17 August, 2022


Ten Questions For The Opposition

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Contrary to his most recent backtracking (‘Of Saving Sirisena: Reply to Dayan’, The Island April 20th 2017), Mahinda Pathirana, a young academic-activist known as a firm supporter of Basil Rajapaksa wrote very clearly and categorically that “Basil’s argument for abolishing the executive presidency does not derive from his identification of political enemies, but by the conveniently forgotten question; what if that omnipotent presidency goes to a person like Ranil Wickremesinghe…?” (‘Who is the Real Enemy?’ April 13th 2017, The Island)

If Basil’s argument is not for abolishing the Executive Presidency, or if BR has not made any such argument, why did Mahinda Pathirana say otherwise? Why did he write something quite as categorical as “Basil’s argument for abolishing the executive presidency…”?

Why didn’t he say that it was his own interpretation of Basil—in which case why did he attribute it to Basil, terming it quite precisely and concretely, “Basil’s argument”? And how can he interpret “Basil’s argument” if he hasn’t heard Basil expressing it? How does he know whether Basil’s argument is not just the opposite? And if Basil Rajapaksa did not articulate this to Mahinda Pathirana or in a place where Mr. Pathirana was in the audience, why did he pin this argument on Basil?

Furthermore Mahinda Pathirana goes on in this paragraph to actually explain why Basil is arguing for the abolition of the Executive Presidency, telling the reader what “Basil’s argument for abolishing the executive presidency does not derive from…”! How does Mahinda Pathirana know what it does or does not “derive from”? And if Basil did not say he was for the abolition, on what factual basis is Mahinda Pathirana adducing reasons? As the well-known saying goes, “opinion is free but facts are sacred”. Pathirana is free to express his opinion about Basil’s argument for abolishing the executive Presidency, but what is the fact he is basing his assertion on the public record, that Basil argues for the abolition?

Speaking of facts, on what does he base his statement that I have shifted my position that Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa should be the presidential candidate in 2020? Can he quote anything I have written or said to that effect? No, he cannot, because I have said no such thing and continue to advocate a GR candidacy—by the way, that’s for 2019, not 2020, because the Presidential election is scheduled for late 2019. In fact the Meethotamulla tragedy has confirmed my view that the country desperately, urgently needs GR as President. The sooner that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa suggests/requests that GR step forward as candidate or invites him to do so, i.e. gives his blessing for GR to be elected, the better for the nation, the Opposition and GR and MR themselves.

As for Mr. Sirisena, I have never advocated that he run in 2019 nor said I would support such a candidacy, nor that he deserves to win if he does, but I have said that if he does want to run, and/or wants his wing of the SLFP to survive electorally, he’ll have to dump Ranil, CBK and Mangala very soon, or else he (and it) won’t stand a chance.

Now that we are on the subject of Mr. Sirisena, it must be recalled that his defection was in large part due to disaffection stemming from Mr. Basil Rajapaksa’s treatment of him. By contrast, Gotabaya Rajapaksa went on the record recently to state that he had (unsuccessfully) advocated to President Rajapaksa that Mr. Sirisena be made Prime Minister.

Indeed some percentage of the defeat was arguably due to Basil’s behavior. It was his clash with the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake on the Divi Neguma issue that led to the impeachment which in turn alienated and antagonized the judiciary and the legal community. The Joint Opposition (with Wimal Weerawansa being the latest example) is still paying the price for that alienation. The alienation of the judicial and larger legal fraternity (one recalls the pickets all over the island) helped swing the urban middle class vote away from the Rajapaksa administration.

It was also the perception that Basil Rajapaksa as Minister of National Development was crowding out the other Ministers and hogging a disproportionate share of the Budget, that caused a crack in SLFP ranks, enabling Chandrika to conspire and intervene. Whatever their errors, it was neither Mahinda nor Gotabaya who gave the impression of an octopus-like oligarchy attempting to control the SLFP, the Government and even the economy.

Though I have no doubt as to the JO MPs loyalty to MR and their preference for MR over any other personality, I not only think they would prefer Sirisena to Ranil
(contrary perhaps to “Basil Chinthana”), I also suspect that if there is a secret ballot even today, many or most Joint Opposition MPs would vote for Sirisena over Basil!

