24 August, 2019

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Karu Vs. Sajith; UNP’s Power Struggle Is Now In The Open

By Vishwamithra

“Trying to win a power struggle is like trying to win a nuclear war. You may achieve your goal, but not without catastrophic casualties on both sides.” ~ Jamie Raser

The power struggle in the United National Party (UNP) is now in the open. Candidature for the forthcoming Presidential Elections is at stake. In fact, this time those stakes are quite high. Sajith Premadasa is making a bid through his surrogates. Unfortunately for him, those surrogates are from the UNP itself. No outsider has voiced his or her consent for Premadasa’s tender. And that in itself is stifling. He is very popular with the UNP-grassroots and it is beyond question. Why so is another question. 

Sajith’s father, R Premadasa, Prime Minister from 1977 to 1988 and President from 1988 to 1993, enjoyed enormous popularity, especially amongst the poor class in the country. President Premadasa’s, albeit his tenure at Presidency lasted only 3 plus years, was considered as a man who got the job done, at whatever the cost. His work ethic was exemplary; his determination to finish the job in hand was contagious and the fear he injected into his subordinates was utterly dreadful. His behavior in the Cabinet meetings was detested by some of the more discriminating Ministers and ultimately that behavior alone was sufficient to drive home the fact that his entry into the upper echelons of power was a huge mistake, a dreadful miscarriage of parliamentary majority power. 

Yet R Premadasa is history now. JR Jayewardene is history too. Yet both have gone down in history as two leaders who took the country on two wildly different paths. Many a writer has written extensively on both leaders. JR was an epitome of class, creed and decorum; Premadasa’s place in society was much more complicated and dubious to say the least. His anger with the upper middleclass in Ceylon manifested itself in so many ways and his conduct, both as Prime Minister and later as President, came in for severe criticism, especially in the sphere of his spending on personal comforts and distorting his personal history to portray himself as a man born into a different class of village-elite as opposed to his real beginnings as a child born into a very poor class of parents employed in the meanest of mean livelihoods known at the time.

Ranasinghe Premadasa, instead of using his small beginnings as a plus point in his career, apparently was obsessed with it and took a very unwise decision to place himself as a person of superior societal assigning in order to erase his misty, obscure beginnings. The people in Sri Lanka have come a long way; their preoccupation with the unhealthy signatures of a class-conversation has evaporated; poor beginnings are being considered as positives in the realm of politics. Yet R Premadasa could not overcome his humble beginnings and he hated those he considered as his class enemies. Opening of the economy in 1977 paved the way for unthinkable advance of poorer classes and the open-market economy provided unprecedented leverage to those who did not have the old-class wealth. The class that Premadasa hated so much had already become an anachronism by the time he assumed office as President of Sri Lanka.

In addition to this class-hatred, Premadasa’s engagement with those who were more akin to criminals and uneducated men and women, paved the way for some disreputable and suspicious characters being injected into the upper strata of decision-making bodies in the United National Party. Eventually this conduct exploded in a very harmful way; the explosion came in the way of two of the most promising leaders of the UNP, namely Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali, being sacked from the party. The birth of the Democratic United National Front (DUNF) was more attributable to the irrational behavior of R Premadasa than to the dissatisfaction on the part of Gamini and Lalith. Ultimately this break in the UNP has had its lasting effects.

Historians of tomorrow would write that the prime reason for the UNP’s status be a non-winning political entity by itself is solely owing to this fissure that was caused by R Premadasa in the early nineties. Sajith Premadasa’s call for another Premadasa-era would not hold any water for many reasons. Firstly those who will vote in 2020 simply cannot relate to that era, for they were either born after 1994 or those who were born were still in their young age so as not to remember the country’s socio-econo-political situation. Ever since 1994, the UNP’s lot has suffered some irreparable damage, both to its brand and its leadership. The last time a UNPer was elected as President was in 1988 and the last time the UNP was elected to Parliament to form a government on its own strength was 1989. That’s 31 years ago. 

