16 December, 2019

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The Mahesh Senanayake Candidacy

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

The candidates nominated by the big alliances (Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa) will poll in the millions and the left candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) of People’s Power (PP)-JVP will poll several lakhs. I have talked to many people and all say that the other thirty-odd, but one, are midgets; fleas scrambling to donate their deposits to the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka. (If the deposit amount is raised and more candidates encouraged it could go some way to bridging the fiscal deficit!). The exception, the fourth candidate so to speak, is Mahesh Senanayake who I understand will attract several thousand or tens of thousands of votes. To make it easy for me, let me say Mahesh will get X-thousand votes (X=5, 10, 20, 30 – people say all sorts of numbers). Let me also use the shorthand that AKD’s vote will be Y-lakhs. By votes I mean first preferences since second preferences in favour of AK or Mahesh will not be counted; they are wasted. 

I would like to explore Mahesh’s case a little further by comparing his candidacy with AKD’s. I see two similarities and one very significant difference. The first similarity is that nearly all who vote for Mahesh are similar to one portion of AKD’s vote; people fed up

with the big parties and the motely assemblages contrived into alliances (SLPP-UPFA-SLFP, UNP-DNF). Rogues, blackguards, opportunists, scoundrels, you have heard it all; no one has a good word for them. Still by some strange psychological quirk the vast majority, not only in Sri Lanka, holds its nose and votes for such bandits. But this is not my point today; my first point is that AK and Mahesh are both beneficiaries of this disillusion with the bandits.

My second crucial point is what first-choice voters for AKD and Mahesh must do with their second preference. They must use it against Gota. He is a militarist and a potential dictator; his record on human rights, free speech and press freedom is nasty. Some military types support Mahesh since they know who Gota is. It is imperative that all who make AK or Mahesh their first choice take the next step and mark Sajith as second. I am tired explaining this to our sectarians; hope Mahesh’s people get the point better.

Now I come to the difference between the AKD and Mahesh. PP/AKD is the beacon, the starting point for a long-term alternative. Mahesh is a flash in the pan; here today gone tomorrow. I do not mean that he is an opportunist, I do not know him and have never met him. What I mean is that he is not the harbinger of a new political movement, he does not represent the launch of a third alternative. You may challenge me, even if you grant that PP/AKD does signal the birth of an alternative (reasons being; programme, unity of many left and progressive currents and clear perspectives). You may ask “Why do you (Kumar) think that Mahesh cannot be the start of what can become a great political alternative?”

My last point is to explain why that can’t happen. Mahesh does not stand in a deep-rooted, organised history and tradition; he is new kid on the block. The JVP is middle-aged – in its mid-fifties – some others in PP are even longer in the tooth. Furthermore, Mahesh is attempting to carve out space in overcrowded terrain, the terrain of the liberals now occupied by the UNP and its allies, the Tamil and Muslim parties and one could say sections of the SLPP and SLFP. He will be a one trick show and will have no home after the elections. It’s different with the PP/JVP’s traditional leftists (the other portion of the Y-lakhs). The PP alliance including the dominant JVP have ideological cohesion and the alliance seeks to occupy a vacant spot, the currently empty terrain of left politics. Therefore, the movement has huge opportunities before it. Mahesh Senanayake would be wise to withdraw their candidacy and throw his weight with PP so that a bigger political alternative with better long-term perspectives can be forged. There’s plenty of space in PP for progressive liberals who are opposed to the lavatory politics of the two big parties.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    1

    It is proverbial rats abandon a sinking ship. Once, a Dutch captain took his child on his vessel. Ship came across flying cannon balls and caught fire. Navy abandoned the ship. The child refused to leave the ship. It is not just for rats, there are times for human to abandon their allegiance or idealism.
    Entire world has left the Marxism & Leninism. In Lankawe, it is an experiment tested from NM, Colvin, Peter, SWRD to Vasu, Denesh, DEW, Tissa. In all other countries capitalism is working fine, including Chania & Russia, where Marxism failed. Then, it is only a forceful logic that Anura’s JVP is going to show the dawn to the gloomy Lankawe. The current fates of SWRD’s SLFP & NM’s LSSP are the witness of the understanding of Marxism by the Lankan public.
    There may be a point in the talk of Vadali Vlarthu Kallu Kudikkirathu. Solomon trying 7 times had a point; but talk of reviving Socialism in Lankawe has no point.