The massive losses of votes in the Tamil majority areas was not unconnected to Basil’s ‘strategy’. When Gotabaya – whatever his other errors, which I have criticized–quite rightly advised President Rajapaksa to hold the Northern elections shortly after the war was won in 2009 and allow our Tamil allies to win at a time the TNA was still reeling (I later heard authoritatively that only GR and I had made this suggestion, independently of each other, at roughly the same time), it was Basil who had the brilliant idea of building up the SLFP in the North and forcing Douglas Devananda to contest on the SLFP or UPFA ticket rather than his own. This was as brilliant as imagining that the TNA could and should contest Hambantota on the TNA ticket or that Douglas should contest the South on the EPDP ticket!

As the great Sri Lankan journalist Tarzie Vittachi once said, “Everything is about something else”. Mahinda Pathirana’s polemic was of relevance only because it spotlights the sectarianism of the “Basil Line” and permits the public raising of ten strategically vital political questions for debate and discussion within the SLPP, the JO, and the Opposition Movement as a whole:

1. Who should be ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s closest associates and strategists and with whom should he formulate the JO’s and his political line? Should it be with his generational peers and comrades-in-arms, with whom he shares decades of experience of anti-UNP political struggle, namely Dinesh Gunawardena and Vasudeva Nanayakkara? Or should he turn to Basil Rajapaksa—an organizer but not a political strategist?

2. What should be the stance of the Opposition on the crucial issue of the abolition of the Executive Presidency when the draft comes before the Steering Committee in May?

3. Should the Opposition regard Ranil and Sirisena as equal enemies or Ranil as the main enemy and Sirisena as the secondary enemy, or Sirisena as a potential, if vacillating ally?

4. Should the Opposition regard the official (i.e. Sirisena) SLFP as much an enemy as the UNP or the Ranil wing of the UNP? Or should it be regarded as a secondary enemy? Or a potential ally?

5. Is the distance between the Opposition and the Sirisena SLFP more or less than the distance between the Opposition and the Ranil-led UNP?

6. Should the Opposition regard the SLFP as an enemy and attack it, as it should the pro-imperialist rightwing of the UNP, or should it strive to win over or neutralize the SLFP?

7. In a possible conflict of interest between Ranil and Sirisena, does the Opposition tilt to Ranil, to Sirisena or to neither? Is the Opposition equidistant between Sirisena and Ranil?

8. Is the Opposition’s policy towards the Sirisena SLFP the same as its policy towards the Ranilist UNP or rather, is it one of “unity and struggle” i.e. unity on issues where a common stand is possible and struggle on issues of disagreement?

9. What is the endgame? Is it possible or desirable for the Opposition to envisage the forming of the broadest National–Democratic United Front or bloc, embracing the JO/SLPP, the SLFP and the patriotic elements of the UNP?

10. Who should the Presidential candidate of the Opposition be in 2019, since ex-President Rajapaksa cannot run for the post? The argument that it is premature to think of that subject is silly, given that Democratic Party strategists were plugging Barack Obama as a potential candidate for 2008 the moment he had finished speaking at the Democratic Convention for John Kerry in 2004!

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Latest comments

  • 18

    why should the questions come from a person of your nature

    1) Who has only been attacking incumbent PM just because DJ has personal vendetta with him from his young age on

    2) Besides, if you see it, that the previous administration is better managing things even if all except JO men agree with that former Raja Administration looted the nation s treasary to the core, why should they rethink

    3) Even if some issues are slow – or not active as we thought, but the current adminsitration is no worst to the previous one thatis crystal clear

    4) It is just there is no control on Media as had been under megalomaniac Rajapakshes.

    • 9

      I really dont know this man to fall this deep ?[Edited out]

    • 16

      Gota should be hung by his balls to have caused Meethota mulla killings.

      He is the man above the law never respected even court verdicts- that garbage must not be filled in the Meethota mulla from anywhere else, but telling that colombo will be beautified, .. the guy did it … it is like a donkey work.

      Is there any sustainable project that Rajapakshe men have done. R and construction work started in the days of CBK adminstration. Southern highway came into being during the times of MR, but that were projects, came into being from one govt to other. Like lotus tower or the like has to be continued.. and have been continuing.. even today… one govt signed .. and succeessive ones should continue… so none of them can be their own projects, all what they ate were their projects.

      • 1

        LEELAGEMALLI “Gota should be hung by his balls to have caused Meethota mulla killings”

        you guys praised Gota when he bombed “no fire zone”

        beggars were stoned to death to beautify Colombo

        • 1

          I never praised any of Rajapkshes from the day one on..

          Donot put me to the same bin. I am sinhalaya, but I hate the kind of uncultured rascals as CBK louded at the begining. I love decent leaders regardless of the party, status, relgions or whatever.

