By Gaya jayasuriya –
Ranil Wickremesinghe has been in the UNP for a long long time. The UNP has also suffered Ranil for a long long time. But let us hark back to when he made his push to become the Leader of the Grand Old Party and his track record vis a vis the voting block of the country. His base is Colombo centric. His thinking is Colombo and international.
His backing and his choice of core appointments are also Colombo centric and westward ho.
When JR Jayewardene changed the system of voting from first past the post to proportional count of votes the thinking was that the UNP could never be beaten. But the people found a way around it. Since then the UNP has floundered only because the Leader was found wanting besides Premadasa.
You, Ranil was cheated of a victory to become President by Mahinda when he paid Prabakaran to get the tamils to refrain from voting. Them the very same Mahinda was able to fool the people that you were with Prabakaran at subsequent elections and you didn’t have the persona to prove otherwise. You had to bring in Gen. Sarath Fonseka as a compromise candidate to run for Presidency because you did not have the public approval to face Mahinda after the victory over the same Prabakaran. Sarath Fonseka was the foil which you could not be at the time.
That was with your approval. The next time you had to turn to Maithripala Sirisena to run against Mahinda Rajapaksa. Again with your approval. This time Maithripala won. You had the Prime Minister position given on a platter again. Not because of your appeal but for the vote base of the UNP. You misread the UNP vote as a block support for you personally. If that was so you should have run for the top office each time.
You could not manage Maithripala like you could not manage Chandrika. Again Mahinda was able to raise his head over you. Let us not fool ourselves that it was you who ran this government and not Maithripala. Your appointed Ministers had the key Ministries. You were more experienced than Maithripala. Now. after the local elections Maithripala too is not enamoured by you. The common denominator is you where the UNP faltered. You have not been able to muster your base vote. It has dropped down to 30-35% because the die hards do not vote. They do not vote because they think the UNP cannot win under you. Even Maithripala who won with the support of all the parties plus the UNP block vote who were inspired by Harin Fernando in Uva has become disillusioned by you.
You and your coterie of friends may think that you are the best amongst all around to bring this country back. You and they may be right. But the rest of the country is not convinced and you including your friends have not been able to convince them after so many shies at the pot. Something is wrong or missing in you or your approach. It’s not only your lack of public appeal and stand offish nature that is questioned after many years. It’s also the lack of leadership and the oft spoken of managerial ability. You simply do not have them. Your choices for important positions have been found wanting. Those closest to you or those who you thought were cats whiskers have abandoned you soon enough. Why? It.s because they saw you at close quarters and found that there was never a leader of quality that they thought was lying there. You simply postpone decision making and hope time will present answers. You want your juniors to deliver the plums but do not empower them. Those you empower are unable to inspire the public nor deliver. Soon enough they too abandon you and join the enemy.
No wonder Mahinda wants you to continue to be PM and then be the principal candidate in waiting for the next election. He knows what is good for him. You do not know what is good for the UNP. How can you win at a Presidential election the next time against Gotabaya Rajapaksa? You were given a mandate at the last Presidential and General Election to put away the Rajapaksas for good. They looted, murdered, plundered as did their men. But after defeating them you think that they can help you to win the next time. It’s in your nature to get others to grant you victory and thereafter throw them. You fear people who challenge you. You tread on those who have no opportunity to do so. You could not manage someone like Maithripala Sirisena. How can you manage a country consisting of a majority of Sinhala Buddhists who think three meals of rice and curry at an affordable price is utopia?
Do you love the UNP ? Or do you think you love yourself? What makes you think that the next person to lead the Party is not going to fare better than you?