotism , lawlessness, injustice or human values that have been trampled under foot. Majority of these politicians past and present are directly involved in plunder and pillage of country’s wealth. There are others who have aided and abetted by their stoic silence perhaps in fear of reprisal from their party leaders. My candid opinion is our future, as a nation entirely depends and hinges on Justice and Honesty. In the present context I rule out everyone from the list you had referred to. Once and for all some one must take the bull by the horns. He or She may emerge and I strongly believe there is a spiritual dimension in politics because peoples’ lives are involved and politicians cannot dilly- dally with
    lives of human beings.

  • 0
    0

    Turning away from traditional politicians Leaders like , Karu jayasuriaya can train young for the future like Jayathma Wickramanayake United Nations Secretary- United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, such selected people has extensive experience working on international level having previously worked in various international organizations as well as starting his own initiatives to bring value to the country

  • 0
    0

    Vishwamithra:
    The nebulous SLPP, at the recent LG elections, proved that the language/religion-divide is a winner. And more importantly the culture of impunity/nepotism/impunity can be masked with ease.
    A rejuvenated (and wiser?) SLPP will try this on the national level.
    .
    Will Karu J say “We have had enough of this?”.
    And/or say “The culture is the problem”.
    The answer to your question is “No”.

  • 1
    0

    There’s a mental disorder called Rajapakse phobia (@ least ) in Sri Lanka.

    Can’t help, they’ll be in power in the near future & considerable number will have to flee

    Pls do it not to come back

  • 1
    0

    The sinking yahapalanistas seem to have found a new straw…………assassination………

    • 0
      0

      Tell them to commit suicide; that’s the best option as they can’t survive after assassination.

  • 3
    1

    Ranil is the man. He will do it. Remember 2005, buggar got 49% with Prabhakaran boycott

    • 0
      0

      with anura bandaranayaka and chandrika’s support.That is why a incensed mahinda went after them post election resulting in the split in the SLFP.

  • 3
    1

    Ranil all the way to Janadhipathi mandiraya in 2020

    • 1
      1

      all the way to venice.

  • 2
    0

    JR became President when 70. Ranil will be 70 in 2020. He will repeat what uncle did in 1977. Just wait and see.

  • 0
    0

    Somebody had tried to kill Ranil with a motorcycle the other day. Why media not report?

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.