21 September, 2021

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Maithri’s Options: From Sensation To Reality

By Harindra B. Dassanayake

Since the last presidential election, fun begins from the nominations stage. This time round, however, nominations of both sides exceed mere ‘fun’ and borders on black humour – would you imagine Mahinda Rajapaksa runs under Maithri’s list and fiery Champika Ranawaka to camp in Ranil’s backyard? So, the proverbial ‘desperate situations call for desperate solutions’. May be. The central plot of the drama so far is the nomination for the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa from the UPFA list. And it was given. However, those six million odd voters who lifted the challenger Maithripala to the throne by ousting its incumbent seem hardly satisfied. Interestingly, even some of the Rajapaksa fans too are bitter-tongued as their hero gave into a trap instead of becoming a true avenging rebel leader against the Maithri’s UPFA: ‘once a Judas is always a Judas!’, so they say of Maithripala Sirisena, a name that increases blood temperature of those who upheld him as well as withheld him just six months ago. Did he not have better options? This short piece will explore some of three other options he could have adopted, each, with devastating consequences. 

The options are as follows:

  1. Maithri should have taken a leaf out of Mahinda’s book and do what he did to Sarath Fonseka in 2010 – Cut the cancer.
  2. Maithri could simply remained the President and leave the rotten SLFP and UPFA to those who deserve it – Nobody wanted him to become the leader of SLFP
  3. Let the Rajapaksa clan break away from UPFA and contest, if he desired, on his own from his own party – Purify the great Party

Let’s examine the possible outcomes of each of these options briefly.

MaithripalaCut the caner

What goes around comes around. But, what the then-president Mahinda Rajapaksa did to his challenger, Sarath Fonseka, in 2010 was a sorry scene in the eyes of someone who admires the right to differ. The essence of the January 08 mandate was to bid a permanent ‘Rest-in-Peace’ to that very kind of politics of destroying one’s opponents. Probably, the investigation process could have been fast-tracked. More thieves could have been caught, and put in jail. Yet, as the controversial resignation and resumption of duties of on member of the Bribery Commission (bringing the work of the institute to a stand-still) vividly exemplified, fighting a system that grew over a decade with months needs democratic patience or, yes, a guillotine. The second is not an option in our country, and it should never be anywhere. In order to protect and respect the essence of the January 08 mandate, democracy should prevail. Going by the standards that Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa has set as the President, he should be thankful to his counterpart Mr. Sirisena for allowing him live a normal life, let alone doing politics.

Nobody wanted him to take up the leadership of SLFP

“President Sirisena was not given the mandate to take up the party that voted to send him 6 feet underground. But he backstabbed his supporters by putting the ‘Party before Country’ and taking up the leadership of SLFP and UPFA”: so goes the general criticism. Let’s look at the flip side of the coin – UPFA and SLFP would remain under the leadership of its former leader, Mr. Mahida Rajapaksa. In the present election, he will challenge the UNP–led United National Front, formed with all individual leaders, groups and parties who stood behind Maithripala Sirisena’s victory.

The ensuing battle will be a carbon copy of the January election, this time more aggravated and intensified with claims of ‘rising terrorism’ and calling for pseudo patriotism. Unlike under the chairmanship of the president Sirisena, contesting alone, the UPFA, which one of the largest party in the former parliament, will roar patriotism, howl ethnic pride, snarl ‘non-Sinhala’ hatred and cry out for ‘war’! The result will be a highly polarised election campaign denting and tarnishing the reputation of SLFP even further, and probably beyond recovery. So what? One may ask. On the one hand, being a country fighting hard to withstand allegations of human rights violations (case up for September in Geneva), and leaving one of the largest political parties in the country in the full control of the once-rejected, but increasingly militant chauvinist forces on the other, what has happened now seems much more tolerable and beneficial. The UPFA will be restricted to a more inclusive rhetoric, as its cunning advocates cannot say that President Sirisena paves the way for the rise of the terrorism in the country. The prospects are certainly better for the country that SLFP and UPFA are under the control of the January 08 mandate.