          I also respected Kadirgamar that much. So did I towards Lalith Athulathmudhali for one reason, latter was one of the great men who identified real problems of University students in early 80ties and fought to bring them bursaries of the kind.
          Today, University students get a Mahapola amounting 5k monthly, but as some student activists repeat, some are compelled to send some money home out of 5000 bucks since they come from that low income families. Politicians have not uplifted the income levels, even if some have worked on their own pocket filling politics in this country.

    • 7

      Dayan is now seriously sufferening from mental diarrhea and he is almost reached to coma level. He must have been poisioned by GR who is a master in poisioning. Mahinda’s destruction was planned and activated by GR.

    • 5

      Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

      RE: Ten Questions For The Opposition

      Ten Questions For MaRa MaRa ChaTu MaRa and Cronies. Actually there are 99 questions for MaRa, Gota and cronies.

      Probably you are out boozing and whoring around with that MaRa again, and he still has a lot of the stolen loot with him, to compensate you.

      When does your MaRa contract run out? Then you can sing:

      MaRa MaRa ChaTu MaRa
      MaRa MaRa AmaNa MaRa
      MaRa MaRa HoRa MaRa
      MaRa MaRa DhushaNa MaRa

  • 14

    DR DJ your game plan is clear. You are trying your best to patch up Sira and Gota. 6.2 million+ voters are no fools.

    DJ please retire from politics and take up a phony political scientist job at seerasa. Now very recently DJ talks of the Methotamulla garbage issue how FUNNY!!!!

  • 12


    So now it’s Gota’s boy against Basil’s boy eh?

    Geeeze man, you think too much! I’ve never seen anyone with such an ability to confuse themselves. This time you have really wrapped yourself in knots. Try to keep it simple and write in point form, at least then some convoluted predictions you are attempting to make even you might understand.

    Man, keep it simple go back to basics, start with Jack and Jill went ………

  • 8

    Is not GR due to go-in for some time on the many issues out-standing, and this
    has to happen in due time, but certainly before the next PE. So DJs writing
    has no foundation?

  • 6

    I kind of enjoy your writings Dayan, despite all your grand standing and self glorifying.

    But you are kind of getting boring and should you not be writing about,

    The damage done by the contemporary politics to the determent of our culture, morality and decency?
    Should you not listen to little bit what our cardinal say?
    (Looks like he is the most vocal person over this shitty culture even though we have so many chief prelates)

    Social Justice?

    Rule of Law?

    Things went wrong during Mahinda’s time! (We must learn from mistakes!)

    Patient abuse of doctors?

    Client abuse of lawyers?

    • 4

      srinathan gunaratnam

      “I kind of enjoy your writings Dayan”

      I kind of wonder why?

      “Things went wrong during Mahinda’s time!”

      Things went very well, loads of commissions, loads of land grabs, loads of disappearances, Demelas learnt a lesson they will never forget, Muslims were kept in check, Nepotism worked and working very well, saffron clad thugs

      “(We must learn from mistakes!)”

      We didn’t make any mistakes because we are Sri Lankans. Therefore we don’t need to learn from mistake.

      How was your Sinhala/Buddhist new year?

      • 4

        Native Vedda

        My god You are still Counting the Dead?????????

        You should team up with Amnesty Int, and help them count or in their case teach them.. As recently at the press conference they did a full turn stating that the war dead in their report was not accurate. They Must have miscounted..

        I am sure Dayan in that room somewhere had a cheeky grin while the rest fell of their seats when Amnesty stated this.

        Native Vedda still you can help them count the dead..

        • 4

          Malik Kafur the Gujarati convert

          “My god You are still Counting the Dead?????????”

          Yep, until we get the total right. I know it’s a noble job, but someone has to do it.

          “As recently at the press conference they did a full turn stating that the war dead in their report was not accurate.”

          As new information is unearthed truth improves.

          Some thing similar to the history according to eminent scholars tracing their origin from Mahawamsa and the modern science of genetic studies which has dismissed and demolished the myth of Aryan Migration theory of the old Mahawamsa School.

          The problem is that not many eminent historians are familiar with recent development in science particularly Genetic studies. For instance the historians and educators still believe it was possible to cross breed a human and a lion, beauty and a beast.

          You too believe in Sinha Le don’t you.

          • 1

            @ Native Vedda

            Now here is a headline
            SL asylum seeker let himself be tortured to support his bid to stay in UK-Judge

            Remember Him, How CMB telegraph, CH4, Amnesty, counting the dead all ran this story along with the rest of the misfits Gtf, BTF, blaming rajapaksa government,

            CMB telegraph gave us a daily update with this story, which mad u jump hoops with ur comments.

