18 June, 2019

Blog

Nugegoda: Rajapaksa Exploited?

By S. I. Keethaponcalan

Dr S.I. Keethaponcalan

Dr S.I. Keethaponcalan

At first, I thought it was just another meeting. Hence, I did not pay too much attention. Then, I was told the meeting drew a massive crowd. Although estimates differed greatly, it was an impressive show of strength: a crowd that I have never seen in any of the recent meetings. Also, I noticed many of the leading Sri Lankan commentators were writing about it. It must be important. I decided to watch the video of the whole show on the Colombo Telegraph.

The Message

People who gathered were asking Rajapaksa to come out of his “semi-retirement.” At this juncture, it is important to understand what former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had to say. What he said could have serious repercussions for the future direction of the country and most importantly the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). For example, a decision to return to active politics would split the SLFP, right in the middle.

Approving of the meeting and appreciating the support, Rajapaksa had sent a brief message, which was read to the crowd. In his message Rajapaksa made two factors clear. One, he does not accept the election results because he believes that it was an outcome of a conspiracy; a conspiracy mounted by enemies of the country. If one goes by Rajapaksa’s recent pronouncements, this could include the Tamils, the Tamil diaspora, India, the West and so on.

Two, his loyalty to the SLFP is still strong. He made that very clear in his message. Therefore, he probably will not leave the party to support what could be called the Nugegoda Alliance. The Nugegoda Alliance includes the political parties and ideological factions that shared the stage.

Nugegoda Wimal Dinesh UdayaAlthough it was declared that Rajapaksa has no capacity to reject the call of the people who voted for him, he constantly referred to the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by the SLFP. It is, therefore, safe to assume that he will return to active politics and contest the forthcoming parliamentary election as the prime ministerial candidate if invited by the UPFA headed by the SLFP. Those who expected a firm “yes” from Rajapaksa would have been disappointed. Now the ball is in the SLFP’s court and it seems that Rajapaksa will wait.

Will he fight for it? This is highly unlikely, because it seems that Rajapaksa is increasingly losing the ability to wage political battles. He contemplated the idea of cancelling the election when it became clear that he was trailing, but did not pursue it. He hurriedly left for his ancestral home, only to return almost immediately to reclaim the SLFP leadership and within a couple of days gently surrendered it to President Sirisena. He no longer is fighting.

Image Building

What’s next? Rajapaksa and his supporters could try to engineer an invitation from the SLFP or keep up the pressure through, for example, Nugegoda like rallies, protests and marches. Engineering an invitation will not be easy because of the power Sirisena could wield on the SLFP leadership due to his position as president. Sirisena did not win the presidential election to let Rajapaksa come back to power by other means. The personal animosity between the two will also add to Rajapaksa’s re-entry problem.

It is clear that the Nugegoda Alliance will try to keep up the pressure through similar meetings and programs. The Nugegoda meeting was more about the Alliance rather than Rajapaksa. Members of the Nugegoda Alliance can hardly win any seats on their own in a general election. They do not have popular endorsement and party machinery. Therefore, they need an alliance with the SLFP or a personality like Rajapaksa to bolster their campaign. Even if Rajapaksa does not re-enter, these campaigns will enhance their image, which will be of value in a future general election. Therefore, the Nugegoda rally is an image-building exercise by members of the Alliance. Obviously, some were trying to fill the vacuum created by Rajapaksa’s exit. It is also possible that they love Rajapaksa too much.

Executive Prime Minister?

At least a segment of the people who attended the Nugegoda rally believe that Rajapaksa could and should become the prime minister. The question is whether they want Rajapaksa as the executive prime minister or as the prime minister under the present system. Under the present system, the office of the prime minister is an extremely weak institution. Ask Dingiri Banda Wijetunga, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, and D.M. Jayaratna. One prime minister even complained that he was treated like a peon. This is definitely not what the Nugegoda Alliance wants for their hero, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Therefore, they are talking about a premiership under a reformed constitution. In essence they want President Sirisena to reform the constitution so that Rajapaksa could return as an executive leader. How realistic is this expectation? It is extremely unrealistic. The present president had to take a very serious risk and launch a difficult but vigorous campaign to oust Rajapaksa. Therefore, he is unlikely to facilitate Rajapaksa’s return.

Also, Sirisena was directly and indirectly attacked in Nugegoda. A direct attack came from Weerawansa. His accusations claimed that it is President Sirisena who appoints the prime minister and the opposition leader and asked: What kind of country are we living in? In his message Rajapaksa claimed that he was brought down by a conspiracy, implying that Sirisena was part of that conspiracy. Therefore, the suggestion that Rajapaksa and Sirisena could work together does not sound realistic. This also means that Rajapaksa cannot make a comeback as the prime minister immediately or at least for another six years.

