By P.Bertie Ranaweerage –
I am proud to have penned a few articles to Colombo Telegraph since January last year on the need of fielding a common candidate that has the ability to make inroads into the SLFP vote base in order to defeat Mr. Mahinda Rajapksa at the Presidential Election. Through some of my articles I promoted Chandrika as the best choice as nobody from the SLFP was likely to challenge Mahinda at that time. The title of one of my articles was ‘ Is Chandrika the best option?’ Then again I wrote another article ‘titled ‘Common candidate competition” because Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka and Dr. Kumar David were promoting Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Rev. Sobhitha Thera, respectively as the most suitable common candidate. I can remember that Dr.Dayan jayatilleka proposed Mr.Karu Jayasuriya and Mr. Sajith Premadasa also as suitable common candidates that can challenge Mahinda successfully. In my article I argued that Chandrika was the best option as the common candidate as she would be able to win a sizable number of SLFP votes which was indispensable to defeat Mahinda. After Mr. Maithripala Sirisena launched his campaign as the Common Candidate I wrote two articles predicting that he would win. The title of the two articles were ‘ Who will win? Maithri or Mahinda (Nov. 29 2014) and “Is Maithri the next President? (Dec 19 2014). I am happy and proud not only I was able to prove that the dons were but also I could participate in my small way in overthrowing Mahinda’s regime through my writing .
At an interview with the BBC (Sinhala service) just before the last Presidential Election former President Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga said that Mahinda would try to remain in power even after the defeat as she knew who Mahinda was. The Foreign Minister yesterday made a complaint with the CID that Mahinda together with his brother Gotabya, CJ Mr.Mohan Pieris, former foreign minister G.L .Peris and Udaya Gammanpila plotted to cling onto power unconstitutionally when he was convinced Maithri was going to win the election. It is important to note neither the Attorney General nor the IGP nor the Army commander has denied so far the allegation made by Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that Mahinda made an attempt to annul the election results. When we examine Mahinda’s past it is clear that Mahinda wanted to come to power and then remain in power as long as possible by hook or by crook. His name has already gone to the history as the person who violated almost all the election laws that should be followed by the candidates from the nomination day to the election day .
In every democracy the first 100 days of a new administration is considered as the honeymoon period and the Opposition let the new rulers to govern the country during that period refraining from making unnecessary troubles. It is apparent now that Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa is not ready to give Maithri even a breathing space. There is no doubt that he is getting ready to defeat Maithri’s government at the first available opportunity.
All good hearted people of this country worked hard for the victory of Maithri because of his pledges to restore democracy , press freedom, independence of judiciary ,rule of law and introduce constitutional reforms for good governance. What Rajapaksha , his faction and racists want now is not to let Maithri to implement any of those measures.
Maithri’s victory has been a severe blow to the chauvinistic gangs such as Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya gammanpila, BBS, Rawna Balaya etc. Their sole dream is to bring Mahinda back to power. Soon after Mahinda left Temple Trees Wimal Weerawansa said that he would not let Mahinda stay at his home at Madamulana. To achieve their dark schemes they started spreading canards round the country that the LTTE and the TNA were busy with the objective of forming an Elam administration in the North.
In the meantime It seems that Maithri has been able to secure a simple majority in the Parliament as around 25 UPFA MPs visited the new President at his home and expressed their allegiance to him. There is no doubt that they are leaving Mahinda not because they want to serve the country but because they fear that they will lose many things including their freedom as some of them have plundered the country .
Now it increasingly looks like that more and more Mahinda loyalists will desert Mahinda to save their necks. The Chief Minister of North West provincial Council together with all the UPFA Provincial Council Members there have expressed their support to Maithri. Though Mahinda’s initial plan was to defeat Maithri-Ranil government through his loyalists headed by Nimal Siripala de Silva it seems now that he has been forced to abandon his conspiracy as more and more his loyalists are deserting him. According to latest reports Maithri and Mahinda have agreed to meet and discuss the unity of the SLFP. It is said that Mahinda is prepared to hand over the Chair of the SLFP to Maithri. I do not think that Mahinda will let Maithri to be the president of the SLFP sans conditions. There is no doubt that he wants very badly to stop the government from making investigations how the Rajapaksa family became one of the richest families in the country during the period he was in power.
Will Maithri agree to Mahinda’s conditions for the sake of the unity of the SLFP? If he agrees that will be the end of his 100 day programme as well as the Maithri-Ranil government. The forces that brought this government into power must not let Mahinda and chauvinistic gangs to sabotage the unity of Maithri and Ranil. A national government sans Mahinda loyalists for another few years is indispensable until the a permanent solution is found to the National Question that unite the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims
*P.Bertie Ranaweerage -Former president of Ceylon Teachers’ Union