27 April, 2018

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Mahinda’s Maneuver Triggers SLFP’s Karuna Rebellion – And UNP’s Electoral Nandikadal Looms

By Dayan Jayatilleka –

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The rebellion of the SLFP Sixteen is the equivalent of the 2004 Karuna rebellion. After that rebellion, and with the Eastern flank weakened, it was downhill all the way for Prabhakaran’s Tigers. The same thing has just happened to the LTTE’s allies of yesteryear: Ranil Wickremesinghe and his UNP, and the TNA—or more correctly, the UNP-TNA axis. The rebellion of the Sixteen is the detonation of an explosion at the very foundations of the Yahapalanaya government. It marks the end of the pipedream of a new, quasi-federalist Constitution. It also marks the beginning of the end of the regime.

When Ranil defeated the no-confidence motion, the pro-western liberal elite waved their banners lustily as it had won a Big Match and defeated its rival Mahinda Rajapaksa and his team. The cosmopolitan liberals were convinced that their hero had proved his canny intelligence once more and bested the dreaded MR.

Today, after the defection from the government to the opposition of a strong contingent of prominent SLFP parliamentarians, the Ranilistas need to rethink what really happened on April 4th. They celebrated too soon because they misunderstood Mahinda’s target. Today it is a little clearer what MR was really up to with the no-confidence motion; what his real target was.

In an interesting written speech on April 4th, former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa made the studied observation that the Parliament had witnessed 46 such motions over the decades, of which only ONE was carried—the motion moved by the UNP government against Opposition Leader Mr. Amirthalingam. Every one of the 45 other no-faith motions failed. This fact was known to the former Speaker’s younger brother, a two term President with half a century of experience in politics, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

He knew the motion was unlikely to be carried but went ahead with it anyway. He was of the political generation that was in Parliament when the LSSP and the UNP moved a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1975, lost by a huge margin, but fatally damaged the government. Mahinda was heavily influenced by the stratagem of Opposition Leader JR Jayewardene: crack the coalition government from within, as a prelude to encircling and overrunning it from without, at a general election.

That is what Mahinda Rajapaksa did with the ‘no-faith’ move. If one regards the political arrangement as a cluster of billiard balls on the green baize, Mahinda broke open the entire pattern with this move, scattering the government’s forces in a manner that can never be quite regrouped. More: the government is now like a pinball machine.    

On April 4th, the Parliament which could have voted in a manner rather more congruent with the public mood and balance of political forces in the country as evidenced on Feb 10th, decided to go the other way, dramatically widening the discrepancy between itself and mass sentiment. In the most glaring grotesquerie, the official Opposition leadership was the main prop of the Prime Minister. Inevitably, the PM’s arithmetical victory in parliament triggered a series of political aftershocks the morning after– all of them in the government and none in the JO which spearheaded the attack and lost the vote.

After his spectacular success at the local government election of Feb 10th, at which his populist political movement scored a higher percentage on its first electoral outing, than the iconic SWRD Bandaranaike did in the Silent Revolution of 1956, Mahinda Rajapaksa had a task at hand. That was to bridge the gap between the 40% or 45% (depending on how you calculate it) of the vote he commands and the 10% his forces need in order to jump the magic 50% mark. There was an obvious place to look and that was in the 13% obtained by the official SLFP. He was sure that at the next election he would get most of it, but the motion of no-confidence which was an outcrop of the intra-government contradiction between the UNP and the SLFP, gave him an early opportunity.

While he was sincere in the support he extended to the SLFP wing of the government and the UNP dissidents, going to the extent of sponsoring the motion when the SLFP made the request and passed the baton, he never fully trusted or relied on his allies. As he told me early in the game, he expected that “Ranil will neutralize the UNP rebels by redistributing some posts”. He was also acutely aware that “President Sirisena may change his mind at the last moment when pressures mount”. A Realist, he went ahead, his eye on the prize of drilling through the governing coalition and precipitating an anti-UNP (not anti-Sirisena) rebellion within the SLFP, just as TB Subasinghe, Nanda Ellawela, AM Jinadasa and Tennyson Edirisooriya rebelled in the last stage of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s government.