The child who was born in 1989 is now 30 plus years old. For him or her a UNP victory is not a reality. In other words, securing a majority amongst the UNP-voters is no big deal at all. Sajith Premadasa might, if he’s the UNP candidate in 2020, secure 85% of the UNP base which has spiraled down to a mere 30% of the Sinhalese Buddhist vote. That’s not enough to win the Presidential Elections. Can Sajith secure the minority vote? For that matter, 90% of it. Sajith is not seen as a trustworthy candidate, especially by the Tamils in the North.  In such a context, who is the candidate who would come close or even overshadow Sajith in a run for nomination for President?               

There is one candidate who can match Sajith, speech for speech, vote for UNP vote and in addition, win the trustworthy contest. That is Karu Jayasuriya, the current Speaker of Parliament. The UNP’s maligned image has been cleverly exploited by its opponents. Ranil Wickremesinghe, his flawed leadership and the special treatment of his close friends when it comes to selection of high-powered Cabinet positions are all part and parcel of the current internal crisis the UNP is facing today. Ranil being oblivious to this crisis is not the way to confront that crisis and resolve the issue. 

Sajith coming out, through his proxy surrogates and claiming a stake for Presidential nomination is only a symptom of the acute disease the UNP is inflicted with. On the other hand, Karu Jayasuriya, palpably backed by the Maha Sanga who are supportive of the UNP, too has made a claim and openly declared that he would be ready to accept the challenge provided that is the wish and will of the UNP leadership and its grassroots. Backing of the civil societies which were behind Maithripala Sirisena in the last elections will back Karu Jayasuriya but whether that is true in the case of Sajth is questionable.

The era of Ranil Wickremesinghe is gone; it’s fast approaching death. If Karu is the candidate and he loses, then the UNP would certainly face its most decisive and crucial leadership battle of its history. Ranil will be ousted and who will become its leader is up to the Working Committee and Parliamentarians at the time. It’s doubtful that Karu would stand for leadership at that time. Sajith Premadasa might stand a chance, but his chances would be badly injured if he decides to stay away from the ‘Karu Jayasuriya-Presidential Election campaign. 

On the other hand, if Sajith Premadasa is the candidate and loses, his position in the party will be affected to the extent that he might be thrown into the dustbin of UNP-history as Ranil Wickremesinghe would still be the leader of the party.

If either of the candidates, Karu or Sajith, wins, then the whole equation will change and that will be to definitive benefit of the UNP. Sajith must play his cards cleverly. He must not rush nor should he behave as a politician pursuing his ambition with blind determination and carry his party to sure demise. 

Karu Jayasuriya, on the other hand, would be a one-term President, if he is elected. He is a person who could be trusted to honor his election-pledges.

Now the fight is open. Both Karu and Sajith don’t belong in the winner category as far as the last few elections held after 1994 are concerned. There is only one such UNPer who could be crowned with the winner badge. I suggest that the reader should analyze the elections held since the year 1994 to find out who he is.

*The write can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com   

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Latest comments

  • 19
    3

    None of these people will win but if we are arguing for the sake of getting nomination, KARU anyday.

    He is the best of the bad lot. Anyone who remembers Sajith ‘s conduct when he was the fist son, is best warned that a Leopard never changes it’s spots !

    Karu has also been largely disappointing and a total underachiever but at least he can be expected to stay whithin the expected parameters and not go BESERK like Sajith most definitely will !

    • 14
      4

      Anyone remember Karu’s conduct when he crossed over to the SLFP in 2007 to remain a minister (Home affairs)? And crossed back again in 2008 to be UNP deputy leader? Anyone who remembers is best warned that this leopard too never changes his spots. Both Sajith and Karu (now 79) are untrustworthy scoundrels.

    • 8
      1

      don quixote
      “Anyone who remembers Sajith ‘s conduct when he was the fist son, is best warned that a Leopard never changes it’s spots !”

      can you elaborate.i can’t remember anything.Ranasinghe premedasa was a stern disciplinarian and would not have tried to save sajit’s ass like what mahinda and maithri did for their offspring.sajit must have been shit scared of the father.

  • 7
    3

    Who ever comes as the presidential candidate, Mangala and his office has made contacts with both candidates.It is an open secret, Mangala Will be fundign KaruJ if he comes. I think Mangala Will do the same if Sajith comes.