    Asking those, dedicated to JVP, to vote for UNP as second choice may make sense. But campaigning the swings that Slap Party and UNP are crooks and then saying so vote for the third choice Anura and then asking still vote the second preference to UNP is…… What is that talk is? That means Lefts are simply so obstinate?

    • 10
      3

      AKD and Mahesh will have to unite with Sajith to save our country from an authoritarian fascist dictatorship this elections.

  • 9
    2

    Get a CLEAN citizen of Sri Lanka/Ceylon to run for President, hold a referendum on Nagananda’s constitution. That citizen can then run for Prime Minister. Only change to Nagananda’s is to make the President an elected ceremonial head like in Singapore.

    Then Cabinet:
    1. Minister for Law, Order and Justice – Nagananda K
    2. Minister for Education – Chrishmal Warnusuriya
    3. Minister for Finance – Professor Razeen Sally
    4. Minister for Business – Rohan Pallewatte
    5. Minister for Environment – Ajantha Perera
    6. Minister for Housing and National Integration – Anoka Abeyrathne
    7. Minister for Sport, Media and Culture – Muttiah Muralitharan
    8. Minister for Science and Technology – Hiranya Peiris
    9. Minister for Agriculture and Aquatic Resources – Asha de Dos
    10. Minister for Foreign Affairs – George Cooke
    11. Minister for Defence – Mahesh Senanayake
    12. Minister for Home Affairs and Security – Mr. Niruthan Nilanthan
    13. Minister for Transport – Sun Lai Yung
    14. Minister for Energy – Saliya Wickramasuriya
    15. Minister for Tourism – Kumar Sangakarra or Mahela Jayawardene

    No Provincial Councils, 225 and parasites. Just 60 MPs and lean civil service and first world Sri Lanka.

    • 2
      0

      Dear Stanley,
      .
      Some might say, what an unusual list, But you’ve obviously given a good deal of thought to this, and it’s a good list. Some of the names are obvious to all of us, some are not.
      .
      I’ll deal with Chrishmal Warnusuriya in some detail later, since I’m a retired teacher.
      .
      I didn’t know of the existence of the following, but will they accept any messy job here?
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiranya_Peiris
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asha_de_Vos
      .
      https://ecipe.org/person/razeen-sally/
      .
      George Cooke is indeed in Sri Lanka, so you may be able to get him for Foreign Affairs:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiFTDNi_q1o
      .
      The Sun Lai Yung that you have suggested for Transport is to be found talking on the subject on Facebook:
      .
      https://www.facebook.com/SLTBlk/posts/can-sltb-stop-loud-music-in-the-buses-when-we-ask-them-to-reduce-it-i-am-asked-t/10161748774090204/
      .
      About Saliya Wickramasuriya, I did find this report:
      .
      http://www.adaderana.lk/news/31365/saliya-wickramasuriya-released-on-bail-
      .
      Now that last is the problem – Saliya may be all right, but who is to judge suitability?
      .
      As for Nagananda, as I’ve already made clear, I have met him and in my view he is an absolutely honest man, but far too stubborn and dogmatic.
      .

      • 3
        0

        Dear Sinhala_Man,
        I think the only people who might say are the frogs in a well who are stuck in the slave mentality to Indian bootlicking morons who have ruined this country. Take the 20 million plus Sri Lankans in our homeland, and the vast numbers of Sri Lankans living abroad. Of those millions of people, I am confident that we can find people of a calibre multiple times (perhaps infinitely better) than the combined (in)competence of our 225+1 (and their idiots in useless Provincial Councils).
        I am glad to see that YOU seem like a wise chap and thank you, yes I put some thought into it. I tried to find some professionals.. Just a quick point – despite my efforts, I did type the wrong name. I didn’t mean to add Saliya Wickramasuriya, but Chandima Gomes, who is a Professor. I apologise, but the “Auto correct” function on my computer makes it a nightmare to type Sri Lankan names – it has a mind of its own sometimes. As for Chrishmal, he seems like an honest, charismatic and decent gentleman.
        As for Hiranya, Asha and Razeen, these are eminent people of seriously high calibre. We’re talking international level top in the world calibre and every Sri Lankan should be proud that these people have achieved awards and been successful. That shows how sad the situation is in our country that we do not utilise great people like this. Professor Sally’s advice has fallen on deaf ears to both administrations that have governed for the last 10 years. We could be made a Singapore if listening to him – he literally is an Associate Professor in Singapore (at the Lee Kuan Yew School for Public Policy). To be able to encourage such far thinking economists, environmentalists, engineers, physicists, doctors etc, we must create a movement that aspires to create a FIRST WORLD country.