Ex-President Rajapaksa had to adjudicate a debate within his own ranks. SLPP strategists argued that Ranil was the ‘ideal opponent’ to have; the easiest to defeat. They pointed out that Mahinda had been defeated only when Maithripala Sirisena, who had a profile acceptable to Sinhala-Buddhists, defected and was conferred the candidacy. “Why should we support the no-faith motion and help the UNP government to refresh itself?” was the question posed, with the term “refresh” being the exact word used. “Instead of moving no-confidence motions against Ranil, why not simply let him remain in play—he is wrecking the economy, and after all, we have only 17 months more to go!” was their argument.

Pitted against this was the collective view of the leadership of the Joint Opposition (JO), comprising the February 18th 2015 Nugegoda movement (‘Mahinda Sulanga’/‘Bring Back Mahinda’), which was best expressed as: “If Ranil remains there won’t be a country for us to take over in 17 months—he’ll sell off everything in sight!”

It is these competing perspectives that were misperceived by outsiders such as the JVP and misrepresented at the April 4th debate as the views of the “BR faction” and the “JO’s GR faction” respectively. Weighing these contending perspectives and seeing the merits of both, Mahinda Rajapaksa kept the goalposts within sight: the internal contradictions within the coalition government. Mahinda’s gamble was that the SLFP was not a complete write-off; there was political life and an anti-UNP, anti-Ranil reflex within it yet. It worked. He counted on there being SLFP MPs with guts and a lucid sense of electoral self–preservation. He was not trying to induce them to cross-over, but to emerge as potential anti-UNP allies in a broad front; a resistance movement within the SLFP and the coalition government to complement the massive anti-UNP populist formation he led outside. The no-confidence motion was but a stage or phase in that strategic project.

Mahinda has breached the SLFP ‘blue buffer’ which protects Ranil’s UNP, the JO-SLPP’s main opponent at the national elections of 2019-2020. In the same move, he has caused or catalyzed the emergence of a guerrilla column of SLFP rebels against the UNP, attacking the UNP’s flanks. Through the no-confidence motion, Mahinda has opened a Second Front.

The UNP stuck by Ranil and is now stuck with Ranil. Today, after the no-confidence motion, Ranil, the JO-SLPP’s ‘perfect target’, will be the opponent in 2019. He faces a new contradiction from within the government, is devoid of a two-thirds majority in parliament, and is exposed before the voting public as having been propped up by TNA in exchange for a new Constitution and military withdrawal.

The pro-Ranil element of the SLFP has slit its electoral wrists by collusion through abstention. It will not divert SLFP votes anymore. The SLFP’s 13% has shifted either directly to Mahinda or to the SLFP rebel faction which is in transition to the Opposition and may ally with him. If the UNP takes the Mangala roadmap and moves on a new Constitution and ‘Transitional Justice’ in the coming months, it will be massively defeated at a Referendum and overthrown the morning after by the masses, the monks and the military. Even if doesn’t, the UNP will be gone in “just two more Vesak Poyas” as Mahinda mischievously puts it.

Experienced academics and serious analysts in South Asia can clearly see what liberal Sri Lankan civil society intellectuals and academics cannot. Writing ‘Geopolitical Notes from India’ in the Pakistan Observer (April 6th 2018) after the no-confidence vote on Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Prof MD Nalapat, UNESCO Peace Chair & Director of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India, Vice-Chair Manipal Advanced Research Group, and former Coordinating Editor of the Times of India, projects the outcome of the Sri Lankan political process in 2019-2020:

“…More than any other reason, it is the perception by Sri Lankans of Sirisena and Ranil bowing to US-EU pressure that is clearing a way for the return to power of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the next Sri Lankan election.”

All that Mahinda Rajapaksa has to do is pick a winning Presidential candidate. He has four front-runners to choose from. The two senior-most are Teflon and cannot be framed and jailed. Any of the four can beat Ranil.

A time-bomb has exploded in the ranks of the ‘Unity’ government and of the SLFP in government. There is a crack in the dam. Mahinda has breached the bunker-bund complex of the enemy, the UNP, and some important SLFP hostages who were part of the UNP-TNA’s human shield, have got out. Ranil and the neoliberal elite’s political and electoral Nandikadal will take place at the Presidential election next year.   

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Latest comments

  • 14
    4

    Dayan Jayatillaka was contracted to denigrate RW. He was promised (political promise??) a job.
    The man chooses the coward’s weapon the infamous ‘language/religion-divide’. Will he ever write something without dragging Tamils in?
    Here the man brings in Karuna. DJ knows that Karuna was in UK prison for travelling on a false passport? At the trial Karuna said that the passport was given to him by GR. This GR is one of DJ’s deities!
    DJ has taken upon himself to subliminally make corruption respectable.