    • 7
      1

      On Facebook, Sajith is boosting his western educational credentials. How did Premedasa get money to send his son to an EXPENSIVE BOARDING school Milhouse in England for LEVELS? Who paid? LTTE? or his Tamil sidekuxk who ran the government and fled in 1994? He came back in 2015. I forget his name. Not even the Bandsranaikes, Obeysekeras, Ratwattes, Deraniyagalas who actu have English ancestry, never sent their kids to High Schools. And remember how he attacked the Radalayas in 1977 and said disgraceful, vulgar lies? Naira Banda passed his Alevels. So did the other 2 kids of Sirima he used to attack, out of totally caste envy and jealousy. What did they do when he becam President? Force the Presidential mansion staff to call his wife madam/mathini/walawwey hamu instead of Nona or Madam. She copied Sirima’s kandyan sari to handbags, started playing tennis with social elites, got a journalist killed for taking her photo in tennis skirt etc. The poufs in laws STOLE all the paintings in President’s house and sold it in London auctions. Used Airlanka free to export carnations. He thought he was a king. how did the son get money to go to boarding school in England?

      • 3
        0

        ” his Tamil sidekuxk who ran the government and fled in 1994? “

        The name you are looking for is R. Paskaralingam.
        Yes, he is back 80+ in age – Ranil brought him back from London.

      • 3
        0

        Thangamma,
        Forget about how he got money to go to boarding school in England, how does he have the money to live the current lifestyle? After all, the man has never really held a real job. His only job has been that of a politician(unless you take treasure hunting as a real job).

    • 3
      0

      JD

      “Mangala Will be fundign KaruJ if he comes. I think Mangala Will do the same if Sajith comes.”

      what is this ‘comes’,’comes’?Are you insinuating anything for us?

  • 5
    5

    OOps, I nearly lost the Grand which I planned to put on Dr Ranil..

    I am sure the Sirikotha Exec Committee then had only high Caste, High Class Thoroughbreds ,,,
    But I don’t think there weren’t educated Thoroughbreds like Galleon Ravi who check even the OLs now, when our Inhabitants want to get membership at Club Srikotha..
    Otherwise poor Preme would have been still alive today , just like our Medumulana Mama.-

    With all that Talents of Public Speak, Mongrel Spirit, Fighting Skills and Disdain for the Upper Classes why the hell Keselwatta Preme didn’t take charge of the Proletariat aka our Dalits , instead of going to wash the dishes at Srikotha..

    So UNP has only 30% Sinhala Buddhists in their Membership roll..
    But Muslims are 100% now.
    Although some of that was with the Medumulana Mama before Easter Sunday in 2019.

    Tamil Community was 100 % behind Dr Ranil in 2015.
    They are still the same this time..?.

    If Keselwatta Kid and his one time Mentor Uncle Karu both put the hand up , wonder how the 30% UNP SBs vote will be split?.

    Even if it splits 80 -20, Nandasena will have a fighting chance to get in the first round with the help of the disgruntled Catholic Brothers and Sisters in the Bible Belt.

    If Dr Ranil comes out ,Nandasena has Buckley’s .
    Because the UNP SBS will join hands with Vellalas , Mano Ganeshan’s and Thondamany’s Clans to lift Dr Ranil well and truly over the Line.

    BTW , Wonder why LTTE supporter TNA’s Boss Mr Sampathar went to Matara and give Keselwatta Kid a Free Kick?..
    Also appreciate if some one can analyze those Data since 1994 , and tell me who that Dude whom Vishwa tips as a sure bet…

  • 12
    3

    What happened to Prime Minister Ranil’s threat to take to the streets with the farmers ( some thing to do with amendment to Land Act ?)

    Where did this Joker come from ? Good to follow the West by wearing business suit from morning but we don’t have to imitate Mr. Bean too ! The UNP is happy to be led by him ( now for 30 years !)