Real Message

However, one cannot overlook the force projected in Nugegoda. It demonstrated how much popularity Rajapaksa enjoys among his Sinhala compatriots. It demonstrated that if allowed he could come back, win elections and start rebuilding. This has the potential to make Rajapaksa’s opponents and the present government nervous. They would also understand that reforming the fundamental elements of the present constitution, for example, reintroducing the parliamentary form of government, would allow Rajapaksa to make an easy return. A total reformation at this point in time could amount to political suicide. It is the executive presidency that is preventing Rajapaksa from coming back. Consequently, the government might even slow down the plans to reform the constitution. Therefore, the real implication of the Nugegoda rally, perhaps, is the slowing down of the reform agenda, not the rise (or re-rise) of Rajapaksa.

*Dr. S. I. Keethaponcalan is Chair of the Conflict Resolution Department, Salisbury University, Maryland

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 13
    2

    S. I. Keethaponcalan –

    RE: Nugegoda: Rajapaksa Exploited?

    Yes.

    Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s credibility dropped further. He needs good advisors, not the unscrupulous Crooks, Robbers and Criminals, he is surrounded with. That was his downfall.

    They say, Success is Measured in the Company You Keep.

    Wimal [Edited out], [Edited out] Nanayakkra, et al. are just leaches…

    • 1
      1

      Mahinda Rajapakse is no fool. He will not be contesting any elections, but looking around for a country with no extradition treaty with USA. He will be selling his mansions in America bought with questionable funds and moving on to that safe haven because the UNHCR report is due in September and he and his brother Gotabhaya are sure to be indicted with serious War Crimes.

  • 9
    3

    Very good analysis indeed.
    No doubt that thministerial Veryappendex Dr.DJ trying to hang on to the coat tail of ” Kataragama Deyio Blessed ” MARA who claims to be Gemunu reborn to protect the Sinhalese and thus the only rightful leader of whole of SL.

    Why can’t the great 4 plus DJ follow SWRD style (SWRD together with MR ‘s father & few others, left UNP formed a new party under his leadership ), make MR to leave SLFP , form a new party under MR leadership and get 2/3 rd majority in the parliament ? Why MR and his gang has to hang on to SLFP ? Good opportunity for MR to prove Maithri ,Chandrika and others, that he is a come back leader and a smart patriot like DJ.
    If MR comes back as executive PM, the great 4 and DJ are guaranteed to get lucarative ministerial posts for all the support they have given. So the great 4 plus one will stage many Nugegoda model rallies in the 7 provinces until the general elections. HLDM too will be guest speaker in these rallies. Exciting months ahead.

    • 3
      1

      Ambedkhar Reborn

      “So the great 4 plus one will stage many Nugegoda model rallies in the 7 provinces until the general elections. HLDM too will be guest speaker in these rallies. Exciting months ahead.”

      Every Rally by the Crooks, Robbers ans Criminals, CRCs, need to have in the neighbourhood a counter and competing rally by:

      1. the JVP, and,

      2. The Common Sense Pamphlet Sri Lanka 2015 and

      3. The Sri Lanka Crisis Pamphlets distributed in Sinhala, Tamil and english.

      Still, there are too many Mootals, முட்டாள்,
      Modayas and Fools left to be converted.

      So, what is the Problem?

      The Sri lankan Writers. They are like Cattle(Harak). Keep saying Baeee, Baeee and Baeee.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_%28pamphlet%29

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_American_Crisis

  • 9
    2

    Corruption as a public concern has only a slight edge over racism in SL. Wimal and Udaya have developed racism into an artform. Tis sad to see Dinesh and Vasu in the same league though.

  • 6
    13

    I am a proud member of nugegoda Alliance. The country was doing very well under President Rajapksa until Sirisena, Ranil and Chandrika destabilized the country. The country is doomed!!!!
    The people will rise as one and give the power back to our true leader very soon!!!!!

    • 11
      0

      Rajapakshe can come back if the majority want him.
      BUT, he must adhere to the once bitten twice shy policy.
      His downfall was corruption, nepotism and indicipline.
      Can he rectify ?????????????

      Let Rajapakshe provide the answer to the public.

      • 7
        7

        Ranil is an un-elected leader of a minority government. He should be able to show good results of his policies to the people if he wants to survive the general election.

        • 8
          4

          Taraki

          “Ranil is an un-elected leader of a minority government.”