    • 7
      2

      The man was with Ranasingha Premadasa, and then with the Rajapaksas , and was part of their corrupt legacies. There is nothing ‘subliminal’ about it. This man himself is utterly depraved, and rather than punishing him for that, SL media continue to carry his drivel.

    • 6
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      I think Dayan Jayatilake’s motive is not only to denigrate RW but also destroy the SLFP and destroy Srilanka. His motive is not a peaceful country. He wants to see the country suffers, continuous bloodbath by creating divisions. Sinhalese should understand why he supports Gotapaya instead of Mahinda or Namal? He wants further division within the Mahinda Family? He promotes Gotapaya as a war winner not Mahinda? The truth is Mahinda lost in his presidential election because of Gotapaya (BBS sponsor)who was responsible for the attack on Muslims. In fact, Mahinda lost not because of Tamil votes, it is because of Muslims votes. Tamils voted for Sarath Fonseka in the previous presidential election, not for Mahinda. It is a well planned politics by Dayan & Gotapaya. The split between Karuna & Pirabaharan was initiated by Ranil, not by Gotapaya. The Prime factors contributed to the victory of war are Karuna split, India’s full backing and US intelligence to stop arm supply for LTTE.

  • 12
    5

    “The defection from the government to the opposition of a strong contingent of prominent SLFP parliamentarians” was a very good thing indeed and it has actually STRENGTHENED and NOT WEAKENED the government. That is because this contingent is comprised of a bunch of scumbags and backstabbers – and that includes one female. Good riddance of bad rubbish!

  • 2
    3

    DJ: For you, always “LATE” but “CUNNING” – “UNP’s Nandikadal Looms”. For us, we knew that not only the UNP but also MY3’s faction of SLFP got “LOST” in Nandikadal on the day the Cabinet was sworn in after the General Election of August 17, 2015. With the appointment,( on the”RECOMMENDATION” of PM) those 16 Cabinet & State Ministers who voted in favour of the NCM (e.g. Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarsana Yapa, S.B.Dissanayake, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane, Dilan Perera, Thilanga Sumathipala, Chandimal Weerakkoday – All and many more who “ROBBED” the country’s assets) AND the “DAY LIGHT ROBBERY” of the CB not once but twice (on Feb: 27 & Mar.6 2017), we KNEW that “NANDIKADAL” that you “Expect” did in actual fact HAPPENED. So your attempt to assign that credit to “Two term President with half century experience in politics – Mahinda Rajapakse is STALE and NO RELEVANCE. That “CREDIT”, if at all, must go to and assign to both the present President and the PM , who JOINTLY gave cover to those who robbed the country’s assets. Await for the next episode of your “HERO & Co;” going to “Nandikadal” and that what really is “LOOMING”.

    • 2
      1

      DOUGLAS: Srilankan parliament is very corrupt. but, 31% of minorities suported by Westernfunded INGOS, EU and USA are man handling and forcing the parliament to what to do. MY3 did certain things wrong. For example, I heard when the next parliament begins SB dissanayake is with the Pohottuwa. that we can understand that. there are so many like that in SLFP. Pohottuwa is full of them. If MY3 can correct those mistakes he will be in the good side. Because, MY3 hired those RAts WHO CHANGES SIDE TO BE IN THE LINE UP OF THEIVES. Ranil proved he is the same old stinky – rotten thief. hE IS STILL IN THE SAME GANG. tHE BEST THING IS TO PROVE THAT unp IS A right wing govt and RANIL is ULTRA LIBERAL PM. He wants to sell everything to get few bucks.

  • 4
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    UNP government is doomed however way you look at it.

  • 10
    7

    Dayan Jayatilleka I thought you are a low level so and so, but now you have demonstrated that you are a worthless human scavenger of dead bodies of innocent Tamils. Tamils who took refuge in the No Fire Zone only to be carpet bombed by Gota and Mahida.

    You think that its great journalism to quote Nandikadal to arouse Sinhala blood. Auschwitz is a forbidden word in Germany. Germans are ashamed of Auschwitz.

    Nandikadal is the Sri Lanka Tamil Auschwitz. Sri Lnaka Sinhala Buddhist are proud of Sri Lankan Auschwitz.

