6 December, 2019

Blog

Suicidal For Sajith To Accept Ranil’s Outrageous Conditions

By Amrit Muttukumaru

Amrit Muttukumaru

It will be politically suicidal for Sajith Premadasa to accept the outrageous “conditions” set by UNP “seniors” to obtain nomination as UNP’s official Presidential candidate. If not for the serious implications to the country, they are laughable. 

The ‘conditions’ purportedly set are that Sajith must give the undertaking in” writing”:

1)  Ranil Wickremesinghe will “remain the UNP Leader and the Prime Minister”

2) “commitment” to “abolish executive presidency”

3) To work on a “power devolution package” to “resolve the Tamil national question”

It is widely believed that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has held on as UNP leader for the better part of 25 years virtually by force by the brute power given to the leader by the UNP constitution. It is also believed that Ranil for the first time has served almost for the full term as Prime Minister thanks to the 19th Amendment which was controversially conceived and questionably made law under his watch.

The UNP under Ranil’s leadership has lost a record number of nation-wide elections. He is most likely the most unpopular Prime Minister this country has ever had. It is widely perceived that the UNP over his long period of ‘leadership’ has lost thousands of party faithful. His support base today is thought to be mainly confined apart from a dwindling number of dyed in the wool UNPers to his cronies in the UNP hierarchy, party hangers-on and NGOs for the most part funded by western political interests – all of them in some measure or other benefiting from the patronage he is able to dispense from the high political office he holds.

RW to “remain the UNP Leader and the Prime Minister”

Is it not hypocritical for those who screamed from the roof tops when democracy was assailed due to the ‘constitutional coup’ in October last year to now demand that Sajith give a written undertaking that Ranil will “remain the UNP Leader and the Prime Minister”? Are these not the prerogative of democratic processes of the UNP (in regard to UNP leadership) and the Sri Lanka Constitution and Parliament (in regard to who is Prime Minister)? Was it also not undemocratic and unconstitutional for Ranil to have accepted the post of PM in January 2015 when the UNP was in the minority in parliament? 

“commitment” to “abolish executive presidency”

Was not a ‘commitment’ made to the people in the run-up to the January 2015 Presidential election to “abolish executive presidency”? Have not the entire Yahapalana government comprising of President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and others including Sajith Premadasa reneged with impunity for more than four and a half years this solemn undertaking? Why have the UNP “seniors” suddenly woken up to this unless there is another agenda?

The same hypocrisy largely applies to the demand made to Sajith to work on a “power devolution package” to “resolve the Tamil national question”.

There is unsavory speculation as to why Ranil Wickremesinghe and Parliament’s Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who do not have a ‘snowball’s chance in hell’ (particularly Ranil) in defeating Gotabaya Rajapaksa are toying with the idea of being the UNP’s Presidential candidate. 

Sajith

Sajith Premadasa is the only presidential candidate at present who could pose a real threat to the frontrunner – former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

There is the real possibility that the greatly reduced UNP electoral base and those who have abandoned the party due to the lackluster ‘leadership’ of Ranil will get ‘fired up’ by a Sajith presidential candidature and those abandoning the party returning to the fold.

The more UNP leader Ranil behaves in a manner inimical to rational thinking to sidetrack Sajith, the more the likelihood that Sajith will get traction in the country on a ‘sympathetic’ wave even ‘outside’ the UNP fraternity.  

Even if Sajith does not address minority concerns, the chances are that those who will vote from this category will support him instead of Gotabaya. The catholic vote base in the context of the Easter Sunday carnage is up for grabs. The ground reality is that of the 30% non-Sinhala Buddhist category, 7% are Christian of which 6% are Roman Catholics.

The jury is out on whether the much vaunted ‘model village’ housing schemes promoted by Sajith Premadasa are sustainable and whether they create a ‘dependency’ culture?  Although the ‘sins of the fathers’ should not be ‘visited upon the sons’, controversies which include extra judicial killings such as that of Richard de Zoysa under the Ranasinghe Premadasa presidency should remind his son if elected of the immense power and responsibilities of the Executive President even in the Post-19th Amendment scenario.

