15 December, 2018

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Karu Jayasuriya’s Candidacy Under A Microscope

By Vishwamithra

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims…But accomplices.”  ~ George Orwell

Karu Jayasuriya’s political career started in the mid-nineties. Karu Jayasuriya, born on 29 September 1940 came to limelight after he became the Mayor of Colombo from 1997 to 1999. His expertise as an able private sector executive would have played an indispensible part during his tenure as Mayor of Colombo for him to be considered amongst the best of Colombo Mayors of all time. It was during his time the city of Colombo looked like a typically clean and utterly habitable city for all-comers. The unassuming posture that he displayed when relating to the highest and lowest of society brought him a reputation that no present day politician could boast about. Yet this same unassuming conduct on his part did in fact hinder his rise to the top of his political party, United National Party (UNP). That unassertive, patient and modest approach to a profession which at all times demanded a cavalier and aggressive demeanor from those who practiced it may have halted his rise in the short run, but when considering the long-term sustainability of an astute politician, such a demeanor is a concealed advantage. The only indisputable disadvantage is that with a person who is already in his sixties trying to play the long-term game, the passage of years keeps piling up, making him look much older when the real time comes to assert himself.

Karu Jayasuriya’s most distinct disadvantage in being considered for the next Presidential Elections candidate is the length of years. By the year 2020, when the Presidential Elections are due, Karu will be 80 years old or young. JR Jayewardene climbed the proverbial greasy pole of politics when he was 71 years old. As a result, as was most aptly and illustratively penned in the his biography by Professor K M de Silva, J R, when assumed power in 1977, looked more like an old man in a rush rather than a calculating strategist for which he was reputed.

However, it is not fair by both JR and Karu Jayasuriya to be compared with each other. Times have changed and have taken a nasty toll on a rapidly deteriorating political culture which in its intrinsic core has come out as a mirror of the changes that our society has been painstakingly enduring during its meandering course. In 2018, the United National Party and its coalition government are undergoing a serious yet an inscrutable course change. The UNP, for all its pomp and boast over the last two and half years, yet cannot accurately claim that they had really won any victories at the electorate, especially in the Sinhalese Buddhist voter base.

This is exactly where Karu Jayasuriya’s claim to the highest job in the land matters. His acceptance among the Sinhalese Buddhists and specifically among the Buddhist clergy coupled with the trust and faith reposed on him by the minorities as a friendly, patient, and amiable negotiator has contributed to him being considered for the job. Given these divergent advantages, Karu J might appeal as the best candidate, provided Ranil Wickremesinghe opts to keep out of the Presidential Elections as the UNP candidate this time too. Yet one glaring and tangibly intense disadvantage that remains is his age and lack of enthusiasm and demand from the youth, at least as yet.

Nevertheless, Karu J seems to enjoy immense trust from the country’s civil organizations whose prime platform is law and order, transparency and accountability. His stringent allegiance to the process as against substance, taken in the context of sophisticated political calculation, might stand in good stead as it is the process by which a socio-political change could be attained and then administered as much as substance that very process is supposed to be executing. However, blind adherence to the process could, in the realm of politics, harm the politician who tries to empower that process. In an environment in which optics matters more than the process and substance, it is scrupulously hard to market a politician and his policies and principles to the large mob of voters.

Against such a confusing backdrop, let us examine once again the key elements that the next UNP or UNP-led Presidential Candidate needs have in his or her bag in order to run a legitimately aggressive and successful campaign:

1. Maha Sanga

2. Unstinted support of the minorities

3. Intangibles including leadership, youth and charisma                          

Does Karu Jayasuriya have the potential to garner the support of these key elements? Karu J certainly has the first two. And in both those categories, he enjoys the highest degree in the first. And in the second element, he is either better than or equal to Ranil Wickremesinghe. It is in the intangibles that Karu J falls behind both Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake, the other two plausible contenders. Some might argue the cases for Champika Ranawaka, Rajitha Senarathne and even Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. While Sarath Fonseka would disqualify himself as a loser as recent as in 2009, both Champika and Rajitha would have to climb a steep hill in convincing the UNP voters as they are authentic UNP members.   