Purify the great Party

“Don’t give him the SLFP ticket” was the catch phrase among millions for the last few weeks. Lucky if things are that rosy. However, how could the President uphold values of democracy within and outside the party and deny the chance for Mahinda Rajapaksa to run for this election? At least a few million people want Mahinda to run, he himself wants it, and a good number of the members in the party wishes so too. In such a demand driven situation, the President’s effort, if at all, to prevent Mahinda from getting the chit will be an outright autocratic act and therefore, by extension, a violation of the January 08 mandate. “So what about the March 12 declaration to keep those corrupted out of nomination lists and why do all same-old corrupt names reappear in the list?” – This needs explanation from them. Probably, to make decision making easy for the voters who want the March 08 be taken serious!

Further, say, the President, in his capacity as the chairman of the UPFA and SLFP, denied the nomination to Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. That would lead to break away of the party, bringing about the scenario where a Mahinda rajapaksa runs for election under a different symbol but with more or less the same team as now. As such a coalition will break all ties with minority voters, he may strengthen bonds with the extremists such as the newly registered BJP (Bodu Jana Peramuna) led by BBS. We do not need more on that topic.

The Two Party Balance

However, there is another issue that needs to be taken into account, in case of a breakdown of the two party balance in the parliament, as a result of a possible breakaway from the UPFA. If the Maithri and Mahinda factions of UPFA were to trod different paths and contest from two parties, with UNF running separately, the ensuing situation has the potential of UNF reaching the possibility of obtaining a two-third power in the parliament, either with the support of the TNA, Mahinda breakaway group or another. The parliament under the 1978 constitution has seen two-thirds power in two occasions, in 1978 – 1989 and from2010 – 2015. Both were times of outrageous centralisation of power, the notorious 1978 constitution itself is a result of the 1977 elected 5/6 parliament and the 2010 parliament puts its hands up in blind in favour of the 18th Amendment that allowed for Mahinda Rajapaska to run for Presidency any number of times and tailor-make his dramatic fall in 2010 by trying to eat the whole cake. Such lunacies are possible only when the Parliamentary power swings too much in one direction. Any attempt to prevent that from happening is welcome. In that light, the current power balance will ensure some normalcy will prevail in the politics in the country under the next Parliament.

Betrayal and Expectations Management

The growing dissatisfaction and the feelings of betrayal by the voters bring about a classic case of expectations management. As the modern world has seen from the times of the French Revolution, the expectations of those who take part in a social uprising for a change for better are so great that any seeming disinclination to deliver on the promises is not tolerated. However, the events as they unfold before us call for a balanced view rather than to sensationalize the events as crucify the President for a perceived betrayal, as has been done by many journalists and newspapers.

What the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa represents is a sizeable group of people of Sri Lanka, whose democratic right to engage, consent or dissent cannot be undermined. The President’s duty is to create the necessary space for the people of the country, who exercise their sovereignty, to make the right decision for the country. So far, it seems, as opposed to the popular criticism, President Sirisena has acted to uphold his mandate, while remaining reasonable and sensible. Given that Sri Lanka has sank deep in a decade-long Madamulana trench, it may require an ambitious day dreamer to expect things to take a U-turn just by casting a vote on a single day. What is entrenched in a system needs more hard work and commitment that keeping one’s hands clean and look into the stars only see the sand eroded under his feet.

The fun that elections provide us is symptomatic of the mess we call the society. From fun to reason is the call of the hour. May reason prevail on the day of the election.

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Latest comments

  • 19
    5

    MS has betrayed big time.

    This shows no permanent enemies in politics.

    Hopefully MR and clan get less than 70 seats.

    Also oldies and opportunists like Tissa, DEW, VASU are kicked out for good.

    • 10
      4

      CT Editors:
      Good attempt at a balanced analysis of the current situation. Analysis on these lines of the class, caste, and regional dynamics of alliance politics and its relationship to the virus of corruption in political culture in Sri Lanka is needed..