Perfect foil to Gotabaya

Sajith Premadasa is the perfect foil to Gotabaya Rajapaksa. If Sajith is able to overcome the impediments of not being the UNP nominee by building on and communicating his strengths which include (i) Perception that he has a far greater pro-poor image (ii) Perception that on the yardstick of the country’s widespread political corruption and abuse of power he stands relatively tall (iii) Perception that he does not personally have a violence prone background (iv) his people friendly image devoid of arrogance in spite of being the son of a President (v) electoral ‘fatigue’ of the Rajapaksa ‘brand’ particularly since MR is ineligible to contest.   

Conclusion

Sajith could throw it all away by docilely accepting the outrageous ‘conditions’. This is politically suicidal for him.  If he does this he will play right into the hands of his opposition. It will confirm that he is a man without a backbone and character who could be manipulated in the future even by media moguls. 

In the context of Ranil’s ‘stock’ in the country and among the UNP faithful currently perceived to be at an all time low, the ugly attempt to sidetrack Sajith through outrageous ‘conditions’, gives Sajith the opportunity to contest from an ‘alternate’ entity while still retaining the core of the UNP party hierarchy and voter base. If he wins, he will most likely have the ‘clout’ to get back to the UNP and give Ranil a well earned rest from politics!

The bottom line for the country is that irrespective of who becomes Executive President, unless there is a highly unlikely miracle, the prognosis for the country is dire both socially and economically. None of the candidates – Gotabaya, Sajith or other known aspirants have presented a credible plan of action which even if presented would be implemented. 

For example, although it is obvious to everyone that a sine qua non for any progress is (i) all citizens being treated equally (ii) the rule of law having no exceptions, none of the aspirants will ‘bite the bullet’ even on these basic parameters. To what extent is the ‘rule of law’ being applied even to Presidential candidates? 

What confidence can one have on the observance of the rule of law when high ranking law officers of the state reportedly behave in a manner that beggars belief?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 13
    8

    Sajith is a “new broom” which will sweep well.
    He cannot be blamed for the Richard De Zoysa murder.
    Sajith has the guts to attempt to solve the Tamil problem of discrimination and army’s suppression of rights of civilians in the northeast.
    There no comparison with Gotabaya who will implement a ‘military cum militant clergy’ state. Sajith is ‘clean’ with no history of financial improprieties.
    He is educated and has the knowledge to tackle the nation’s economic & social problems.
    Let him have the 1125 stupas which should satisfy the militant clergy.
    Ranil has achieved nothing.

    • 8
      2

      JUSTICE-you are having a day time dream that mr.keselwatta new born kid will attempt (NOT TO SOLVE) to solve tamil problems.if he really wants to solve this problem he must bury the yellow robs guardians such as GANASARA-RATNASARA UNDER THE 1125 STUPAS WHICH HE PROPOSED TO BUILD.before he solve tamil problem he will be having a problem to solve betweenUNP ELITES SUCH AS RAVI,PONSEKA,AKILA,NAVIN,KIRIELLA ON ONE SIDE HARIN,SUJEEWA, AJITH PERERA ON THE OTHER SIDE.he will need the support of KARU,MANGALA,AND RAJITHA TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.THE FIRST SIX MONTH OR ONE YEAR WILL BE A TESTING PERIOD FOR HIM ON THE NATIONAL FRONT.

    • 10
      2

      justice,

      Educated? No one is sure if he even passed his O Levels. Guess he fits in well with the rest of the “educated” parliamentarians.

    • 0
      2

      ‘Let him have the 1125 stupas which should satisfy the militant clergy.’

      Careful Justice! The last thing that any future President should do is ‘satisfy the militant clergy’. They – devious ungodly men masquerading as priests – will only want more regardless of how much satisfaction you give them.