  • 11
    1

    there is no doubt that at this point of time karu is the unp,s best hope
    under karu sajith can establish his credentials and take over after karus term expires
    other than housing we dont know what his other policies are
    sajith has done himself no favours by his close association with sirisena just like ranils close association with mahinda

  • 7
    0

    Now that CT is available in Sinhalese language too , I hope all the articles are available properly translated in the simplest form including all.comments so everyone can understand.

    The Sinhala CT is a very well come initiative, there were groups misinterpreting comments and articles before to the non English speaking lot via their toxic WhatsApp grps

  • 7
    11

    UNP did not under stand they came to power thanks to Maithripala sirisena because UNP had only 42 seats. Even then, within the first 100 days, they robbed the banks and they are continuing it by robbing the Treasury.
    How come UNP, while dividing the Sinhala vote and strengthening the minorities, is planning to win the presidential election or set up a govt with UNP Prime miniSter and UNP cabinet. With just 42 seats FOUR OF THEM GOT CAUGHT IN A BANK ROBBERY. hOW COME mINHALA VOTERS BELIEVE UNP leader when he is lieing everyday and 41 parliamentarians are talking all non-sense. I hears say, All right we hear come when the election comes. Are opposition politicians and candidates going to keep their mouths shut ? Are there any Bath gottas here now ?

  • 7
    2

    KARU AND SAJITH IS GOOD KARU SHOULD GET THE NOMINATION HE HAS HANDLED WORST DAYS IN SRI LANKA HIS WHILE ALL THIS WAS GOING SPEAKER REMAINED RESPONSIVE FROM ALL DISASTER HE WISE AS A SERPENT YET INNOSENT AND CONCILIATORY POLICIES ESPECIALLY IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  • 10
    2

    This country need a leader who can unite the people, respect the rule of law and justice, take honest actions against all those who misuse the power including corruption, bribe, unlawful murders, political coups etc. The leader should promise to eradicate racism and fundamentalism. The leader should honest to the people and clear cut policies. There is no need for war for power if there is a proper procedure to select or elect candidate for Presidency and Prime Minister.

  • 4
    3

    Era of Ranil Wickremesinghe as UNP leader and as prime minister created disastrous outcome to the party and to the country. His end of his political journey is well written clearly on the wall. He was nowhere near the calibre of the leaders JRJ and R Premadasa. He didn’t nurture the young leaders to take over the party leadership in future is the biggest blunder. His played dirty tricks to under cut Sajith Premadasa was quite well known.

  • 9
    0

    R. Premadasa had the gift of the gab & senior UNPers at the time saw the advantage of his humble background to win over the village vote from the SLFP, the ‘peoples’ party’, to the party identified as elite. Premadasa was also uneducated & was uncomfortable among intellectuals, therefore, had a chip on his shoulder, contradicting his ‘common man’ roots by implying his middle class heritage, claiming to be a product of St. Joseph’s College (whether he was or not is immaterial). His vision (if at all) was flawed & was in the short term as he armed the LTTE & wasted public funds on his ‘gam udawa’ monuments that served no purpose. His hands were also tainted with blood (remember Richard de Zoysa?) & the fact that he was not clean either when it came to corruption (Killie Maharaja had him in his pocket). Now we have his son, riding on the wave of his old man’s popularity at village level, his vote base. So far, to my knowledge, he has no achievements to be proud of in his political career, apart from doling out money (wonder whose money?) to village temples to put up Buddha statues in every street corner. I would expect more from a LSE graduate who has even undergone an ‘apprenticeship’ at the White House. Therefore, in my reckoning, Premadasa jnr will be just another budding Rajapakse with his cronies around him.

  • 3
    1

    The columnist always habit to impress the best candidate is KARU followed by his son in law NAVIN.He also secondary promoted SAJIT and always sidelined the party Leader RW according to his own beliefs.He must analyze who is take the PARTY and governance the country under enormous pressure is RW no other person.IF RW no more ,the UNP wholly eaten by MR plus MS gang.the Day no party to lead either KARU or SAJIT.

    • 2
      3

      Guess what,
      The person who is really cheesed off about this UNP Shit fight between Keselwatta Kid and Galleon Ravi is the great Yahapalana Leader of the Hindian Tamils in Colombo. Mr Mano Ganeshan..

