17 November, 2018

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Ranil Has Two Choices: Name The Presidential Candidate Now Or Perish

By Vishwamithra

“Doubt increases with inaction. Clarity reveals itself in momentum. Growth comes from progress. For all these reasons, BEGIN.” ~Brendon Burchard

Today is August 15, 2018. The date for Presidential Elections will be called by the Commissioner General of Elections in between November and December, 2019. That leaves us with approximately Seventeen (17) months. The two main protagonists will be a nominee from the United National Party (UNP) and another representing the ‘Pohottuwa’ in combination with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) or someone from the ‘Pohottuwa’ gang by itself. The SLFP without the Pohottuwa support, if the recently held local government elections are of any reliable measure, would end up in the category of ‘also-ran’. Yet one simply cannot ignore the progressive erosion of the UNP voter bloc. It’s been in evidence during the last twenty years. Ever since the assassinations of Lalith Athulathmudali, R Premadasa, and Gamini Dissanayake, in that order, the UNP has been suffering from a great amount of buyer’s remorse and no changes of any fundamental nature or creative and forward-looking transformation with the galloping technological advancement of society has been introduced into the Party.

Against the backdrop of the maddening rush on the part of the ‘Pohottuwa’ bigwigs to ensure a plausible approach to the forthcoming Presidential Elections in 2020, the UNP seems to be in a lethargic and slipshod ramble towards a coming disaster. The obvious has been neglected. The demand for punishment of the Rajapaksa, the rest of the First Family and their henchmen for their atrocities when they were in power, is still vocal and real. But those who wield power now, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the rest of the Cabinet seem lost and forlorn. Indecision is one characteristic the people hate to see in a leader. On the other hand, risk-takers and those who dare to go to the edge of the possible are perceived as heroes. As Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian and German statesman of the 19th century, succinctly vocalized, ‘Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best’. 

So the question is, can the UNP find such a daring man or woman in their midst who will go to the edge of the abyss and challenge it without turning back? The United National Party had such leaders and that was in the past. D S Senanayake, JR Jayewardene, Gamini Dissanayake, R Premadasa and Lalith Athulathmudali were such outstanding ones. They made politics the art of the possible. Against great odds they were unrelenting; they challenged the status quo and they dared to go further; they made their followers do the same-go thus far and further. The people recognized that unequal quality in them and reposed their trust and faith in them. And they were successful. It may be an unattainable dream to expect leaders of such caliber from amongst the current crop of leadership in the UNP.

However, before jumping into this complex mosaic of the UNP leadership, one must examine the real and looming needs of the people. The country is meandering along without any definitive goal. A rudderless boat has no shore to reach. In the midst of such uncertainty, against the valor of storms and contradictory forces of political nature, if the UNP is showing any signs of hesitancy or indecision, the people will interpret such indecision and hesitancy, and quite rightly so, as an abysmal weakness. If there is any characteristic of the UNP and its leadership has been very consistent in displaying is that extremely negative indecision. Waiting until the nominations are called to start an election campaign is another element of naiveté the UNP has shown during this period, 1994 to 2015. 

This foolhardy approach to elections is a direct byproduct of that quality which has shaped and defined the United National Party and its current leadership. Conceding certain valid and legitimate issues that could be embraced and owned by the UNP has betrayed the very essence of faith and trust in which the grassroots hold the Party. Lack of charismatic leadership at the top has cost the Party its usual capability of attracting new votes, especially the fairer sex and youth. It is not rocket science to decipher the common and simple formula of message + process = campaign. Therefore, good message + good process = good campaign.

The UNP as one single political entity won a majority as against a plurality of votes and seats in Parliament only on three occasions. One was in 1952 after the demise D S Senanayake and the second was in 1977 under the leadership of JR Jayewardene and third when R Premadasa succeeded J R. Dudley, J R and Premadasa were leaders of a bygone era. That era will never come back, nor will the values and cultural ethos would never revisit our body politic in the future. In politics everything is context as well as relative. The current societal makeup is such, in an ever-evolving technological life, changes are measured in seconds, not days, months and years. What would have taken weeks to see in print about a scandalous story on a politician are now outed in seconds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any scurrilous websites on the internet. Unless and until today’s politicians are ready and adequately equipped to handle this fast-developing aspect of communication, they should leave the field of politics as a livelihood. 