  • 0
    1

    Stanley.
    Your envisaged no.of MPP and the 15 Ministers,assuming no deputies, would make a Jumbo cabinet of 25%!

    • 4
      0

      Plato,

      I believe the Parliament we had in 1948 (under the Soulsbury Constitution) was just fine at 95. Singapore has roughly the same number of total MPs.

      Obviously if you have a smaller denominator, then even a smaller numerator will result in a higher percentage figure. But right now we have a massive Parliament (and useless Provincial Councils) filled with morons. And a massive cabinet which I don’t think any country in the world creates. At this rate we will have more Cabinet ministers than Runs on the board that any Cricket Team is able to score. It’s over 100 and of those 100 some are unelected, and nearly all are utter buffoons.

      What I suggested was a lean Parliament, no Provincial Councils and other rubbish. I am fine with 95 like at Independence. I believe Nagananda’s plan was for 60.

      I suggested 15 people – even for that I had to stretch my imagination to come up with Ministry names. I have no idea how they “made up” names for 100 ministries. Soon they will have separate ministers for days of the year at this rate. If you have 15 ministers out of 95 MPs, that’s 16%, and out of 60 MPs, yes that’s 25%. But compare that to 100 ministers, which is 6.6 times larger a cabinet, and 566% larger than what I’m suggesting.

  • 2
    0

    Dear Stanley,
    .
    Chandima Gomes was one of the earliest names advertised by Nagananda:
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandima_Gomes
    .
    I know about him only what I have read on the Internet after Nagananda named him. As for Chrishmal Warnasuriya, what I wanted to tell you was from my personal knowledge. Since Prof. Kumar David has a new article discussing JVP politics, may I migrate to the end of the list of comments on that article:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/two-disastrous-insurrections-spurning-tamils-has-damaged-the-jvp-the-jvp-must-banish-the-demons-of-its-past/
    .
    What I have to say there will indicate to you how much corruption has now seeped into every aspect of our public life. What I have to say about Chrishmal himself, however, will only serve to confirm what you say of him.
    .
    .

    • 2
      0

      Sinhala_Man,

      Thanks. Good to see a fellow rational minded patriot. I hope with all my heart that our country realises its potential to become another Singapore/South Korea, for the sake of our children.

      I thought Chrishmal seemed like a decent gentleman. He also made me laugh telling a story in an interview how is young daughter was saying “Aiyo, Papi, why did you bring us here?” after he brought his family back here to a country with no rule of law.

      I think all of us expected another start just like 1948 after the war ended. If I’m not mistaken big banks, asset funds, wealth funds, and famous investors (Rogers etc) named Ceylon/Sri Lanka as the next big thing in 2009 (equivalent to buying into Singapore just as Lee Kuan Yew came into office in the 60s). Sadly 10 years have been wasted.

      I shall try to keep up to date with your thoughts. How do you quickly find comments though? I can only see that we have to go to individual articles and keep scrolling?! I cannot actually tell if someone has replied to me sometimes.

      Long live our country and common sense!

  • 1
    0

    Sorry, Stanley. It is now here that you will have to go to, and I hope that you join in the fun there:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-turmoil-in-the-united-left-front-ulf/
    .
    I have no magic sauce, Stanley. Why not write to me, after Googling my name with its correct spelling. The question is, if I reveal a storm in a certain tea-cup, and if you are convinced that Chrishmal and I were right, will you have the stamina to help us clean up in that place which you would never have though such an Augean Stable?
    .
    My sufferings have been great.

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