So we are back to square one. If Karu Jayasuriya is not the so-called Dark Horse, then who is it? Is there any other who would wear that badge, Dark Horse? There doesn’t seem to be any. However, what is not mentioned in the above formulation is a quality of the candidate as perceived to be a winner. 

While acknowledging that this is no final pitch for a UNP candidate, it must also be borne in mind that time is not in favor of the United National Party. It might be all too late for a brand new candidate to get his gear together and run an effective and winning campaign.

Who might be the opponent? There is a consistent hue and cry about one particular Rajapaksa whose country-loyalties might be belonging continents far, far away from Mother Lanka. As a matter of fact, that very element of the political formula may very well work against the grain of commonsensical politics. Those who profess patriotism and thunder from atop lofty towers need to come down at least every now and then listen to their own consciences. What seems to baffle an ordinarily educated mind does not seem to astonish these Rajapaksas who have over the last two decades and half shown unlimited capacity for avarice and hunger for power. Yet the failure on the part of the present coalition government to bring these violators of basic ethical norms and perpetrators of alleged financial crimes to justice has caused the public to lose faith in them. This failure has further engendered a notion of suspicion and distrust among the curious public; it has heightened and aroused the stigmatic aura that some members of the governing party are colluding with the Rajapaksas in order to pave way for a total exoneration of the alleged culprits. 

Therefore, the options are limited and hard to discern. If the election of Maithripala Sirisena was a watershed in our politics, in the event of a comeback of the Rajapaksas, the next Presidential Elections might well be a reversal of all the hopes and aspirations of a susceptible public. Such vulnerabilities apart, any collusion or even a hint of collusion by any members of the current administration with the Rajapaksas will amount to a grotesque miscarriage of justice.

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@mail.com

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Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    80 years old and still he is employed. what doe she give for t heecountry for what he is paid.

    • 0
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      JD

      Look at the traffic policeman who is insulting the saffronistas by exhibiting his bum from the side. Don’t you think it was the ultimate insult to the Sangha?

      Discipline the bum.

  • 5
    1

    Uncle Karu is the best shot for the Yahapalanistas to get the Presidency , according to their mouth piece Viswamithra…
    Keselwatta Kid must be thrilled to bits ,hoping the PM Gig will fall on his lap.

    Dr Ranil is as good as the Yahapalana Ruppiah now,
    What else can one say after helping and protecting Bond Rorters , Commission Kakkas, Free Loaders of Yahapalana Car Permits, Selling the Magampura to Chinese, and Mattala to Hindians …
    And still paying the Magamapura loan with the Colombo Port Earnings..

    The two issues Viswha mentions are interesting…
    * Support of the Maha Sanga.
    * Support of the TNA ..

    Does Uncle Karu believe our Buddha is Srilankan or Hindian..
    That is the biggest raging issue in Sinhala Buddha Ssasana now
    It is a coincidence that I watched nearly two hours of U Tube Clips where our Sinhala Buddhist Monks were having moots to prove that Buddha was born in Srilanka.
    And they were convincing ,even with the Hindian lobby having an Arahant Monk on their side.

    TNA Heavy from Cinnamon Gardens, the Vellala Kid Abraham said “No way Josey” to the Srilankan Civil Authorities Plans to settle poor landless Fisherman and Farmers in Mahawali Delta…
    Abraham says it is their Land in Killinochchi.

    I didn’t know Mahaweli came from Nanthikadal..Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Does Uncle Karu believe Mahweli is part of Killinochchi?.
    Don’t the the poor landless Inhabitants of Lankawe have the Right to to find a place in Government owned Land in any part of the Island.d?.
    Even after the UN certifying that there are 5 Million of them in Lankawe..

    • 1
      1

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “Keselwatta Kid must be thrilled to bits ,hoping the PM Gig will fall on his lap.”

      Karu may want his rich UK educated son in law Navin Nayaka as his prime minister. Once both crossed over to SLFP and returned to UNP. How loyal both are to the party, parliament and people who voted for them.

      Why aren’t you demanding Navin Nayaka to return the money his father Dutta Gamani looted from the Mahaweli project?