          He is an elected leader of UNP. BTW he is also an elected member of parliament. The president has powers to appoint his prime minister. The president who was elected by the 52% of the polled votes has appointed Ranil as his prime minister.

          The parliament can pass a no confidence motion and get rid of him. Why does not UPFA put forward a no confidence motion to topple him?

          Is it too complicated for you?

          “He should be able to show good results of his policies to the people if he wants to survive the general election.”

          The people will remember MR’s 10 years of pro clan policies and practices when they next vote in the general elections as they did on 8th Jan 2015.

          What is the alternative, a despotic rule of a kleptocracy forever? People believe that all politicians are crooks, corrupt and have despotic tendency. The scale of corruption and despotism make the difference in the election.

      • 5
        7

        that is what rajapakse asks ne….make him the candidate…why worry so much if he can be defeated?

    • 1
      1

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 9
    1

    The only solution to keep MR and his gang of corrupted men away from politics is to prolong the existence of executive presidency until such time an election is held, prime minister, is chosen and
    a stable govt. is formed and made sure that the right govt. is chosen
    to protect the country against corruption,nepotism and communal forces,
    then bring the 19A proposal to the parliament so that for the next 5 years, there will be peace and treasury will be in safe hands. If the cart is put before the horse by Srisena govt. then, they will be in trouble as MR. can marshal the support of the majority by intimidation and the president in this instance, becomes a puppet as executive powers will be with the PM. Ranil is building castles in the air but he is not aware that the voters are gullible and they will vote according to the trend at the time of the elections. There are no solid UNP votes to bring him back to power and a battle will rage between the majority and the minorities as to whom they should support and there will be division among the SLFP’s. Already at the Nugegoda meeting, communal card was played, blaming the minorities for the defeat of MR and countries, like India and USA were dragged in, as enemies of the state.

    Wonder whether the govt. in power is aware of the dangers ahead and unless they work on this matter seriously,the people who wanted good governance will face the music as reversal of what happened with the present govt. will happen and the people who lost their position and fled the country may be told, not to unpack their bags until the coming
    parliamentary elections and the people who got positions from the current govt. may have to count bars. The UN resolution on war crimes
    will also will be put to rest as by time, SL govt. would have taken over the power of investigation the war crimes, internally. so there
    is lot of fun ahead, my countrymen.

  • 6
    5

    Thanks god!!!!,
    that They did not Show you the Buses, they transported the people from outstations for 1/4 bottle of liquor and a packet of rice.
    I have no Idea how much they paid to their catcher and pimps.

    Any it was a good show of [if] 1/2 million people as if THEY SAY????????????.

    By the way. Mind you; Nugegoda is an another BUS HALT.

  • 6
    5

    NGO puppets and [Edited out] minority groups are dead afraid of sinhalese nationalism….

  • 0
    2

    Absolutely and willingly !

  • 5
    1

    you are correct prof. all disgruntled and communal elements in the country got together that day and found a suitable personality i.e mahinda to be their leader. if the majority people want a corrupted and unruly white van type of govt. let them have it. that will be the fate of the country.we are sorry to see vasudeva with them talking in the most vociferous manner. did you notice top class chavinist nalin de silva was also present. the leaders are sadly mistaken. i think slfp opposition under nimal sitipala de silva will not go along as they know that the nugegoda leaders were the reason for humiliating defeat of mahinda.we should thank the 4 million sinhalese (?) who voted for maithiri.
    -sundara

    • 2
      6

      when i started to read I thought you were talking about Wigneshwaran.

      • 6
        3

        such,

        Isn’t it a cheap shot? I told you before you are losing your marbles!

        • 3
          6

          Is calling a wigneshwaran a racist cheap shot? That is something I say every time ne. He is a low life racist!

          “you are correct prof. all disgruntled and communal elements in the country got together that day and found a suitable personality” – this suits Wiggie the racist (reincarnatation of GGP)

        • 2
          3

          Burning Issue

          “Isn’t it a cheap shot?”

          As usual she shot herself in the foot.

          • 4
            5

            As usual the useless Aswer in CT. NV fellow hiding behind a vaddha name (to suggest neutrality)… what is shooting at feet idiot? Am I a she now? Are you threatening to say you have editing power in CT? To access commentators’ IPs?

  • 7
    0

    Wow, okay, probably the most relevant and non-hysterical article I’ve read on CT to date!

  • 8
    3

    Even after the end of the war, the previous regime and their henchmen were living and surviving on tribal racism, religious fanaticism and promoting hate speech. They not only made use of the media to promote communalism but also created organisations like BBS and fully implemented their agenda, which resulted in a large number of people starting to believe them and supporting them. Honest and moderate politicians like Ranil Wickramasinghe become the worst victims.