            And as u so wonderfully said , the truth comes out today.. Still one wonders that famous saying in journalism truth is a process, will every re publish the story as they made a factual mistake or deliberate mislead. Gossip is a process.


            still counting the dead.

            • 1

              Malik Kafur the Gujarati convert

              “still counting the dead.”

              Until you are safe from Gota’s white vans.


              It must be a photoshopped one as he doesn’t have the courage or the honesty to face even a camera.

      • 0

        Native Vedda@

        this man Srinath Gunalingam apparently sees it today than had been few months ago, DJ the hate /monger will never see it right.
        That is the difference. I cant forget the way Srinath Gunalingam while living in the UK added his partial thoughts to this platform whatever was discussed picking the high grabs of former tyranial administration.

        These men are the problem in lanken society.

        Today we speak about garbage mountain related disasters, but with time, it is becoming clear none of them got killed were clean enough – police confirms, the nature have punished them… for their crimes and to have worked on crimes in those areas.
        Ruling politicians or any new politicians will have no easy to govern this country drominated by stupid people… they are the majority making up over 60%

  • 8

    All I can conclude from your article is that Mahinda is not going to contest the next election?
    So you are trying to conclude as to who (from the opposition) you want to align with?

    • 0

      Thero doesn’t want Elder Old Brother Prince; he is favoring the younger one. But he always leave the sentences to open to argue the both ways. Old king will fry in pan if the Old Brother Prince stand for election. He never allowed him anywhere near to any election until he had the power. When China called for a 4 year diploma course, Old King rightaway killed that Idea. Thero making a big deal of that because he knew for sure, no way Elder Brother Prince can stand for election.

      The possibility, as party leader, only GLP can stand on that.

      If New King is alive, there is no chance anybody other than he will be on the SLFP ticket. Muslims Leaders unreliable, like in January 2015 election.TNA will not go for Ranil or Old Royal family. When CBK is there, she knows what to tell Sumanthiran and Sampanthar. She kept Neelan and Kathirgamar in her wallet. So the UNP-SLFP candidate will be again CC. GL’s party, only he can stand. Old King will not allow any of the Brother Princes. He will take time to launch Son Prince. Provided there is no change in the authority of EP in constitution until 2020, that all EP about election.

  • 5

    Ruba Gnanaratnam

    Here we go again preparing for the next elections.As the mess continues,cleaning the past mess is still going on.It never seems to end the important issues are on the back burner.

    Thank you.

  • 9

    My prediction. MR and Mister Ten Percent will not get enough people to fill Galle Face and get egg in their face. Sirisena will also not get enough people. MR will get more people than Sirisena and UNP will laugh all the way to the bank.

    UNP will trounce SIRISENA Kudu Dumi Ministry Rent Hora wing of the SLFP in the local govt elections. MR wing will come second and Sirisena third. SLFP split is something engineered by UNP and USA. They did the same very successfully in the 1980s and SLFP was in la-la land forever until CBK united them. CBK of course cannot get more than 100,000 votes now but she does enough damage and did enough damage in Gampaha district in 2015 Parliamentary elections. MR failed to carry Gampaha and lost on the proportional system even though his party won more seats on first past the post. No Tamil or Muslim will vote for MR. So Bye Bye Mister know it all from School days. Baka Pandithaya writing daily in desperation

  • 6

    Vow. Dr.DJ has suddenly become yankee lover with his 10th.
    So when it suits him ,he quotes Democrats of US as an example.
    What happened to DJ’s Cuban model or Chinese model ?

  • 6

    DJ, All your tricks are to bring back MR or if not GR. How do you ignore their grave mistakes (corruption, murders etc.)which no past leader of ours engaged in. If we have to chase out MS and RW, we should find somebody else to run the country – definitely Not a Rajapaksha from Medamulana

  • 1

    “Speaking of facts, on what does he base his statement that I have shifted my position that Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa should be the presidential candidate in 2020? Can he quote anything I have written or said to that effect?”