      • 0
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        Dear Native,
        What has happened to your mate Vellala Kid Abraham?.
        I can understand Sivajilingam and Ponnambalam making such racist demands like banning the Indigenous inhabitants settling in their own Land..
        But Abraham……
        He was brought up, educated and employed in Cinnamon Gardens although his ancestors were brought in to peel Cinnamon bark for the Poms..
        Now he has the gall to to make outright racist demands and get away with it.

        Why do you ask silly questions mate.
        I have nothing to do with those Nayakayas wearing Green T Shirts.
        I am surprised you are still harking about Nayaka Senior robbing the Mahaweli Funds ..
        What about your own, Dr Mahendran robbing the day light out of our Inhabitants EPF.
        And buying the Mendis Special to sell it back to our Two and a Half Dollars Dudes as Gal…
        Wonder whether your Idol Dr Ranil likes Gal….

        • 1
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          KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

          “I can understand Sivajilingam and Ponnambalam making such racist demands like banning the Indigenous inhabitants settling in their own Land..”

          My ancestral land belongs to my people.
          Neither Sinhala/Tamil speaking people have no right to own any part of the island. Like you and Sivajilingam rest of them are leaseholders. Lease is renewable conditional upon your good behaviour. Please forget all your wildest claims.

          “I have nothing to do with those Nayakayas wearing Green T Shirts.”

          There are at least 18 Nayakas in the current parliament, moreless proportionally representing all those parties except your mate Trinco Sam’s party. How could you allow/tolerate Telungu Nayakas ruling this island? Don’t you have your close relatives Malayalis/Tamils replacing them? Think about it.

          “I am surprised you are still harking about Nayaka Senior robbing the Mahaweli Funds”

          You don’t seem to like my question. Is it because Basil was Dutta Gamani’s understudy?
          Have you ever had the opportunity to meet His Holiness Dalai Lama?

          • 0
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            Dear Native,
            Your ancestral land…..my Foot…
            Balanagoda Man came from Africa, not Hindia…
            I got my DNA Profile to prove it, although it made a big dint in my wallet….

            Even Sinhala Buddha didn’t come from Hindia.
            Can’t understand why it took that long for our Monks to realize it..
            If they had gone to the Museum in Palatino and checked the ancient treasures from the pre Roman Greek Settlements there, they would have know it a long time ago.
            But then how could they go to Rome when most of their r Dayayakas are in that Two and a Half Dollars a Day Lot..
            Have you done a DNA Test , And visited Rome, Native???….

    • 0
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      The History of Ceylon, from the Earliest Period to the Year MDCCCXV: …
      A. M. Philalethes, (‎ 1817)
      The names of these twenty-six Boodhs, or sages, were Tanhankere, Metankere, Saranankere, Dipankare, Condanje, Mangela, Sumana, Reewette, Soobiette, Anomadasja, Paduma, Naradde, Sommede, Sujaetje, Piadasse, Attodasse, Dammadasse, Siddatta, Tissa, Pussa, Wipassa, Seeki, Wessaboo, Kakalauda, Konagamme, Kaeikgramma.

      Oriental Historical Manuscripts in the Tamil Language, Volume 1 (1830)

      It appears, however, that the Buddhist priests of Ceylon deny any relation of their founder to the Buddha of the Hindus: the two words, as speilt by the two classes of religions, differ also somewhat, it would appear, in the orthography. It is further to be noted, that a part only of the Hindus admit Buddha to be an incarnation of Vishnu.

      Ceylon: An Account of the Island ( 1859 )
      Sir James Emerson Tennent

      The people are all of the Buddhist religion; it is said that Buddha was born here: he was born with an excessive number of teeth. The grain is not sufficient for the inhabitants, and they depend for food on the various districts of India. Gems are found in the hills, and pearls on the sea coast; the cinnamon that is produced in the country is excellent, and much superior to that of Kwang-se. In the middle of the Ming dynasty, the Portuguese seized upon Seih-lan and ‘established marts on the sea coast, which by schemes the Hollanders took from them. In the first year of Kia-King (1795), the English drove out the Hollanders, and took possession of the sea coast.