      Prez. Sirisena should have refused nomination to those with exceptional charges of corruption, because he came to power on an anti-corruption platform. Mahinda Jarapassa has exceptional charges of corruption against him.

      Basically, Sirisena is a product of extremely corrupt political culture in Sri lanka, and a product of Moda Sinhala nationalism. He cannot fully break with his own past history and the corrupt political culture that has made him an accidental president of sorts!

      Sirisena is also not at home with the Colombo 7 and 3 politicos of the Ranil and CBK political elites who are also corrupt but in a more classy way, either.

      Sirisena is different from the Jarapassas, though both have rural backgrounds. Sirisena is a GENUINE and GOOD BUDDHIST and a simple person who is not sold on western consumerism and the name brand life style that the uncouth Jarapassa family loves. Jarapassas have some of whom know the meaning of racism from living in the US have a “love hate” relationship with western culture and civilization. The Jarapassa family wants desperately to belong to ‘high society’ in Sri Lanka and the global 1 percent or global elite.
      Sirisena is not keen on high society because perhaps the gap is too big but mainly because he is a simple man. But at the end of the day, Today in Sri Lanka, the majority of both the village (gama) politicians and the city (colombo society) politicians are corrupt – morally, intellectually and literally.
      In the context, One can but hope that if the SLFP wins Mahinda Jarapassa (who is asking fro more security because the more corrupt you are the more military security you want), will not be given the Prime Minister post by Prez. Sirisena.
      Long live democracy in the miracle of modayas!

      • 3
        1

        Don dead on! Of course, Sirisena should have refused Jarapassa and his corrupt thugs SLFP nominations.
        But Sirisena is learning on the job. There has never been a good and honest president in Sri Lanka – JRJ, CBK and Jarapassa were all pretty nasty specimens of political leaders – gone bad..
        So, Sirisena has no role model of how to be a good president in Sri Lanka. So, like the President of the United States, who has to work with both the Democrats and Republicans, he is doing an Obama number, working in a bi-partisan and non-partisan way, and trying to engage while being disengaged from both the corrupt clowns in the UNP and SLFP. Hope he succeeds in this because this is what is necessary for a President to do – be a uniting and non-corrupt figure in a country. This is how to bring in a new political culture along with the other reforms envisaged in the 20th Amendment. Reform from the top.

        Sirisena needs to be more like a US president, an Obama or Clinton rather than the neocon Bush, and he is certainly better than the JRJ, CBK, Jarapassa type ex-presidents of Lanka – so far!

    • 3
      2

      Pallewatta Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena ,

      So, MaRa Had the Foles he was talokng abput.

      On top of that he was throwing billions of stolen money and Chinese millions.

      So you became spineless, wimp, coward, liar, and traitor to 6.200,000 voters.

      Pallewatta Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena, you are a sick coward.

      Instead of thaking the path of Buddha, you took the path of MaRa, MaRa.

      MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa Gon Sira.

  • 11
    3

    Thank goodness Mahinda is uneducated.

    • 9
      3

      janaka

      “Thank goodness Mahinda is uneducated”

      Thank goodness that CHaRA, MaRa, GOATa, BaRa, NaRA and goons are uneducated and uncultured rascals !

  • 14
    0

    MS had no options. MR had teh FILE!!!!!

    • 3
      1

      What file, If there was a file he would have put it out before Jan 8. Still we are waiting for his press release as to why he gave nomination to MR

  • 10
    0

    ‘Six weeks’ is a looong time in politics. Particularly, the players don’t seem to know which teams they are playing for! I like Sirisena to say which candidates he did not want in the list.

  • 7
    2

    Yo! Idiots UNP UNF is with MR Maithri Pala Sirisena. This was the plan.

  • 4
    1

    [Edited out]
    People cannot be fooled all the time!

    • 2
      0

      Rohan P,

      We can only hope and pray) that the Sri Lankan’s don’t prove themselves to be the “outlier” on that count!