In internet warfare, the United National Party is far behind its rivals. That lack of awareness on the part of the UNP as an organism engaged in politics is not acceptable in the context of politics that is engulfing all and any human condition and exploiting that human condition to the advantage of the exploiter. Being involved in the day-to-da activities of running a government is no excuse. Managing their incumbency is part and parcel of government-management. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tragic lack of awareness of this aspect of political life is a great encumbrance to the advancement of his Party’s ‘younger guns’. Delegation of powers to the younger guns, unleashing their potential to the four corners of the country, exposing them to the vagaries of changing climates of hard and gruesome political life of a nation should be treated as a welcoming burden a leader has to bear. Successful leaders of any field have shown the enormous advantage of such delegation.

Whichever way one turns, it is certainly not a kindly scenario one beholds. Progressive erosion of a voter base cannot and should not be disregarded as an outlier. For more than twenty years the UNP has been experiencing this negative voter-response at successive elections. Past election results show that each time the UNP fielded a candidate other than the one who had appeared on the earlier occasion, the new one has won. Dudley Senanayake after DS Senanayake in 1952, JR Jayewardene after Dudley Senanayake in 1977, R Premadasa after JR Jayewardene in 1989. Since then it’s been total disaster. How the current leader Ranil Wickremesinghe takes this, the writer simply does not know. Also, this writer would not speculate as to how Gamini Dissanayake would have fared in 1994 after R Premadasa’s death as it is utterly futile to indulge in such conjecture. Yet one cannot ignore the results of the 2001 elections which in the estimation of the writer is a definitive outlier in terms of statistics. 

Why the 2001 election results remains an outlier is proven by the results that followed in every election that was held thereafter, whether it was Presidential, Parliamentary, Provincial Council or other local government elections. The leader of the UNP who happens to the current Prime Minister seems to have burnet all his chances. Yet Ranil still can muster enough support to win the next Presidential Elections and that chance is slim but still a fighting chance. What does he have to do in order to galvanize his Party and attain and incredible victory? He has seventeen months. He has his new Party Secretary in place, he has his Party organizational structure in gear and above all, he has a very credible and a daring National Organizer who is, to quote Star Trek TV series, willing and able to go ‘where no National Organizer has gone before’. That is Navin Dissanayake. With Sajith Premadasa undertaking to look after the South and Navin to go to all corners of Sri Lanka, the way his father Gamini Dissanayake did during the Presidential Elections in 1988 in support of Sajith’s father R Premadasa, Ranil still can pull a rabbit out of the box. But it is a Herculean task.

Therefore, it is beyond doubt that announcement of the next Presidential Candidate now, not next week or month but now is a sine qua non. To build a structure of a sophisticated election campaign takes time. Branding of the campaign, rebranding of the Candidate, fund-raising, recruiting the right personnel, preparation of a colorful and attractive manifesto, planning and manning the campaign in the districts, micro targeting the particular electorates and districts, construction of the core message, constant feeding of material to the media, running an unmatchable social media campaign take time. So Ranil Wickremesinghe, waste no more time. Name your candidate now or perish.       

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com 

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Latest comments

  • 3
    1

    …So Ranil Wickremesinghe, waste no more time. Name your candidate now or perish !!! ?

    No he wont.

  • 3
    0

    What if Ranil or UNF is not forewarding a PResidential candidate this time.

  • 2
    0

    Title says “Ranil Has Two Choices: Name The Presidential Candidate Now Or Perish”

    Obviously, he would name the candidate to avoid perishing!!!

  • 4
    4

    I won’t be surprised if Ranil proposes Sirisena AGAIN and ask the UNPers to vote for him. I don’t see any other formula whereby the Twentieth Century Fox can wield real manipulating power and move towards Federal destination, his dream.
    Else Sirisena faction will hang on to Rajapakas. The result is obvious.
    The next election is all about Federalism or not. Rajapaksa is the only alternative to Federalism.
    What the Muslims will do is interesting to watch. If I were a Muslim I would rather move into Bangladeshi than living inside federal blocks.

    Soma

  • 4
    1

    when it comes to organising an election he is not a patch on basil
    if basil is not
    in jail the unp cannot win under anybody least of all a colombian like ranil the born loser

  • 4
    1

    Ranil perishing will be good for the country. Because this man has ledbown the country than any other

  • 5
    2

    Now showing in all cinema halls!
    United National Production release:
    CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
    Acting Arjuna Mahendran
    Directed and Produced by Raa Nil Wickramasinghe

