20 May, 2022

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The New Opposition Group Of 40 & The Aragalaya: Potentials, Prospects & Problems

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The central question in politics today, which has been correctly grasped by the Aragalaya Movement, is the Gota Question. This is entirely correct in terms of universal political concepts, because it is the question of overthrowing the political autocrat—or more fundamentally- the ruler—which is the main task and target of any real democratic revolution.

If any political formation, faction or personality unable to grasp that this is the key link, and substitutes other targets —be it the economic crisis, the IMF, Basil Rajapaksa or the abolition of the Executive Presidency—is unwitting playing a diversionary role and is deviating from the path of political good sense.

The Opposition has a very significant new grouping of veteran politicians. It is a breakaway from the Government and has four components: the SLFP led by ex-President Sirisena; 10 or 11 smaller parties of partners and allies; SLFPers who are not led by him and are leaning towards ex-President CBK; and a grouping from the SLPP (Pohottuwa).

This grouping is the most significant variable in Parliament today. This is so because of two reasons:

(a) It has shrunk the regime’s parliamentary numbers and political base, and

(b) Is the only place that can attract more defections from the government ranks, or is the likeliest place to do so, thereby turning the Gotabaya administration into a minority Government.

The upside of the Group of 40 is that it is the only group in parliament whose numbers are likely to grow. It may even equal the SJB as party, perhaps also the SJB-led front.

The downside is that it is also the grouping that is vulnerable to being wiped out at the next election, as in the case of the SLFP and its former allies in 1977. That is a fate the SJB is not vulnerable to.

Which way the Group of 40 will go, depends on what it does right now. The problem is having is that while neither the SJB nor the JVP-NPP is on exactly the right track, those parties are not as badly confused as the Group of 40.

The SJB hit its Ground Zero in 2020. Both the SJB and the JVP-NPP can only move up from their present parliamentary representation.

By contrast, the Group of 40 can swell to double its size in this parliament but can also be eliminated electorally, as the SLPP (Pohottuwa) and the Rajapaksas will surely be, at the upcoming Parliamentary election.

The Group of 40 has already done well by making an actual change: reducing the Government’s numbers and making it more vulnerable, while taking the political initiative of proposing an 11-point program with an Interim Administration.

The problem is that the 11-points are in the wrong order. That problem is only a symptom of a much larger, more serious problem of political perspective and line.

The Group of 40 doesn’t have the correct answer or even a single agreed-upon answer, to the fundamental question of politics. That question, as Mao put it, is “Who Are Our Friends? Who Are Our Enemies?”

As President Sirisena, an ex-Maoist, would recall, the fundamental questions on which there must be clarity in politics are:

* “Who is the main enemy?”

* “What is the principal contradiction?”

Unless there is clarity on these questions, no correct ‘political line’ is possible.

Without a correct political perspective, no correct and sustainably successful politics is possible.

The answers to these questions are not rocket-science, but the Group of 40 is utterly confused. They are like a group of archers in a battlefield who don’t know exactly where to aim and keep shooting arrows at different targets.

The secret is that the Group of 40 is like someone who has separated from his or her spouse but isn’t sure of whether or not to get divorced. The Group has separated from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa but the public does not know whether or not it is a trial separation. It certainly hasn’t RUPTURED from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa precisely at a time when the overwhelming outcry of the citizenry is ‘Gota Go Home!’

Some prominent parliamentarians in the Group of 40 sound like a spouse who is separated, and is blaming the brother-in-law rather than the powerful marriage partner. Basil Rajapaksa is a symbol of derision in the country but he is not the main hate symbol of the protestors and target of the protests– Gota is– but the Group of 40 seems to want to turn Basil into the main enemy and Gota into the secondary enemy or something other than an enemy!

The Group of 40 does not have a clear and correct strategy. It does not recognize and orient its political line and practice on the twin basic realities that:

(I) The principal or main contradiction is that between The People and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and

(II) That the People regard Gotabaya as their “main enemy”.

So long as this remains the case, the political fate of the Group of 40, even if it joined by other dissidents and rises to 60 or 70, will be limited to a large balloon or bubble in the current term of the Parliament. They will go the way of the old United Front coalition members of 1970-1977, who regarded Felix Dias Bandaranaike as the main enemy while the electorate was heartily sick of Mrs. B and the whole family tree.