      I didn’t know that Mr Ganeshan belonged to Dr Ranil’s Elite , Anglican and Vellala Faction.
      Mano came swinging at those spoil sports demanding that they stop harming Dr Ranil and his Government..

      Wonder whether Mano’s former Followers have all graduated in to Elite Class with that USD 12,000 GDP per anum Bracket along side the Vellalas?…

      • 6
        1

        KASmaalam K.A. Sumanasekera

        “I didn’t know that Mr Ganeshan belonged to Dr Ranil’s Elite , Anglican and Vellala Faction.”

        Does it mean they don’t belong to Sinhala/Buddhist faction?
        How could anyone prove he/she belongs to your Sinhala/Buddhist fascism?
        How would you make me believe you are a Sinhala/Buddhist/fascist?

        Have you Bronco branded your face, a**e and willi the words, Sinhala/Buddhist?

        I am just curious.

        • 0
          2

          Dear Native,

          Me too…..Has Mano been to Sampathar’s House for a Cuppa !!!

          • 2
            0

            KASmaalam K.A. Sumanasekera

            How would you make me believe you are a Sinhala/Buddhist/fascist?

            Have you Bronco branded your face, a**e and willi the words, Sinhala/Buddhist?

            I am just curious.

  • 0
    2

    Vishwamithra UNP’s internal power struggle is as old as the party itself. The push/pull was in the open like the SWRD D-putsch. The Karu/Sajith power struggle is “……Is Now In The Open”.
    But Vishwa the two are no SWRD B.
    .
    RW must be given a chance.

  • 3
    2

    Karu should be given. He is matured and commands the respect of all communities. Karu can maintain democracy and save Sri Lanka’s image.

  • 1
    0

    It is sad to see that there is bitter infighting within the UNP. In the days of JRJ and Premadasa, there was no dissent within the UNP. The dissenters were shown the door. It happened to Cyril Mathew. The situation today is different. Even after Ranil Wickremesinghe gave orders not to discuss the candidate for the president, Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa continue to announce their intention to contest publically. To be charitable, Jayasuriya says he will contest only if the party nominates him for the post. However, Jayasuriya has a black mark for deserting the party and accepting ministerial post under Mahinda Rajapaksa. That was a shame for someone who aspires for the post of president. Sajith is an unknown devil as far as Tamils are concerned. His father failed to address problems faced by the Tamils. He was a communalist as JRJ. His son cannot be different. Tamils will vote for a candidate who is prepared to address the problems faced by the Tamils, including devolution of powers to Provincial Councils.

  • 0
    3

    According to the grape vine the nomination will be given to the person who agrees to give the all important Executive PM position to the current UNP supremo. In that sense the octogenarian Karu will be the perfect choice and the ideal candidate.

  • 5
    2

    Mangala is the venemous serpent.
    Before anyone realise he would have sold SL lock, stock and barrel to the Americans.
    May be at this moment as nobody knows the SOFA demands sent to the Foreign Ministry in August 2018 has been okay’d and attached to the SOFA agreement of 1996.

    As for Karu, he should be chased off as USAID employee and Traitor Prasad Kariyawasm has been advicing KARU as the Speaker how to run the business in Parliament according to American wishes.
    Prasad. K is the person who wanted ACSA AGREEMENT PUSHED THROUGH even before the Tri Forces Leaders could go through and reply.

    TRAITORS AND SERPENTS EVERYWHERE FOR SELFISH AND PERSONAL GREED.

    • 1
      0

      Thondamanny: KAru Can come, Sajith can come. who ever comes, Mangala’s handlers will win. Just like the Zaharan’s blowing up, every hing is carried out to the computer simulated precision.

  • 2
    0

    the author talks of power struggle.I can’t see any struggling by sajit.he is a cool customer and knows at 52 he can patiently wait till the job falls into his lap.It is the 80 year old karu who seems to be struggling.The UNP grassroots know that if he is made the candidate the rajapakshe’s will be back.

  • 0
    3

    The ideal combination for victory would be Karu for President and Sajith for Premiership. UNP would be unbeatable then. In the alternative, Gayantha Karunathilake for President.