    Today, we have the most honest and moderate politicians (Maithree and Ranil) leading the country. But still the people supporting Mahinda Rajapakse wants to promote Racist Tribalism, Religious Fanaticism and bring Mahinda Rajapakse forward. The Nugegoda rally was full of hate speech and arousing the masses with communalism using a lot of false and misleading information.

    The Maithree – Ranil government should put a full stop to this nonsense by bring in new legislation to prosecute those who try to disrupt the peace and harmony in the country by inciting the masses on racial/religious communalism and hate speech.

  • 6
    1

    M.R. is a politically a shrewd man. I do hope that he very well knows that the Nugegoda alliance has no political future and that his days are also over because he will be hauled up in courts very soon unless the U.N.P. AND THE S.L.F.P. wants to loose those who voted for the new government and give the J.V.P. these votes. Please note that the people are getting fed up of the government and the J.V.P. are now gaining and it will be very soon that their trotting will be a gallop.

    • 10
      4

      JRJ, RW, CBK are politically shrewd. Not MR.

      MR is an uneducated, street thug who is street smart. No smart genes in the entire family. Look at the brothers and the sons as well. Do you need any more proof ?

  • 9
    3

    Rajapakse has comitted sufficient crimes to be totally deprived of civic rights for life if not anything harsher. This matter should be actively pursued by the new government.

    Sengodan. M

    • 4
      4

      ha ha ……[Edited out]

      • 4
        5

        sach

        “ha ha ……[Edited out]”

        Did you shoot yourself in the foot or hurt yourself while lifting your bum over your head?

        Take care.

        • 4
          5

          I guess you cant put up an argument without resorting to personal insults? Did my comments and my references to facts intimidate you that much?

          You are lower than Aswer himself. A waste of oxygen! A tamil racist!

    • 2
      2

      It will happen sooner than later… the present regime is buying time until the 100 days get closer.. then they would jail all crooks who would NOT get nominations so WE the citizenry will have educated PEOPLES REP’S at the parliament Whom WE CAN make accountable.. unlike nitwits who throw money around with NO education what so ever and plunder the national wealth ..

      WE need a different political atmosphere for SL to grow from strength to strength now that the war has been won…and become the beacon of Asia… not just the miracle of Asia as the false vision of MR, who had visions ONLY for HIS FAMILY to prosper…

    • 2
      3

      Yes, agreed. We are waiting for the trump card to be played. Let the
      game proceed in a sportive manner.

  • 1
    5

    Yazoooo! This Nugegoda rabble was a collection of yesterday’s men, wondering what to do, now that their tap of perks etc has been turned off. None of the buggers that were making big noises from the stage has done a proper days work in their life. Hard work is an alien concept they share with the pimps of Pettah. None of them are electable to high office, and they depend on the big beasts in order to fill their boots. To see our own champagne patriot, smartly dressed, dapper and bleating for the return of his beloved master reminded me of the touching story of Greyfriars Bobby. Woof! Woof! But it was the amazing Wimal Weerawansa, looking about five years younger these days, that finally put me, to sleep. Thank God for small mercies.

  • 0
    4

    It is the people who rejected Rajapakse & his Co. Rajapakse & co kept their power unlawfully by bribe, threat, fraud (BTF). Racism was their tactics. If Rajapakse come again to power, there will be a bloodshed in this soil and people will loose everything. He will assasinate all those who supported the removal of this regime and the country will be under Rajapakse military. I don’t think that the civilised world will tolerate that. The Nugegoda concept is dangerous and its impact unimaginable. If that is the wish of the people let it happen.

  • 0
    6

    Dr. Keethaponcalan has sailed past two salient features:

    1) The possibility of MR himself engineering the Nugegoda meeting.
    2) The bus-loads of crowd was perhaps group enjoying a free-ride!

    That earns his write-up a B-.

    • 2
      0

      What if he does not believe it was engineered by mara? are you sure it was organized by him?

      • 0
        1

        Where did I say that he believed that it was engineered by mara? Or, even if MR engineered it. I simply asked why he failed to consider that possibility. That is what is expected of an analyst, – analyse possible scenario. That is why I gave him a B-. Give him an A+, if you want to.

        • 0
          0

          Are you guys Keetha’s profesors? Lol

  • 1
    2

    It is vitally important for Sirisena and his government to, without delay, decapitate Rajapaksa politically by exposing his criminality and corruption while he was president. When the people see the real Rajapaksa they now adulate I am sure they will turn their backs on him. If Sirisena fails to do this he will be swept away by a Rajapaksa tsunami before he knows it.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.