      One can only wish that none of the forthcoming Presidential candidates will promise anything to any of the ungodly mob. That though could be wishful thinking!

    • 3
      0

      Amrit Muttukumaru,/

      //It will be politically suicidal for Sajith Premadasa to accept the outrageous “conditions” set by UNP “seniors” to obtain nomination as UNP’s official Presidential candidate. If not for the serious implications to the country, they are laughable.

      The ‘conditions’ purportedly set are that Sajith must give the undertaking in” writing”:

      1) Ranil Wickremesinghe will “remain the UNP Leader and the Prime Minister.//

      First things First. First get elected by the People to be President. . If not elected, all those conditions mean nothing. Ranil W remain of the UNP until he dies.

      To be Prime Minister, Ranil W must have a majority. That is another story. Mahinda wants R to be Prime Minister too. Will they ever abolish the executive presidency.?

      It is really hard to push out the old dogs.

    • 2
      0

      Sajith can agree to any condition that he has to implement only after he wins the election.
      Since he knows that he can not win this one he does not have to up hold any conditions and that is better than going out of the party just to contest and lose everything.
      Ranil on the other hand knowing very well that he can not win either has found another sacrificial lamb at no cost!
      So, the loads muck that was shunted this way and that way during the past couple of months was nothing but a ‘PADA SHOW’ !!!!!!!

  • 0
    5

    for once I agree with you May I add

  • 12
    7

    who cares ..its a great tactical move by UNP….to defeat Gota
    poor Gota has renounced his USA green card. now he cant run away to USA…
    poor guy is going to the Gallows after the Presidential election…
    unless some do a Karuna Amman on him and puit him in a plane with a false passport..
    what goes around comes around

  • 9
    2

    My theory is Ranil at the back of his mind desires to see the defeat of Sajith. Hence these conditions for public consumption whether Sajith will agree IN WRITING or not. If Sajith indicates that he will honour them he will lose Sinhala votes , if not he will lose minority votes. These conditions will be the main talking point throughout the campaign.

    Soma

  • 6
    1

    Everyone: Do not forget that almost all of our politicians are mere puppets controlled by the strings of the puppet master/s – many of whom do not live in SL. The “strings” are made up of dollar bills and empty “honors” like invitations to shake the queen’s hand or attend G-7 as an “observer”.

    While cunning is a rampant quality among the political classes, astuteness and independance of thought are sourly lacking.

  • 4
    0

    Amrit,
    Even though after a bruising battle Sajith mange to win the nomination, it is clear to me that, as far far power holding elite of the UNP is concerned, he is not fully out of thicket yet. This news about “conditions” is one example. The group who planted the news of the so-called conditions is still trying to keep it alive even after a strong denial by Sajith. They are still so bitter being challenged & lost that in TNL prime time news, Sajith nomination story was given the fourth place while MaRa’s address to the SLPP business community came first! These are clear indications for the hardships Sajith will have to expect to fight within his own party.

    If this anti-Sajith group is so adamant about their stand, then Sajith will have no choice but to act decisively to eliminate these obstacles b’cos, as shown already with MY 3, in-house bickering could become not only political embarrassment but also an impediment against any progressive plans.

    I do agree with your observation that that the nation’s current dire economic situation won’t make it easy to keep up with all the campaign promises no matter who win. However, there is no direct correlation between fairness (legally or otherwise) and economic progress unless democracy is given an equal priority. As a matter of fact, democratic rights such as right to protest could even stand as severe bottlenecks to rapid development. This is where Sajith has a huge advantage over his SLPP & JVP opponents.

