By Granville Perera –
It is time that all those who believe in the ideals of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) immediately gather around any opposition candidate who would genuinely work towards abolishing the executive presidency and save the future of the SLFP.
Those who fail to act now will realize that a 3rd Term for Mahinda Rajapaksa would ensure that Gota will succeed him and the baton would be passed on to Namal and there is no hope for any in the SLFP to climb up the ladder of executive office for the next twenty five years or more. What would be the fate of the SLFPers who have toiled all their lives to bring the party back in to power, especially surviving the iron fisted rule set in motion by the late cunning fox – J R Jayewardene and the UNP rule of 17 years that disfranchised Madam Bandaranayike. Today, the old guards of the SLFP are confined to the old peoples home tagged as “Senior Ministers” and their future in politics systematically destroyed.
A notable and probably the most corrupt after the Rajapaksa clan – Nimal Siripala de Silva was removed from his lucrative ministry of health and shoved to Irrigation and Mahaweli development to ensure that he would not be a future presidential competitor with his ill-gotten wealth. Now, when he is settling down to continue his corrupt practices, he has been brought down to earth with the debacle in Uva through the crafty use of Dilan Perera to attack him that ensured his electorate defeat. The entire blame for the mediocre performance in Uva has been placed on Nimal Siripala in private discussions with the president. His file is already at the bribery commission in case of any attempt at defection. This has ensured that Nimal Siripala has been reined in and will not harbor any thought of sleeping with the enemy for fear of losing everything. Maithripala on the other hand is one stubborn mule who still holds on, and a carrot of premiership has been offered, but Maithripala knows better. Gota will be the next prime minister, should Mahinda get his 3rd term. If there is sufficient numbers that would cross over to the opposition along with Chandrika and Maithripala, the man from Polonnaruwa will become the obvious choice for the common candidate. In such a scenario, how will the UNPers vote? Would they trust the SLFPer? More importantly, will the Sajith clan accept Maithripala? Will Ranil genuinely consider supporting? The million dollar question would be – will Maithripala be satisfied in a non-executive presidency?
Whatever the decision that the old guard of the SLFP take will make or break the SLFP. Should they support an opposition candidate to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa, they have the opportunity of building a coalition to challenge the UNP in the parliamentary elections that would follow which could elect a government that would be answerable to the parliament. With the divided UNP, it is the SLFP that stands the biggest chance of forming a successful alliance. The JVP too would be more inclined to support a SLFP coalition than one led by the UNP whom they still consider as traitors because of Ranil’s peace process with the LTTE.
The only choice left for Ranil is probably to support fielding the most capable common candidate and get him elected so that he has the chance of becoming a powerful premier. Never in his dreams should he entertain the thought of contesting Mahinda Rajapaksa as he is a brand that cannot be marketed. Most would admit that Ranil is best suited to steer the country out of the economic mess that has been the hallmark of the SLFP, but someone else should win the election for him.
The crisis with the JHU has exploded beyond the expectations of the Rajapaksa clan. Pavithra is no spring chicken to blurt out corruption charges on Champika Ranawaka out of the blues. It was Basil’s strategy to rein in Champika and the JHU to support the Rajapaksa third term which totally back-fired due to the amateurish handling of it. Whatever kickbacks that came Champika’s way from the contracts was not taken by him, but was taken over by the JHU which was in deep financial crisis. This was with the full approval of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The self proclaimed Mr clean who ditched Chandrika and sought refuge in USA claiming her to be the Chaura Rajina (Queen of deceit), Dullas Alahapperuma is probably the schemer for the Rajapaksas. His ability to keep throwing stones at everyone showing his big grip probably has cost Mahinda Rajapaksa his 3rd term. With Maithripala packing his bags and Wasantha Senanayake set to go, the flood gates would soon open, and then it would be too late for Mahinda to withdraw in to his presidential cocoon. There is no one to blame but himself for creating his own down fall.