  • 4
    1

    UNP even right now can field a good candidate that will appeal to rural Sinhalese Buddhist (SB) as well as minorities to get past the 50 percent mark. Unlike the SLPP which really has no future beyond the Rajapaksha brand name, the UNP has a lot of relatively young and diverse group of politicians on the back bench (Though I believe they need to get more women). Unfortunately, the stench of the current UNP leadership is pretty strong. The old guard, RW, Mangala, John A, Ravi K and many more have really eroded the UNP SB voter base and their association with Rajitha S, CBK, Wichramabhahu, Center of Policy Alternatives, Puravesi Balaya (Especially Viyangoda) only further erodes the SB voter base. I keep repeating these names because they are seen as anti-SB and some as “Sinhala Koti”. This has left a very bitter aftertaste among the SB electorate and it is easy for the SLPP to exploit this SB tribal mentality. That idiot Rajitha must be the 1st minister in the country’s history to award himself the title “Sawapathi”. Idiot Rajitha lost the Beruwala UC to a darn independent group in 2018. Are you kidding me? I’ve been saying this for some time but people don’t seem to get it. If you keep eroding the SB voter base you will lose. That is the bitter truth. You just DON’T GET IT! MS won because he had the ability to take away some of the rural SB voters especially in Polonnaruwa. If that had not happened, MR would have won. For ***k sake, nominate a candidate that has a balanced appeal, NOW! Sajith and Naveen are I think the front-runners. Both these two have a better appeal than any idiots from the UNP old guard and associates.

  • 8
    2

    Mr Shaymon in Melbourne must feel gutted..
    Dr Ranil couldn’t win a Chook Raffle for Twenty Years.until Polonnaruwa Bismark gave Dr Ranil a hand.
    Can he find a new Bismark?.
    There are a few who have put their hands up to be Bismarks.
    Fonseka as late as even last month said he is waiting the call from Dr Ranil.
    Then our Journos in Colombo stuffed it up ,by publishing that photo of Fonny in Paliyagoda with Manju in the same frame.
    The young UNP dude with the real Sinhala Presidential genes, whom the current Speaker adopted and groomed to be another Bismark from Keslwatta, is now the Brick Layer for the Dalits in Hambantota.
    Dr Ranil made the Kid get the right job because the Colombo Elite wouldn’t have a bar of the poor Bugger..
    Is Navin Dissanayak foreman material?
    By the limited glimpses which I had , he is not much chop, although he was saying something the other day about the Presidential candidacy of the UNP….
    The real Bismark of the Colombo Elite with the right breeding shot himself in the Foot by writing a Book on Bond Trading for 3 Million.
    What a shame .
    Dr Ranil’s new boy at Srikotha is not much chop either with his baby face although Mr Vishva seems to like him so much.
    UNP Stable has no real Bismark Colts or Fillies or even Geldings. unless the Colombo Elite count One Shot Ranjan and Hrunickers Dr Harsha and Dr Eran as potential contenders.
    That leaves only Dr Rajitha from the Muslim Stronghold of Kalutara.
    Dr Rajitha in fact said the other day that he is the real deal and ready for Action.
    But the problem is ,our Sinhale People in the South wouldn’t even piss on him if he is on Fire let alone Vote for Him..

  • 4
    6

    Why people always attack Ranil. They know he is the peoples choice. The more Ranil critics spread lies Ranil scores more.Mangala admitted that they told then Ranilta Baa, because Ranil was the best person for the country …
    At election times they bring Batalanda Billa. The batalanda Commission exenorated Ranil for any crime.
    Even Central Bank Bond Scam commission found Ranil not involve in the Bond Scam

    Ranils Policy is simple.He does not want to explain any thing to his friends. They know who Ranil is. and he does not want to explain to his enemies because they do not want to believe him.
    Wait and see. In next presidential race Ranil will be the winner as srilankans from point pedro to Devundara like Ranil for his honesty and his clean record.

  • 3
    0

    Do both Navin D and Sajith P have similar thinking? Have not heard much about Navin D. I am not sure whether SLFP[+Pohottuwa] or UNP is going to solve the SL problems. The Rulers have been protective of the CORRUPT as well as being corrupt so far. No LIGHT at the end of the TUNNEL sor SL.

  • 1
    0

    Do both Navin D and Sajith P have similar thinking? Have not heard much about Navin D. I am not sure whether SLFP[+Pohottuwa] or UNP is going to solve the SL problems. The Rulers have been protective of the CORRUPT as well as being corrupt so far. No LIGHT at the end of the TUNNEL for SL.

  • 6
    2

    Dear Vishwamithra,
    .
    Thanks for writing on this subject.
    .
    On the other hand, we are sick of this subject.
    .
    You are right. Let Ranil please name some person to lead – and then retire from politics. More needin’t be said.

