By Kumar David –
The first priority for all who abhor dictatorship is to defeat government attempts to grab 2/3rds on 5 August. No one can predict exactly but I have still to meet anyone who was sure the SLPP will succeed in its quest for 2/3. The response of the politically informed and the 3-wheeler chap is “No problem we (or “they” depending on the person’s side) will buy MPs”. If it’s a small number a simple cash transaction is envisaged but if 20 or more votes are needed Sajith Premadasa’s cross-over proclivities are deemed worthy of pursuit. Yes, if the going gets tough for GR on the personalised MP-trading free-market the most likely wholesale deal is an auction for Sajith/SJB. Will Sajith and the SJB sell? At what price? If Sajith sells himself how many in the SJB will follow?
Sure there is plenty of bad blood between MR and Sajith about who loved the Tamils more (or should it read less?), who freed Pilayan, who had a secret deal with M.L.A.M. Hizbullah and does Sajith have a secret plan in his manifesto to divide the country. On the last point a demented MR will utter anything! Indeed, anything to do with exploiting anti-Tamil or anti-Muslims vote-catching odium that either can hurl at the other is fair game. This is Mother Lanka! Experience the dirt online at numerous websites.
But when it comes to crunch time will this stand in Sajith’s way in fashioning a deal with Gotabaya Rajapaksa to repeal 19A and/or to enact an altogether new constitution? Sajith’s manifesto is as silent as the tomb on constitutional issues; it is fair game to surmise that his door is open to a Gota seduction proposal. The constitutional issue is the hottest in the election arena so Sajith’s silence is deafening and is it more reasonable to conclude that he is open to a pact with Gota or to give him the benefit of the doubt? The Sajith-MR spat is passing turbulence in a chamber-pot. I asked a grouchy old friend for his take and got this response “The ageing Rajapaksas are not going to give a leg up to an ambitious young Premadasa. If they don’t get 2/3 they will use him to make up the shortfall in Parliament and then put him out in the cold and out of business”. We are dealing with known-unknowns!
Things will move fast after the election. If Gota clobbers together 2/3, with or without Sajith’s connivance, the tempo and the temper that will be unleashed can be gauged from the screeching of Donald Trump forces in the US. Here is an example from “Trump Breaking News” of 23 July 2020.
“Our cities are being destroyed and Democrat mayors and officials are defunding the police and encouraging the vandals and the arsonists, calling them “peaceful protesters.” This new civil war now pits those of us who love our country and want a Constitutional government, as envisioned by our Founders, against those who would destroy our very civilization and freedoms. Donald Trump is now the defender of our laws and our country, the leader of those of us who believe in America and want to keep our Constitution, and want our cities to be safe again. He is our leader and freedom fighter!”
You can well foresee the sadhu-sadhus, ranaviru kumarayas, hallelujahs, hosannas and haro-harras that will fill the air when the day of Gota’s coronation as per 20-th Amendment dawns. Sajith will go with the flow. There is nothing in his life story, his temperament or his current campaign utterances to match the Old-Left. There is none of Philip’s blood curdling defiance, NM’s cool scholarship, Peiter’s elegance or Colvin’s fiery rhetoric in the man. Style is the man; we cannot lean on Sajith to lead against dictatorship if, god forbid, the need arises. He does not even have the grit of old-man Ranasinghe Premadasa.
This is not intended to be an anti-Sajith diatribe but a genuine expression of anxiety. If you are a UNPer who longs to pension off jaded Ranil and date Sajith, that’s up to you and good luck if you have faith that he will stand tall against Gota. Still I am curious why you stop half way and not move all the way to link with those can be trusted to stand firm to resist autocracy. I must stop, I am an NPP National List candidate so I must keep my column augmentatively political and analytically nonpartisan.