The Group of 40 does not seem to be aware that no Interim Administration formed under the presidency of Gotabaya Rajapaksa will enjoy a shred of public legitimacy.

It seems unaware that if it takes office in an interim administration under President Gotabaya (‘Go Home!’) Rajapaksa, it is likely to be wiped out any upcoming election.

The Group of 40 is oblivious to the fact that the worst electoral liability it has is being associated with the GR presidency; the presidency of the man who wrecked the farmers and agriculture.

The Group doesn’t get the basic point that they must use every hour of the day, every day of the week and every week of the month, to compensate for that guilt by association, by putting as much distance between themselves and the Gotabaya presidency.

If I may put in the plainest language possible to make comprehension as easy as possible, Karuna redeemed himself in the eyes of the vast majority of the nation and even the armed forces, by rebelling against Prabhakaran; by turning his guns against Prabhakaran, not merely or primarily against Pottu Amman (though it was with him that Karuna initially had a problem).

The relevance here is that if the Group of 40 wishes to earn the trust of the masses in revolt outside the parliament, and go on to survive the next election, it must immediately start to make up for lost time by taking on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the main enemy.

To conclude, the only kind of Interim Administration the Group of 40 can legitimately participate in and survive in the court of public opinion, is if it meets two minimum conditions:

a) It is a post-20A, revised 19th amendment i.e., a 21st amendment Interim Administration in which Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been bound hand and foot, and caged, before being thrown overboard by an accelerated Presidential election.

b) It is an Interim administration of a short period, the agenda of which is to ensure snap Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial Council elections within 3-6 months.

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Latest comments

  • 15
    0

    It appears that there is a misunderstanding between the purpose of the protestors and the behaviour of political parties as highlighted by the author. In my understanding the protestors wants a fundamental change in our political culture existing in our political parties but our political parties are thinking of how can they come back to power with their existing political culture to continue with power and money. They still talk about interim government with Rajapaksas, Ranil, Sajith and Sirisena as our role models. Most of the opposition 40 worry about their ministerial posts rather than the people’s problem.

    • 6
      0

      Dayan, did you notice that Chinese PM met Mahinda and not Gota. He had also met the gang of 40 who are anti-Indian and anti-Tamil outfit. Does China want Mahinda to stay on and that they will get him the support from MPs. Mahinda can never become president. So removing Gota is not going to help him, as he has to serve under another. So the next best is to clip the powers of president for parliament and thereby PM to be the chief executive. This is what Mahinda is working on with Chinese support. Unfortunately for him people want Mahinda out. So if Mahinda is voted out in parliament, next move is to bring China friendly anti-Indian and anti-Tamil person like Dinesh Gunawardena as PM. There are several who want to be PM who are either incapable or have been proved incapable. In the rush, Sajith Premadasa is challenging anyone to come forward against him who is the most suited person with ability to solve all problems faced by the country. People feel otherwise that, he is on the same boat as Ranil and Sirisena.

      • 3
        3

        Why don’t you take over?
        It cannot get worse for us, but can for China.

  • 7
    0

    That accelerated Presidency Election should under the 21st amendment be undertaken
    on the same day of an envisaged General Election, so as to cut costs, corrupt activities and if necessary the post of Presidency commencing from a fixed date in the future. – like in USA

    • 0
      0

      Punchinilame,
      Good morning.
      That will be the ‘BEGINNING OF THE END’ of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (DSRSL).
      The emancipated 6.9 million lot are unable to think out properly and do (perform) one election at a time, having elected ‘Nincompoops’ to these elevated and exalted positions???!
      What would happen, if all three (I mean 3) elections are held at the one and the same time!
      If I may hazard a guess of that election outcome?
      225 MONKEYS + 1 APE + 1 GORILLA!!!
      Who is Who in the categories, classified above?
      Very humbly submit, you’re exalted self’s guess is good as, or EVEN BETTER THAN MINE!!.
      Therefore, I’ll save the vain attempt!!!
      You seem to think that would be a better outcome than what we have at present???!!!
      Wish everyone of you well in your attempt in desperation, caused by 6.9 million enlightened by the clarion call for a Hitler and acolytes by the ‘so called’ enlightened lot!!