  • 2
    0

    I have not had the privilege of viewing the agreement between the duo. Going by the three conditions listed by the author, Ranil can remain as the leader as long as the rest of the UNPers want it. The commitment towards the abolition of the Executive Presidency and as well as the resolution of the Tamil National Question is really for the Parliament and the President is not a major contributor, especially after the 19th amendment. Sajith as President if he wants to can put a spoke or two against the effort of a determined parliament but will there ever be such a parliament? All this is an eye wash. Just as much as MY3 was interested in Mahaweli, Environment and Defense; SRP may be interested in Housing, Rural and Urban Development etc. If and when SRP wins, RW would be sharp enough to make Sajith a puppet with respect to his position as Commander in Chief of all armed forces and the virtual controller of Defense would be RW. The reality of the matter is Sajith would face obstacles which his father did not face as President but his attitude towards dissent is the same. The temptation to have goon squads is greater but can only be carried out at much smaller scale. Still it would be forbidden for a journalist to take a paparazzi style photograph of the “AARYAWA” in a swimsuit at the pain of “WADA THISDEKA”. The unwritten terms of the agreement are SRP you can have central cultural fund, housing money etc. AS YOU WISH but I, RW will have the Central Bank and all such other institutions WITHIN MY GRIP.

  • 0
    0

    ”Why N American” Slogan repeated millions of times will take Sajith there. GR’s loyalties are questionable.

  • 2
    0

    The writer has injected the Tamil sentiment to the equation. The background of Sugith is over exaggerated by slandering Gotabhaya.. The propaganda mechanism against Gotabhaya that he is having dictatorial tendencies are not true. They are fabricated like last Presidential election to satisfy the masters in the west.

  • 3
    2

    Muthukumaru:

    Suicidal For Sajith To Accept Ranil’s Outrageous Conditions

    1) Ranil Wickremesinghe will “remain the UNP Leader and the Prime Minister”

    2) “commitment” to “abolish executive presidency”

    3) To work on a “power devolution package” to “resolve the Tamil national question”

    It is widely believed that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has held on as UNP leader for the better part of 25 years virtually by force by the brute power given to the leader by the UNP constitution. It is also believed that Ranil for the first time has served almost for the full term as Prime Minister thanks to the 19th Amendment which was controversially conceived and questionably made law under his watch.

    *** What are you Tamil Or Arrogant Sinkalam . What is wrong with all of the above. In my veiw if Sajith LOVES his Country and has a VISION ( unlike Gotha ) and is prepared to adhere to all of the above then it is a NEW DAWN for Sri Lanka. I hope Sajith turns a new chapter. This is a Compromise and I hope a winning ticket and it s all about deliverence. . If power can be devolved and those Guilty can be brought to Justice I love to return to my Country and live the rest of my life. there
    It looks like I have managed to change the minds of some people especially Colonel Rambuka who must hve read my coments about his statement of Gothas role in bringing China back. There is nothing wrong about being Non Alligned but bringing China back at the expense of India will be detrimental and he seems to have taken note of that and has changed his position.. Well done Colonel Rambuka keep reading my comments. and Good Luck Sajith and dont disppoint us. If you deliver we can make Music together as one peole from dofferent households. Just remember ” Pasumai Niranthia Ninaivukale Padi Thiruntha Paravaikale”

    The UNP under Ranil’s lead

  • 0
    1

    Ukraine is a good bet

  • 2
    1

    It is obvious that MR is showing signs of panick with the nomination of Sajith as the UNP presidential candidate who is a formidable contender for the job. What India should do is rachet up the pressure by encouraging Sajith by openly endorsing him just like what happened in Maldives.

    • 1
      2

      I don’t think Subramaniam Swamy will allow Modi to do that.

  • 0
    1

    The unity of the nation is being pulled down by the un-Buddhist monks who are now ruling the roost. What we need is an iron-fisted ruler to control and eradicate this menace to develop the nation. If these monks are allowed to continue their unruly and un- Buddhism behavior with impunity by entering into civilian harmony and create instability, insecurity and racial discrimination then no government can govern nor any peace can be expected to prevail.

    • 0
      0

      Mr. Abdeen
      Don’t you think other religious ‘preachers’ have been responsible for more heinous crimes in Sri Lanka in recent times ? Have you already forgotten 21/4 ? We need a leader who will address all forms of religious extremism, not only Buddhist .

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.