  • 8
    2

    Surely one must realise that Ranil has exposed himself
    badly. He has over the years been an over rated politician.
    He is only used to saying many things are coming like
    aero cities, space cities, farmers in jeans and students
    carrying i-Pads (when they cannot even afford their
    lunch packets). Today he has said that the economy
    is now stable. The best thing he can do both for Sri Lanka
    and her people is to go see a psychiatrist. He is sick and
    the people (except the suckers around him) are tired of
    Dr Ranil, the know all and be all of everything in Sri Lanka.

    • 4
      2

      Ranil wants to rewrite history. Yesterday (14/08) at Anuradhpura he said that he is planning to set up an “Institute of History”! What I gathered from his incoherent jabbering is Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa were Singapore and Dubai of the day and we have to find out whether there was any alien involvement in building them. Pissu.

      Soma

      • 1
        3

        somass

        “Ranil wants to rewrite history.”

        Don’t be stupid all the time.
        Read the following:
        Sri Lanka archaeologists should dig into pre-history; solve South Asia puzzles: PM
        https://economynext.com/Sri_Lanka_archaeologists
        _should_dig_into_pre_history;_solve_South_Asia_
        puzzles__PM-3-2302-13.html

        Ranil traced his Sinhala/Buddhist ancestry to Mohenjo-daro 2,500 BC.

        Well its time you and your fellow Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto builders left this island and settled down in Sindh Province of Pakistan.

        • 1
          1

          Dear Native,
          They have already done it and found Balangoda Man..
          And even Balangoda Man’s Great Great Great ………..Grand Dad and his Family.
          What is Dr Ranil going to dig?….
          Does Dr Ranil want to call him BATALANDA MAN?…….

          • 1
            0

            KASmaalam Man K A Sumanasekera

            Your brethren Tamils trace their ancestry to Harappa, Punjab, Pakistan. Ranil wants to trace Sinhala ancestry to Mohenjo-daro.

            I suggest you trace yours to South India, maybe Coromandel Coast.

  • 3
    0

    After 1994 the srilankan politics has changed a lot after entry of chandrika there is closer to 2 million new votes became slfp block votes after 1994. This made slfp vote base In to 42% and unp vote base in to 26%. This is the vote base percentage of unp and slfp. This 42% . the defecit between slfp & unp vote became 16%. This is why slfp Won all the presidential election since 1994. Because it is very easy to get another 10% of votes for slfp from their alliance parties with their 42% block votes.but this scenario is very hard for unp to get 50% since they need another 24% for that if entire minority parties and floting voters vote for unp they can come up to 45%. This is the story until 2005. After 2005 mahindas slfp increased their vote base in to 46.5% and unp vote base became 23%. There were two major things happened after 2005 the because of the high-tech business liberal economic policy of Mahinda the business class which were silent until 2005 were became the die heart supporters of Mahinda and their slfp.the new business class were formed by Mahinda.the middle and upper middle class were expanded because of the business economy of 80 billion USD was created by mahindas government which was the economy of 20 billion in 2005.this middle class and upper middle class became die heart supporters if Mahinda.that us why they are wining electorate like kaduwela by 50000 votes. Mahindas business class has the huge money and media. So the poor parties like unp or JVP cannot do any thing. Now in srilanka unp is only a small party holds only 23% votes.with their alliance party they can get another 8% from minority parties.mahindas slfp is the largest single party ever formed in srilankan history holds 46.6% votes.

    • 2
      1

      Unp is now only a small anti Mahinda party like JVP.if anti Mahinda party votes divided in to JVP,unp,slfp and TNA ,mahindas slfp has single horse race in any election. The fresh votes from Sinhalese middle class and upper middle class 90% will go to gotabaya. Including my daughters first vote and closer to 20 or 25 of her friends.this young people like a rich party and rich candidate. Gota is only their candidate and choice.this young people does not like poor parties like JVP or unp.this young people does not like poor economic system and failure of unp governments.they need a highly oriented business economic system of slfp of rajapaksas.