    • 0
      0

      “from a fixed date in the future. – like in USA”
      Why USA?
      What is so special about USA???
      Except, “monkey” like Trump if elected, could continue to monkey around until, his term comes to end???!
      It is not worth even talking about?
      Why?
      When more countries have flexibility in election times//!!

  • 9
    0

    Doesn’t this justify the call of the protestors to get rid of all of them? Everyone seems interested in fostering and ensuring their political survival rather than taking pains to figure out how to take the country forward and give some respite to the citizens and the youth fighting for the survival of the nation. Mr Ranil Wickramasingha’s call to invite the representatives from the protestors to parliament was not noted or heeded.

    Let’s trust, hope and pray that this will spur the youth, the protestors and those who are aspiring to be future guardians of mother Lanka to take a stride forward and and be insightful in identifying, singling out and homing in on prospective leaders from within their ranks. Out of the ashes of a dying parliament find nourishment and give life to a group of intelligent, fresh, sincere and dedicated minds to get us out of this mire and take the country forward…..to a united, prosperous and beautiful nation.

  • 4
    2

    Sanja talks about how protesters feel and what they want. DJ , talks about how politicians feel and make plans. What Sanja and DJ talk in private discussing Silly Lanka??

    • 6
      0

      Chiv,
      .
      From what I heard, both are now planning to move out of the country. Alas, this govt yet to offer DJ a position. If that would be tomorrow, DJ would forget almost everything as if he is born yesterday and ” nod tail” going beyond that of Mahinda #s dog.

      SRILANKEN TAX PAYERS FUNDS HAVE BEEN ABUSED FOR HOLDING DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS – AMIDST NUMEROUS DIFFICULTIES – WHAT HAVE THEY ACHIEVED LOOKING BACK ? THEY COULD LEARN IT FORM INDIANS – BIG BROTHER IN THE REGION -::: INDIANS HAVE ACHIEVED A LOT THROUGH THEIR DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN EUROPE.. PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEOS BELOW
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW1WIkTTDrA
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2xAceZe_qM

      That kind of inconsistent behaviour was not overlooked as I was compelled to digest in his person so far.

      • 5
        0

        apologies – it should be wagging his tail.

    • 4
      0

      LM, I am vindicated by DJ’S article calling North and East, to fight his war. Now, I know what DJ and Sanja talk about Silly Lanka in private. The rumor is every crook in parliament is aspiring for PM or President post.. Since MS was made President overnight, every Tom,Dick and Harry is dreaming of becoming President/PM. The list is too long RW, SP, AD, Sarath.F, Dulles. A, Dinesh, Yapa, Wimal/Vasu/Udaya, MS, disgruntled seniors from SLFP and SLPP, Nimal Siripala, (some say he left in a hurry in anticipation) and few crooks who call them selves independent. I am sure there are many more, I may not be aware.

    • 1
      0

      Chiv,
      Good Morning,
      Very good and an apt question too!
      “What Sanja and DJ talk in private discussing Silly Lanka??”
      If I may hazard an answer, “PREETHI”!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • 0
        0

        Good one bro.

  • 1
    10

    “…if it meets two minimum conditions:
    a) It is a post-20A, revised 19th amendment i.e., a 21st amendment Interim Administration in which Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been bound hand and foot, and caged, before being thrown overboard by an accelerated Presidential election.
    b) It is an Interim administration of a short period, the agenda of which is to ensure snap Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial Council elections within 3-6 months.”
    —-
    Talking like a nut!
    Getting rid of Gotabhaya and holding Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial Council elections are not the priorities of the ordinary folks in the country. Their pressing problems are rising cost of living, lack of gas and fuel and power cuts. These problems are related to shortage of foreign currency mainly due to drying up of two main sources; tourism and remittances from Sri Lankans working in foreign countries due to COVID pandemic and wasting $$$s to import non-essential items by the present Government (Basil). Dumbos in the opposition are clueless on overcoming the foreign currency problem.