  • 0
    0

    Considering Presidency is based on the national vote count and not regions: and the fact been the majority are Sinhala Buddhists I think the Sinhalese will be well off if they register an independent candidate to represent them. My sincere suggestion would be to nominate Ven Bandaangara Ganasara for President.

  • 5
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    The UNP is lost because for 25 years they had a leader like Ranil who has only been a dead weight.

    Not having any leadership in him , and being intellectually dishonest, Ranil depends on cunning and manipulating. So he ended having a taxi driver as mayor of Colombo , Sirisena as our President and a lot of crooked old royalists in positions of power. Only born suckers follow him.The UNP is facing the mother of all defeats at the next election.

    Karu cannot do anything. The brand UNP is damaged too much

  • 2
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    Who ever what ever writes, Ranil still thinks; He knows ever thing. uBt he is not the President. He did za Bank scam got ready for presidential elelction. Now he is caught he is scared if Maithripala Arrests him. So, he has talked to Mahinda Rajapakse too. The next is Maithripala Sirisena is now saying he fighting a second presidential election. So, some politicians’ last will say they should die inside the parliament and must have state funerals. but, Ranil never gave up. always he is there.

  • 1
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    Vishvamithra is some times a Brahmin naturalized in sri lanka because, I know what. Now you say, you are VEERa Puranappu and you are giving a list possible contenders for executive presidency. I heard MODI is parying Bhagavan. Parameshvar and Hari Ohm to get Ranil back. So are you are vishavamithra, you may bw writing for the congress party which asks some thing better. So Champika Ranawaka is fighting for protestants too. Most others are O/L failed and they are suitable contenders for Rajapakses as all the O/L qualifications of them (RaNIL 2010-2015) together can not pass one. his O/L.

  • 2
    1

    Karu is the most pathetic and partisan speaker we have seen in recent memory. That may be an overwhelming qualification in yahapalanista eyes.

    • 1
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      Hela

      “Karu is the most pathetic and partisan speaker we have seen in recent memory.”

      True, he is still sitting in the parliament and presiding over parliamentary businesses even after Wimal Sangili Karuppan threatened to bomb the building from air. The great thing about it all is Wimal Sangili Karuppan is free to roam around the building and participate in the parliamentary businesses and get paid for it.

      Really pathetic.

  • 0
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    Correct me if I am wrong. Even the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha too considered KJ as a possible candidate in the 2015 elections. I understand that the late priest emphasized that the President should be one that attires the national dress.

  • 1
    1

    If such rot as Champika Ranawake, Rajitha Senaratne, Sajith P, Sarath Fonseka are
    considered – even by a minority of voters – for our Presidentship Sri Lanka has hit the bottom. Karu was doing well and liked by the voters of Colombo when his “friend” and mentor Ranil decided to pull the rug under him. Ranil forced him to the more anti-UNP Gampaha to check Karu’s growing popularity in the UNP. Karu did not do badly there either. Where he burnt his boat was – that is, in the eyes of the people – is when he connived with the crooked Rajapakses to accept a plum Cabinet position. The unreliable Rajapakses later, characteristically, cheated him and gave him a lowly Ministership. Then and there Karu lost the faith of his well-wishers and die-hard UNP voters. He has since been “average” and may well end his political days thus. Sri Lankan politics is far too entrenched and venomous than whatever good intentions and strategy he had to change it. In fairness to the man, he entered the snake-pit of politics from his position as a well-to-do Corporate and accomplished leader to change the Party and the country to the better. But fate clearly willed otherwise.
    The public – even many UNPers – do not care much for the aloof and arrogant Ranil – plagued throughout with electoral defeats. The man today has aged well beyond his years. He is washed out – in a way. He will be a risk if the Party unites behind him – despite the anti-Rajapakse mood of more than half the voters. Ranil’s only hope is the public helplessness as when JR – in his 70s – came in as the Candidate in a UNP that had little love for him till then. In spite of the same thoughts the electorate has today of Ranil, Mrs. B had created such a mess of the country in her 7 long illegitimate years – including with SLFPers

    • 0
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      (Cont’d) her oncoming rejection by the electorate was palpable. The Paan and Haal polimas were another matter. JRJ, whom UNPers and the country were convinced lacked charisma and public acceptance,
      swept the electoral tide. JRJ was the man of the moment and the time.