      • 0
        0

        Kumar R.
        [Edited out]

  • 0
    6

    Stinking Sinhala politics which reverberates from the uneducated class whereby the minorities suffer immensely.

  • 3
    2

    Gammanpila says Ranawaka eating his own words
    GAMMANPILA WILL BE ITS OWN SHIT SOON!

  • 4
    1

    Rajapakses can’t invoke ”LTTE revival” any more:

    Former LTTE cadreshave given up on violence and Eelam and nominations given under the party, Crusaders for Democracy.

    Don’t we have JVP parliamentarians and professionals?

  • 5
    0

    Seems, the man had no influence in the National List either. Fowsie, GL, DEW, Tissa, Amunugama, Tissa, Dilan, SRIRANGA, …… See the top group!!!

    Sri Ranga was abusing Mahinda in his Minnal program in a regular basis. He pushed Chanrdaneru’s son on who killed his father. He dragged Rajapakse Samagama ways and means to ridicule. Now, Ranga gets a spot in the parliament. One who gives and one who receives don’t have any sense of shame. In six weeks, if Mahinda comes to power, Sri Lanka will be thrown in the dustbin again. Sirisena will be cursed for ever by the right-minded people of Mother Lanka. Wait and see…. with prayers….

  • 6
    1

    The Author needs to be awarded a Gold Medal for this RATIONALISATION.

    I would say that Sirisena betrayed the Nation when he scuttled the one and only chance to bury the worst criminals in Politics and their cronies & henchmen six feet underground.

  • 3
    0

    SIRISENA you betrayed the voters who made you The President.You shamelessly paraded in front of the British Queen and then paraded with your wife in the name of YAHAPLANAYA.
    YOU SHAMELESS POLITICIAN AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY. WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY NOW.

    ATLEAST PROMISE NOW TO PUT THE COUNTRY FIRST AND THE PARTY AND THE GREED LAST.IF YOU HAVE CONSCIENCE.

    WELL BEING OF THE NATIONS HEALTH AND EDUCATION COMES FIRST THE GREEDY RAPISTS THE MURDERERS THE DRUG PEDDLERS AND THE THIEVES COMES LAST.

    THIS IS WHAT THE NATION WANTS NOT YOUR PARTY POLITICS.

  • 2
    0

    THE THREAT OF FILES HELD BY MR ON MS WAS THE KEY FOR THIS STATELY SURENDER.
    SHAME SHAME SHAME. WHAT WAS THAT FILE HE (. MS). WAS AFRAID OF???

    Big time surrender to save his skin.

    THE SAYING GOES KEEP AT ARMS LENGTH FROM THE MURDERERS AND THE THIEVES. THEY WILL CATCH UP ON YOU ONE DAY. WHAT GOES ROUND COMES ROUND.

    THE GOD IS POWERFUL.

    VOTE FOR HONESTY INTEGRITY AND INTELLIGENCE.

    TEACH THEM A LESSON.

  • 2
    0

    Sirisena is not the man he told to the voters he was,
    in January.He received a solid approval to do all what
    he promised which he miserably ignored rather than
    missed or failed. He promised good governance by doing
    away with the bad ones and on top of the bad ones was
    MARA.MARA himself confessed in public that he let go
    of culprits in his regime against which the very same
    Sira and Ranil combo screamed on platforms with chorus
    provided by SF, Champika ,Sobitha ,JVP and all. Now
    just, just six months after , the very same MARA
    who in his own words,encouraged wrong doers,gets the
    nod to come back to power,from the man who promised
    to the country to stop these men for a new political
    culture. This must be the focus of any meaningful
    discussion and not finding excuses to sympathise
    with the worst betrayal ever happened so daringly
    within such a blink of an eye.Didn’t he lie to the
    people when he said after his victory that if he
    had lost, he and his family would have been sent
    6 feet under ? How can he as the escapee from such
    a threat, rescue the general public ? Sira, go back
    to the people, you won’t get half a million votes!