    You wrote for the sake of God go Ranil
    Even the God cant save Sri Lanka

    • 6
      3

      Rajash

      Many in this forums don’t write they type.
      The public racist never disappointed me. I always expected him to strictly follow the simple practice letting “Garbage in Garbage out”.
      Well you know what he churns out day in day out.

      • 3
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        absolutely Native Vedda
        Happy Tamil and Sinhala New Year to You

        • 2
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          Rajash

          Happy Tamil and Sinhala New Year to you too.
          Have you noticed we both been marked thumbs down?
          Guess who did it.

          • 1
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            I really don’t give too much attention to number of thumbs up and number of thumbs down.
            However as you say when there is an odd one sticking his thumbs down it becomes obvious …and there is no need for Cambridge Analytica to find out who

  • 4
    3

    First let me tell the news I saw and believe. All 16 MPs will be supporting the Yahapalanaya from outside, just like TNA. Yahapalanaya 2/3 is not affected. “Man Kuthiraiyai Nampi Aaru Kadakkathae” .(Don’t count on sand horse to cross the river.) Old King couldn’t stand up and make a speech introducing the NCM. He could not sign NCM. He spread fake stories that he had told UNP MPs not to sign NCM. He called and asked Ranil not to resign, whatever happens in parliament. Thero is twisting all the truth. After all these, if SLFP dissentient, the 16 MPs go with the Old King, they are worse than Thero, who believed Old King and gave his blood and flesh in May 2009 only to get whipping in return. Old Royals are there only for their family. That is well known to Joint Comedy Club’s MPs like Dullas, Bandula, all knows that very well. All SLFP MPs in JCC are all the time, risking their MP status. SLFP can dismiss them from party and send them home from Parliament. They all are party laws violators. The ball is in the SLFP court. The Chaff New King wants quantity, not quality, so has not taken any action to send them home. The Minister Posts vacated are now within the hand of New King. He can give to anybody he wants. If Ranil and New King cooperate, then they can bring anybody from Joint Comedy Club and Give minister posts.

  • 4
    3

    Unity National government theoretically should not leave anybody behind in opposition; that is, there is no opposition needed for Unity Government. Any SLFPyers misbehaving is only opposing SLFP and they are party dissentients, not opposition party members. Remember, everybody sitting in opposition has received permission from SLFP leader (New King) to do so. They deserve punishment from the party as per its constitution; they cannot be honored as opposition MPs.

    Again Thero is arguing TNA is smaller than SLFP and has only 16 MPs. In Lankawe, in the constitution, it is not limited by minimum Number, though India, it is limited to become an opposition party.TNA openly campaigned for CC and CC is in the government through Parliament and through Cabinet. TNA openly declared it will support government from the opposition bench. Then TNA has nobody to oppose, other than the opposition, Policywise.

  • 5
    1

    Let see the block vote of srilankan parties. mahindas SLPP the largest single party obtained 44.65‰ with maharagama ,mahiyangana, thirapane, bandarawela, beruwala, weligama, agalawatte where they have nominated independence groups and not contested the vote base will come as 46%. Unp got 31% it is include muslim congress votes, digambarams vote, rishard baduyudeens vote percentage wise 8% as a party unp has 23% votes unp alliance has 31 %. Jvp has 6%,slfp has 11%, tna has 5%. There will be 1.4 million new voters will be entiteled to vote in 2019 election. If gotabaya is candidate with their 46% from slfp at least 9 % will be added to gota and thondaman, douglas devananda and karuna party will back him and more than 70% of frsesh voters will cast their votes to gota. He has a one horse race in this presidential election. In unp case their 23 % the alliance partners will add 8 % of votes and tna can add 5% maimum of 36 % – 38% is the maximum with all minority votes. Gota can easly go for 54-55%. Minimum. If jvp contest seperatly they will end up with 5%. This is a obvious fact now. We can say any thing for our own satisfaction but election statistics says a different story. Since 1994 unp always depend on 10 % floating voters since their vote base is less than 24%.this is the truth we can not hide this. Slfp vote base more than 40% since 1994 .this slfp vote base fact purposely ignored because slfp always in alliance. For an example slfp badly lose the election on 2001 but they had vote base of 38% even on that election. These are mathematical statisstics. We can not hide this. If gota is very much closer to presidency now. Only good if he become the president is he will bring up the super business capitalism of mahinda and business and investment and middle class life style will bloom again.

  • 5
    3

    DJ, I think you are seriously losing your marbles and you are exposing your stupidity and ignorance by the day.