      There is little comparison of Karu of today with JRJ of 1977.

      Sri Lanka is fated to suffer her kali-yugaya. There is also the additional spectre of powerful foreign influence – from near and far. They are physically here and have reason to demand their pound of flesh – thanks to the traitorous folly of the thieving Rajapakses.

      R. Varathan

  • 1
    0

    karu who?

    • 1
      0

      Shanker

      “Karu?”

      That fool known as the speaker in the house who reads ruling party’s body language before responding to opposition MP’s questions/requests.

  • 2
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    Can the UNP please give us a person, male or female, who is fit, intelligent and in he prime of life, whom we can vote for?
    .
    I myself am old – although quite a bit younger than Karu Jayasuriya. We need much younger people.
    .
    I took a quick look at what the article says; it’s all about calculating on this minute section of the electorate “who find him acceptable”, and some other group that won’t mind him etc. In other words this party seems to be playing politics with us. Their greatest concern appears to be finding somebody acceptable to the “The Sangha”.
    .
    I will vote only for a person in the prime of life. Can’t you see, even from the photograph, that this man is just old? Please don’t insult us all by offering such people to lead us.

  • 3
    1

    Vishwasatru,

    This is another groan of yours from the deathbed? Why don’t you count your own years while you are at it?

    You are a shameless coward who hasn’t got the guts to write under your own name, may be because it is a bit Geedrik!

    Mr Jayasuriya is not too old if the UNP wants him. But the problem is Ranil bugger will not leave until he goes, like you, in a box.

    You have had a long enough, miserable innings and kick the bucket now.

  • 3
    0

    Son of a —–! I am sick of seeing these UNP grandpas and people promoting these grandpas. Get these morons out and get the new blood in. UNP actually has plenty of youth in their ranks something which the SLFP and SLPP actually lack. Take a chance and promote younger candidates. JVP also have a fairly large youth representation but as a Socialists party, my chances of voting for them is nearly zero.

  • 0
    4

    Don’t discount Ranil. It is thanks to Ranil that UNP has had governments in 2002 and 2015. A shrewed administrator given the opporutnity Ranil will deliver good results

    • 0
      0

      Hasn’t he been given opportunities enough?
      .
      We’re nt particularly enamoured with UNP governments. Certainly not with this one and its Bond Scams. Beore this man can even be consider let him bring Arjuna Mahendran back.

  • 0
    0

    Sinhala Buddhist voter base?

    Where’s it?

    Nobody mentioned above will be able take UNP to victory & hoping the performance of dark horse reflects where the UNP is.

  • 0
    0

    Karu J is too old to keep switching sides.
    He has enjoyed the best in both sides. Is there a better than the best?

  • 0
    0

    He was a Commissioned Officer in the army from 1965 to 1972.
    As president, will he follow through on UNHRC resolutions on human rights involving/during the war against LTTE.
    This is doubtful.

  • 1
    0

    Age matters when you need maturity
    Background of a man is more important than anything else
    KJ showed his colours as a candidate and mayor of the CMC
    Ranil was hell bound to consign him to the dustbin
    If MS is digging his own grave by getting rubbishy rogues like Hemasiri Fernando around him people have to start looking for a suitable sober alternate option
    There is no better choice for the country than KJ
    He will no doubt pass on the que to a younger person when the country is in the correct path
    We have had enough of the homo sexual lumpents

  • 2
    0

    Karu Jayasuriya’s Gentle man most distinct disadvantage in being considered for the next Presidential Elections

    In a gentle way, you can shake the world, ( You have to be like his present ways when you deal with multinational and international corporations. Ladies are controlling and upgrading the countries why cant he.

    Karu Jayasuriya who is considered a liberal democrat with gentlemanly politics has never got his image tarnished with allegations of corruption or misdeeds and comes from a respected With his experience he can struggle like or imitate Gandhi with his age made several other world leaders inspired in their struggle against injustice.

    He got the power to make a difference & power to make a change

  • 0
    2

    Oh no!

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