    • 0
      0

      A fair assessment by Common Citizen. UNP’s fault is they never did a serious study or took action to change the mind set of the people from the time of the 1956 debacle. In the rural Sinhala mind – as aptly drawn in that famous carton in a Sinhala daily – the UNP is dominated and oriented towards the rich, Westernised, Christian, Tamil, high society and debaucherous. This is clearly wrong. But the UNP has done nothing or little to change this thinking since then. Also, from the bankrupt days of Mrs.B’s reign in 1960 and 1970 both in 1965 and more in 1977 the UNP Govt’s gave a badly needed fillip to the economy. JRJ’s 1977 Govt expanded the economy vide Free market, Tourism, Freeing of Exchange Control and so on. Millions of jobs were created. it was around this time millions went to the Oil-rich Arab countries for work. The UNP propaganda organs remained silent. They did little to capitalise on these huge gains. The anti-UNP Govts, on the other hand, used pseudo-religious nationalism to divide the communities. While it is true there were major communal events in 1977 and 1983. But these were more as a result of anti-Tamil policies of the Mrs.B regimes that preceded these calamities.
      Given a freer hand and non-interference from the apolitical Buddhist clergy the UNP would have settled the “Tamil” issue and possibly prevented the war – despite Cyril Mathew, Premadasa and their ilk.
      UNP must do much more to gain the 2 million new post-1994 votes referred. The trouble is the UNP leadership and propaganda machinery goes home to sleep after election defeats. They must take a lead from JRJ who, almost singularly, built up the UNP from the 1956 crushing defeat.

      R. Varathan

  • 5
    2

    The question many of us have is when will Ranil Wickramesinghe go to prison ? He is the biggest traitor in the history of Sri Lanka. We will never forget how this slimeball illegally signed a cease fire agreement, without even informing the Parliament and handed over one third of the country to LTTE. So much for Ranil’s democracy.The same liar now brags how he brought democracy back into the country !! Also not to forget the fact that Ranil changed the party constitution in 1997 So that he could remain as the leader of UNP forever.

  • 4
    2

    Pissu Hutan – you are spot on. Here is a sick man, a
    manipulator who has changed everything his way.
    Money and cronies have helped him to function as
    a dictator. He has now badly exposed. Until all the
    looted money is with the UNP, he will make valiant
    efforts to become president. An astrologer has now
    told him he has Raja Yoga. He may have been at
    Rajakeeya Vidyalaya but has only Balu Yoga. That
    is why the people of this country are suffering.

  • 2
    0

    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/

  • 0
    1

    Ranil Wicks is Christen born by anti-Buddhist and anti-Sinhalese person of calibre of FAMILY Background of UNP leader? He is not be fit for our nation President

  • 0
    0

    Vishwamithra
    Politicians hold the cards close to chests in games of poker. We have a very high very high stake poker on. Oxygen scarcity at that height is feelable.

  • 0
    0

    KP
    The question is whether Ranil W has any cards to play.

  • 2
    0

    Ranil is a visionary. If he wins, Sri Lanka will prosper and become the next Singapore.

  • 2
    0

    There’s no other person in Sri Lanka better than Ranil to handle the international community. He is a master blaster.

  • 0
    0

    UNP hides behind common candidate in 2010 . Goes into hiding back again
    in 2015 this time emerging victorious behind the victory of APPA candidate
    SIRA . Launched a 100 day relief package to face a general election and ends
    up forming a fragile coalition to establish GOOD GOVERNANCE by promising
    to punish CORRUPT RAJAPAKSHA FAMILY and their LACKEYS . People now
    do believe they were only taken for a ride and Rajapaksas , instead of getting
    locked up , showing signs of coming back , in the view of many , just to haunt
    them back again . All thanks to a bunch of either SPINELESS OR CROOKED
    POLITICIANS who don’t care about their actions as long as vulnerability of the
    masses rule the country . People used the recent local election as a sign of their
    disgust towards the rulers both HOPPER SIRA and Bond Ranil .UNP has only
    two names that are readily available after Ranil . Naveen and Sajith ! Will they
    win ? That is another question ? Pohottuwa might even try Namal and in such a
    scenario Chathurika or Dhaham could work !

  • 0
    0

    RW should become the candidate. Along with CBK, he is the only reformed non-racist in the pack. Sirisena will lose ignominiously unless he sides with MR and MR agrees to a deal where haal Sira agrees to make him executive PM. Alone, Haal Sira will get less than 8% of the Sinhala vote and get routed back to his corrupt den with his children and inlaws and his brother minting money now. RW will get 35% of the Sinhala vote and almost 100% of the T and M votes. MR will not even get 4% of T or M votes and will get 50% of Sinhala buddhist votes and about 5% of Sinhala christian votes. That is not enough to get 50% plus 1 vote. RW must be the candidate. SL has gone past charismatic oratory and personality now. RW is effeminate and girly or as they say Ponnish in a way but he is clean, he is very smart and he has top relations with USA and India; USA will prefer him and so will India.

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