    Thero is playing his Aappa Diplomacy. He thinks if had left the sentences open people may not be able to blame him supporting the world number one monster to presidency. Don’t we know how he worded his talks at UNHRC in 2009. Didn’t he ague few days ago that Yahapalanaya is agreeing for rigid deal with UNHRC, but he fooled UNHRC without any time or term stipulated on May 2009. Everybody did know that he desperately called Old Brother Prince to become the EP. Now he is showing his double tongue again. During 2015 election campaign he had written many essays advising Ranil how to win. In that he had blamed Old King that Thero had got the UNHRC to work with Lankawe, but Old King listening to Old Brother Prince and abandoned implementing 13A, that is why Old King was in trouble with UNHRC. Those days he vehemently opposed Brother Prince. Then recently he wrote he had changed his mind on Old Brother Prince and said he is most sutiable for EP. It has nothing to with Meethotamulla.

    If he is not proposing Bother Prince for EP, he then just explain why he changed his opinion on Old Brother Prince as favorable, recently and he wrote in CT with bold letters I, Thero de Silva, will never ever support Brother Prince for Presidential position” Then the ambiguity over Period. Instead of that what is this kindergarten game of ” I Didn’t this, did I say that, Teacher Appuhamy is the one said that, not mee….”

    “If Basil’s argument is not for abolishing the Executive Presidency, or if BR has not made any such argument, why did Mahinda Pathirana say otherwise? Why did he write something quite as categorical as “Basil’s argument for abolishing the executive presidency…”?

    Why didn’t he say that it was his own interpretation of Basil—in which case why did he attribute it to Basil, terming it quite precisely and concretely, “Basil’s argument”? And how can he interpret “Basil’s argument” if he hasn’t heard Basil expressing it? How does he know whether Basil’s argument is not just the opposite? And if Basil Rajapaksa did not articulate this to Mahinda Pathirana or in a place where Mr. Pathirana was in the audience, why did he pin this argument on Basil? What is this rubbish? what is this person’s education level to write something like? Shame for the entire country to have gullible person like this inside!

  • 0

    It is all the Tamils who have commented here. Any one can understand it.

  • 5

    Dayan Jayatilleka

    Sad to see your pathetic approach.

    As nobody is supporting your view points, now you have started a family business.

    In other words you are writing two articles with two different names.

    The problem with you is that, when Cuba was strong you were a supporter of Fedral Castro, when India was strong you were supporter of Sonia Gandhi, now it looks like you are a supporter of Trump which is totally contradicting your support to Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    This is your nature. Also you were supporter of the Chief Minister of the North East in 1988. What a childish researcher you are.

    Is it true that, now you are supporting Mahinda Rajapaksa on a condition that when he comes to power, you should be appointed as the Sri Lankan ambassador to the UN in New York.

    Are you really a qualified Academic?

  • 3

    Dayan 10 questions is too many and boring.
    That shows you have no clue.

    you being you the man who knows every thing surely you can put together 3 damming questions?

  • 4

    [Edited out] His slip is showing big time with every article he writes exposing his personal agenda.

    DJ, FYI, MR is not going to come back to power. Basil cannot lead and will not be tolerated by his own party as a potential candidate. Gota is the only person who has a glimmer of hope but he has too much blood on his hands which you choose to ignore but recognise it as qualification for bashing and killing journalists to eliminating anybody who stood against the Rajapakse machinery. No amount of CIC or Multilcac paint can whitewash him clean. So he will not make it either. The future will not belong to the Rajapakses for sure. The war victory can be a qualification for upto 5 years but it can’t be for a lifetime. [Edited out]

  • 7

    I observe more than 95% of comments are negative to all contributions by this writer.[Edited out]

  • 10

    Funny that Dayan J Silva’s articles are the only ones where the comments are more interesting to read than the article itself!

    • 1

      It is just the guy has cut his neck by his own – if he had some credibility in his articles, over the past few months, the manner he behaved himself have speeded up making an another fool no second to Wimal Buruwanse (drag queen of lanken politics today).

  • 0

    Dear All gentlemen who always against DR. DJ ‘s thinking:

    You all will understand and experience the change being taken place with NEXT election.

    We most of TRULY SRI LANKAN are eagerly waiting.

    • 0

      We can not predict the next election without any help of a poll.

      Thero De Silva fears of Old Brother Prince. He hates him. Now he fears if he could come in the next election.(I doubt if Old King will allow it.) In that case all Thero has to do is campaign against Old Brother Prince and defeat him in the election. Didn’t Thero campaigned against Old King in the last election and worked with Ranil? It is really that simple.

  • 1

    I expected Ten questions for DJ from someone. Any takers?

  • 0


    Why 10 questions for DJ?
    He is not all that Important for the formulation of so many questions!
    Just one will do.[Edited out]

  • 0

    Jim said it very softly,not only Tamils but most others understand the situation.Situation just drags along.

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