    • 8
      0

      EE Blind Dumb and Deaf,
      Morning.
      “Their pressing problems are rising cost of living, lack of gas and fuel and power cuts. These problems are related to shortage of foreign currency mainly due to drying up of two main sources; tourism and remittances from Sri Lankans working in foreign countries”
      This has nothing to do with Covid, even if it is so, not any more serious than those of other countries, who have recovered from Covid-19 mal effects!!!
      So what is unique to Sri Lanka, fro prolonging the malaise and SHORTAGE of foreign currency earnings to support essential food and medicine imports?
      Idiosyncratic minded persons manning, administration and management by persons no more than Nincompoops!!!
      Throw them out!!!
      This includ President, PM and 2225+1 Mee Harakas and all their yes-men and acolytes!!!
      Problem of,
      “Foreign currency mainly due to drying up of two main sources; tourism and remittances from Sri Lankans working in foreign countries”
      Will not come right when untrustworthy idiots occupy seats of power!!!
      Ofcourse, you would not agree, because your source of income to sustaining your daily dinner would naturally dry up!!!!
      Selfish!!!

    • 6
      0

      The only nut who keeps coming up with absolute rubbish to spew in these columns is your self. Hmm I wonder why remittances dried up. Is this what a modern country should be relying on for sustenance anyway. Useless asking a brainless mutt like your self. I don’t know why I even bothered writing this.

      • 4
        0

        EE is a birth failure.
        .
        No doubt the kind of men would nt go out where he is now if not wearing a hibab/ or any full cover costume.
        .
        Poisonous reptiles in homo sapiens dress.

        🤔🤔🤔✌😶🤔✌😶😶

    • 2
      0

      EE,
      Pushed GNANAKKA in the shade???
      You have taken over her job!!
      What a Quack??

    • 1
      0

      THE NUT IS IN A NUTTY MOOD!
      Well ripe and Nutty!!
      Exhilarated to an extent, calling others NUTTY, when his the self-embodiment of NUTTINESS!!!
      Definitely did not mean Peanuts or Peanut eating MONKEYS, which abound in the wild, when I said NUTTY!!

  • 8
    0

    If any MP crossing over from the SLPP thinks they can nominate one of their own as interim PM and dictate terms to the the rest of the opposition they need to get their brains examined.You lot are not going to get any votes in a future election unless you commit to kicking out of office, in the shortest possible time the President and ALL the Rajapkshe family from parliament and power. Support to a strong 21st that severely restricts the presidential power and establishes a time line to get rid of him ASAP, appointing a new team of qualified economic experts from the SJB to begin the negotiations with international aid agencies are all critical. If you do not prove in the court of public opinion that you are genuine then you go down in history as paraihas. Time is also critical. All the ploys and lies told by the Rajapkshes are backfiring spectacularly. NO aid from the IMF to a team of unprepared morons headed by one of the worst crooked lawyers. Indian interference and manipulation of our soverighnity will all be upon your heads. Time is running out. tic toc….

  • 0
    8

    No matter how unpopular the current government is, governments are changed ONLY through democratically held elections. Protests and conspiracies do not reflect the views of majority voters.
    I vehemently condemn some SLPP MPs taking part in a conspiracy to bring back the previous slave government through backdoor, against people’s mandate. If the government MPs are unhappy, nobody stops them, they can resign and go home. Also, the PM should abandon the proposed 21A which is supposed to replace 20A and reintroduce the previously repealed 19A!!!! Oh my word, is there any other government in the world which reverses their stances at the drop of a hat?
    It is the VOTERS who change governments, NOT OPPOSITION MPs, DISSIDENT MPs or FOREIGN CATS’ PAWS.
    The President, the PM and their rogue government, who were elected for 5 years, can continue until the next election. There is no way the previous rogue government, which was overwhelmingly rejected by people, comes back to power through a conspiracy.

    • 5
      2

      Champa

      Could you write in English, Sinhala or Tamil.

      • 1
        3

        Native Vedda
        This is the gist of my comment.
        The government is responsible for its own downfall and unpopularity. However, irrespective of the fact that how unpopular the government is, it should ONLY be changed through a democratically held election. And, voters should never let protesters and conspirators undermine their voting rights.
        Some SLPP MPs taking part in a (coerced?) conspiracy to bring back the previous slave government is unacceptable. It is the voters who should change governments, not Opposition MPs, dissident MPs or foreign cats’ paws. I failed to understand the logic in reintroducing the 19A which was vehemently criticized by the same politicians for years. Their mastery in the art of selective amnesia is unbelievable.

