By Vishwamithra1984 –
“I shall argue that strong men, conversely, know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle.” ~Andrew Carnegie
It is in that context that the leaders of the UNP and JHU should look at the forthcoming Presidential Elections. It is incumbent upon them, if they are really serious about displacing the current President from office, to explore all possibilities, not just one or two, to secure an electoral victory at the Presidential Elections. What does Ranil have to do and what does Champika have to accomplish in order to come to a common understanding and launch a combined effort to achieve victory? If Ranil Wickremesinghe and Champika Ranawaka are serious about their common goal, then there is a way. To show that way is the primary objective of this communique. Before going any further, there is one other significant question that the writer needs to clarify. Why did I select these two parties and their leaders?
- Ranil Wickremesinghe and UNP
- Champika Ranawaka and JHU
1. Ranil Wickremesinghe and UNP
The UNP is the strongest Party in the Opposition. No meaningful opposition can be launched without the active support of the UNP and it is still so. In the personal view of the writer, it is the only mainstream political party reasonable people would associate themselves with. The people’s faith in the UNP’s versatility in the management of the country’s economy and its open-economy principles that have propelled the country from the stranglehold of archaic socialist economic policies of the left-wing in general and the Bandaranaike-principles built around the ‘dependency-on-State’ mindset in the nineteen seventies in particular, has not waned. Furthermore, nepotism which seems to be an integral component of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and its other ‘right-wing’ allies, does not hold any validity with the UNP. The only instance where nepotism played a role in the UNP was way back in 1952, at the very inception of Independent Ceylon when D S Senanayake expressed his wish that Dudley should succeed him after his demise. (Source: J R Jayewardene of Sri Lanka, Volume 1 –A biography by Professor K M de Silva). But when J R took over the Party the picture changed and a new dynamic set in. I dare say that, if not for J R’s vision, R Premadasa would never have got where he was under any other leader of the UNP of the past. Sajith Premadasa and the two Dissanayake brothers, Navin and Mayantha launched themselves into politics after the demise of their respective fathers and not while their fathers were in power or for that matter, alive and they were elected to office due to their own individual strengths. The‘Accident of birth’ syndrome did not work in these cases as it is doing in the Rajapaksa clan. So, there is no dispute that the ‘nepotism’ badge cannot be attached to the UNP. One fine example that nepotism is not the yardstick by which positions in the Party are carved out is when Ruwan Wijeyawardene, the grandson of D R Wijeyawardene, volunteered to hand over the mantle of the UNP Youth League to Harin Fernando recently (However, Harin has been appointed Deputy National Organizer and Ruwan retains his post). UNP needs to head the Opposition coalition, if there were one. Its voter-base, although it has dwindled to a very large extent due to various issues, is a must for any opposition coalition.
Yet, it is reported, that Ranil Wickremesinghe does not want to carry any IOUs to form a future UNP-led government. Ranil needs to shed that fear and inhibition if he ever wants to scale the ‘greasy pole of power’ in Sri Lanka. Politics, as Otto von Bismarck said, is the art of the possible. Compromise is the father of many a political deal that has benefited not just one party but many. IOUs are inherently part of that ‘art’. If Ranil does not want to call it a compromise if such a term is hurting his ‘manhood’, then call it something else. Call it middle-ground, or halfway-point or whatever but make it happen.
2. Champika Ranawaka and JHU
Agreeing on a common program, a common platform and a common goal and without resorting to disbursement of positions under common candidate and Prime Ministerial positions etc., they must meet on the same grounds that unites them and not what sets them apart. If that happens, Sri Lanka might have another chance of breathing free air again. If not, what follows might be too gruesome to pen. If, on the other hand, Champika Ranawaka resolves to stay on with the Rajapaksas and defend that corrupt regime at the next Presidential Polls, he and his Party would be tarred with the same ugly, black brush.
Stranger political deals have been made. Coming together of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Champika Ranawaka is not an impossibility.
*The writer can be contacted at email@example.com
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