    Prabhakaran never considered Ranil and ally if not why would he call for a boycott during the election which would have definitely ensured Ranil’s victory, VP considered Ranil a cunning adversary because it was Ranil who prepared the ground for Karuna’s defection which ultimately proved to be the game changer in the war.

    Come to think of it even the master mind behind the NCM must be Ranil because the only one benefited from this is Ranil and UNP, he created a smokescreen making everyone believe the UNP backbenchers are rebelling against the leadership and got the stupid SLFP MPs to mount a NCM making them believe they can win it, in the end it again proved how smart and cunning Ranil is, now his leadership is consolidated and at the same time he managed to get rid of the pohotuwa rats who were playing a double game.

    DJ you are indeed delusional and daydreaming

  • 6
    3

    Omg ,what a load of Crap Dayan.

    Malaysia had its independence long after Sri Lanka,in 1957 and has a super Federal system and no one can deny its progress to date.

    Federalism is thee way forward for Sri Lanka, of cause robbing from one whole pot won’t be available and accountability is going to be high.

    Why are you so warped minded ,being an intellectual?

    Just imagine if 10 guys like Dayan spreads such lies ,how many Daan Prasads and Ajiths would be born out of it ?
    It seems people like Dayan with all the education and knowledge have so much hate deep in them they will never ever let Sri Lanka rise up.

  • 4
    1

    It is a desperate attempt by DJ to derail the Government and more so to politically annihilate RW and bring in the previous regime. His vengeance is clearly borne out from his write ups. We have observed such disgruntled people in different walks of life specially in political sphere who are often accustomed to vituperation. Education must make people humble ,that is what higher learning is all about. We have seen in MR, MS, and RW their inherent dishonest qualities in varying degrees. which have caused irreparable damage to our country and how they are conducting themselves as if nothing has happened. All these politicians together are moving heaven and earth to retain their present positions and come to power in the next parliamentary Elections too. President and Prime Minister please listen to your guilty conscience give up your egos bring justice to our nation
    which is bleeding white. You have no choice. Before things can get better they will become worse. Both of you are playing into the hands of the enemy .

  • 1
    1

    HENRY FERNANDO: Ranil and UNP alive because, I think, the CIA and EU wants it. IT is eaasy to let EU disintegrate. Just forget them. We do business with different countries. We buy German Cars we do not aask GSP like something from EU. Why do we have to get their GSP and their list of what do complete in order to provde them FISH CHEAP. If they catch it will be expensvie. Ranil has digged his own grave. He di dnot prosecute Rajapakses and the gang. “HE is aligned with CHORA Rujina. Right Honourable Ravi Karunanayake is a THEIF with multiple financial FRUAD charges. He gave Car permits evento the FOOT NOTE gang. HIS vision2025 is IMF/MCC agenda. Ranil is identified as a RIGHT WING GOVT and a ULTRA LIBERAL PM. WE need to explain these to the colomb middle class who sacrifice their family lives and children to stay ahead the game whle Ranil and His gang of Rats are busy stealing food from the table of the Poor. Now, the western Journalsits are comparing ZAMBIA and Sri Lanka.

  • 2
    0

    DJ is gloating over the impact of the MR diriven NCM and derides the effort at revising the constitution to be more inclusive. What he does not envisage is what will happen if this government fails and MR back to power again. Will the Tamil diaspora that is politically strong in the west and western countries shrink from demanding more devolved powers for the minorities? How will MR cope with that?
    Either we learn to be inclusive and learn to live peacefully with respect with the minorities or we refuse to do that and sooner or later division of the country will come, through force! Mark my words. An idea (minority rights) cannot be fought by force of muscle (like in war) or power (like in parliament/state). It has to be addressed in a just manner. Otherwise no peace is possible. All citizens of SL must understand this, if not our country will go nowhere. Playing politics is easy and dirty, but pay heed to the country and the future generations!

  • 0
    0

    We sri lankans are paying a price for not even accepting the 13th ammendment with shortcomings it had. Many tamil prisoners who were released after the indoaccord lived a normal life. Tamil mothers /wifes need not protest like todayfor release their lives or the missing. Sinhalese mothers too in 88/89 lost their children without any trace.
    As Dj says we would get a new constitution. At least implement the good sides of the accord & reform it. Language parity etc. Letters to tamil offices still come in sinhalese.
    Sadly mr. Cv & his allies act like BBS people in the north. More devolution is worthless when there is religous fundamentalism in the north & south

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