  • 2
    0

    Sira stepped into saving MARA’s ego that was under
    pressure from all sides. Sira acted to save MARA’s
    name ” New Dutugamunu” which people threw into
    dust bin on January 8th.Unless people defeat MARA,
    reconciliation efforts not going to kick off.Mark
    my word, this is the game plan behind the
    nomination of MARA and the racist gang back onto
    the stage.

  • 1
    0

    HEARD THROUGH A LITTLE BIRD THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH THAT WE ENJOYED THE LAST 6 MONTHS HAD BEEN MUZZLED AS WELL.

    ANYWAY WHICH IS EXPECTED IN THE BANNANA REPUBLIC OF WHITEVANS AND TIDs. NOT FORGETTING TANKS FULL OF HUNGRY SHARKS.

  • 1
    0

    If MR becomes an MP (he will), he will be elected as the leader of the SLFP & UPFA Parliamentarians, Then, it is a matter of the SLFP Central Committee deciding to appoint him as the President of S.L.F.P. MS can not challenge it, as he was not elected as President of S.L., as a candidate of S.L.F.P. / UPFA. Then, MR will be the leader of UPFA, by defualt. If the UPFA gets the second highest no. of Seats, he will be the Leader of the Opposition, too.(which may be unlikely if JVP & TULF joins together & put forward their candidate). Even if MR does not be the Leader of the Opposition, he will be the Leader of UPFA.

    If MS holds on to the post of President of SLFP / UPFA, he will be thrown – out of SLFP, with humiliation. SLFPERS too will rejoice saying, this is the sweet revenge for betraying their Party at the Presidential Election.

    People who voted for MS will say that, it is dittadamma vedaneeya karma for MS, for destroying the only hope the people, specially the Youth of the Nation, created by themselves, with many sacrifices.

    MS forgot that, what is popular is not always right & to stand for what is right at any cost, which people did. He failed to think as the President of the Country, for which he should never be excused.

    If MR used his absolute power for worst, people would have never gone against a man who used some of those absolute power for good of the Nation.

    If he is a matured politician & a leader, with some brains & back born to stand against MR & his Mafia, as soon as he was appointed as the President of SLFP, he should have asked the officials & Members of the Central Committee to resign. Then, he should have appointed Members who are favorable to him, specially for the Post Of Secretary. Then, dissolve the UPFA & form a new UPFA with a Secretary favorable to him. This would have given him the control of SLFP & UPFA. What a weak man to be the President of a Country. Now, he can preach all excuses, thinking the people are bloody fools, but the result is the biggest insult to humanity.

    How can this MS eradicate Drugs, which is an international Mafia, with such weakness, when MS could not even face the MR & Mafia, with the right strategy. It is just a propaganda to cover-up his defeat in the hands of MR & Mafia.

    The result will be creating RW Mafia & MS will be just a spectator, saying : Yes, Sir.

    We, the poor & average People of S.L., will be the sufferers for ever. The youth of this Country will never believe that, the Ballet could bring them change.

    What a betrayal !!!!!!!

  • 0
    0

    A giant party that was UNP once upon a time was pushed
    down to the same level of SLFP which never came to
    power without the wheeler parties of the left, under
    Ranil. Ranil’s game plan can not escape the blame that
    UNP could not fight MARA on its own in the president
    election.Even today , after change of country
    leadership in his favour through his votes, he still
    has to go on the crutches of an alliance.Everyone
    knows that it was uphill task to chase away MARA from
    the seat and the poor voters did it ! But Sira-Ranil
    combo let the creature creep in again ! A quite
    different majority needs to form in the parliament.
    All three MARA-SIRA-RANIL must go home but the poor
    literate,educated and therefore intelligent voter
    will again love to be cheated for a piece of bun
    thrown out at them by one of those ugly guys!!!

  • 0
    0

    MS is the cat who defecated on a rock and now confused when he finds that he cannot hide it.

    His silence is worse than his actions. He has no right to be silent on these matters. he owes us an explanation.

    One silver lining though. I am so glad that this man was not in charge during the 3rd Eelam war.

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