    • 0
      1

      kalu nangi

      you have something there.people at the grassroots will be happy with sajit as PM.

  • 0
    1

    Who will next UNP, President? Karu/ Sajith, in 1977, UNP, winning the election, that time ( Ex- P.M. Premadasa, ) is talking for UNP, and they won, after that , I got a Job , but in election time for J.R. ( South Colombo) , we were ( J,R, Poster past ,in south Colombo , area) do you know how much per day, ( S.lankan Rupees, -10/- ) , but J, R, or Premadasa was having ( Colombo-Muslims/ Tamils ) support, so this two candidates must have ( Tamils / Sinhala/ Muslims ) vote, then can win, I don’t know who more support?

  • 0
    3

    Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali due to superiority complex belittled brillant R Premadasa. Sajith Premadasa has not inherited his great father’s qualities. Sajith Premadasa is an idiot he is not worth a finger nail of his late father. The next President should be Ranil Wickramasinghe.

  • 4
    0

    Sajith & Karu,

    Two very interesting personal peculiarities and or aspirations of these two aspiring Presidential hopefuls took my eye and ear when I happened to read or heard them somewhere.

    A) In the case of Sajith, it was mentioned that he carries his OWN bottle of water and every morsel of food he would partake wherever he would go. Be it to a political function or any other or on the contrary detest from partaking any food when invited anywhere, even to a hotel. He is obsessed with the fear of being subjected to any “Black magic” which we usually call “Hooniyam” in our part of this world.He is supposed to have NOT eaten anything from outside, even a Pizza.
    If this is TRUE do we need such an eccentric individual as our future Head of State?

    As for me it would be a firm NO !

    B) As for Karu, his daughter is obsessed with making Sri Lanka a BEEF FREE country and Karu has been in the forefront in this campaign which is why he is so well respected among the Maha Sangha. The recent conferring of some high order on him was also due to his personal opinion on consuming BEEF.
    If this is TRUE do we need an individual who could work towards BANNING the consuming of beef in the multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multi-religious country?

    As for me it would be a firm NO !

    • 0
      1

      ashy

      which is worse,no beef or not eating out?Beggers can’t be choosers,so out of the worst who is less worse in your opinion?My choice is sajit,cos i don’t mind what he does with his stomach,but i do love my beef.In my opinion killing is killing whatever the animal including fish,and you should be a vegetarian if you are against killing.I admire the indians who are mostly vegetarian.I wish i could be a vegetarian.If i rub a lamp and the genie asked me i would say to make me vegetarian,as i feel guilty.

      ps.as for eccentricities,many have them.as long as it is harmless it is okay.I cannot sleep without a small pillow tucked between my legs.The pillow should be smalI,not the ones the hotels give.if one of the presidential candidates goes around campaigning with a small pillow will you give a thumbs up or down?

      • 0
        0

        Shankar,

        I love my BEEF too. If Karu does not like his BEEF let him not deprive others of it. We have one eccentric at the helm, and waiting for him to say his goodbyes. Please we don’t want another.

        Regarding Sajith if he is has so strong beliefs in Black Magic or Hooniyam we may be “kaba geni dila hotu geni gatha” at the end.

        • 0
          0

          ashy d
          the guys from deep south have strong belief in hooniyam.When they come and live in colombo too if they have a fight with the neighbour and suddenly the the neighbour sees smoke passing throgh his window he will rush and close it cos they are doing something at their place and sending the smoke towards him.Even mahinda is terrifiedof spirits and wears amulets and rings to ward them off.Ekneligoda was killed because he was sending human ash to mahind aand his cronies and was laughing his head off when they were running around terrified.

          I also did a pooja with hindu guy who could summon the gods and he also will talk with a feminine voice when the god enters him.2 little gods appeared before me in a sea of mist and with their thumb pointing towards their mouths.The guy told me in his feminine voice that they want whiskey if i want them to protect my property.I said okay and bought him 4 bottles of the finest most expensive scotch and gave him.Most probably he must have drunk it,not the gods,don’t know.

  • 0
    0

    Let Karu contest then everybody will support him in the party who propose sajith it is a disaster

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