        • 3
          1

          Champa

          We in this forum very well know democracy and you don’t mix.

          Let see,
          “However, irrespective of the fact that how unpopular the government is, it should ONLY be changed through a democratically held election. “

          Not necessarily, if constitution provided for the recall of elected members or officials it can be done and will be considered more democratic than what we have now.

          Secondly, the constitution should have prevented MP’s crossing the floor. JR was in two minds and he later proved himself to be anti democrat, by lifting the restriction.

          If parliament lose confidence in the government it is democratic practice/tradition to kick the government out and elect the new one as long as the opposition or new coalition could muster majority.

          The voters do not elect government, however the elected representatives vote for the establishment of government. This is still a representative democracy and not a direct democracy. Direct Democracy means involving the public directly in making decisions.

          “I failed to understand the logic in reintroducing the 19A which was vehemently criticized by the same politicians for years. “

          In a democracy, politicians are still allow to change their minds and side in their own interest. You should congratulate Rajapaksa clan still possess the ability to make use of democracy for their advantage.

          These are fundamental principle in democracy.

  • 4
    1

    EE Blind Dumb and Deaf,
    Morning.
    “Their pressing problems are rising cost of living, lack of gas and fuel and power cuts. These problems are related to shortage of foreign currency mainly due to drying up of two main sources; tourism and remittances from Sri Lankans working in foreign countries”
    This has nothing to do with Covid, even if it is so, not any more serious than those of other countries, who have recovered from Covid-19 mal effects!!!
    So what is unique to Sri Lanka, fro prolonging the malaise and SHORTAGE of foreign currency earnings to support essential food and medicine imports?
    Idiosyncratic minded persons manning, administration and management by persons no more than Nincompoops!!!
    Throw them out!!!
    This includ President, PM and 2225+1 Mee Harakas and all their yes-men and acolytes!!!
    Problem of,
    “Foreign currency mainly due to drying up of two main sources; tourism and remittances from Sri Lankans working in foreign countries”
    Will not come right when untrustworthy idiots occupy seats of power!!!
    Ofcourse, you would not agree, because your source of income to sustaining your daily dinner would naturally dry up!!!!
    Selfish!!!

  • 0
    4

    I want “Sri Lankan protesters” to watch this video that shows the situation near Azovstal Plant in Mariupol where heavy fighting was going on between Russia and Ukraine. It was uploaded by Patrick Lancaster, former US Navy intelligence veteran and independent journalist who risks his life to show the actual picture in the conflict zone.
    .
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=41CyWkPGoWo
    .
    The video shows the underground bunkers where people were hiding for nearly 45 days.
    It is heartening to see how the professional Russian, Chechen & DPR soldiers, who not only fight to rescue Mariupol residents from genocide suppression but also provide humanitarian aid and medicare to people. What is amazing is, these people didn’t even complain even though they suffered untold hardships and misery!!!!! I want to ask “Sri Lankan protesters”, can you even imagine how hard is life for these people???? (I urge President Zelenskyy to save the lives of his Marines, Azovs and their families hiding in bunkers, too.)

    • 1
      1

      I’m not sure why you, Champa, introduced this video, but I found it extremely interesting. Unfortunately, I am too deaf to follow what the guy in the green bonnet (Patrick Lancaster?) said — in English, I suppose, for it wasnt captioned.
      Can you please back up yr statement that the soldiers were Russian? How does the English-speaking guy introduce the whole episode?

      • 1
        1

        Manel
        They need not be Russian Russians, but Donbas Russians.
        That apart what is the relevance of that to the subject under discussion?

      • 0
        2

        Manel
        Oh, the Russian flag patch (white/blue/red) on the sleeve of their uniform confirms that they are Russians. The guy with the PRESS sign is Patrick Lancaster. The big guys with beards are Kadyrov’s Chechen warriors. Mariupol, which is home for ethnic Russians, is already under Russia. A group of Ukrainian troops are hiding inside Azovstal Plant. Many times, Russia has offered to stop attacks and ensure safety if they show a white flag and surrender. But the Ukraine’s President wants them to fight to the end. I am sad. I don’t want anyone to die whether they are Russians or Ukrainians.
        I fear the conflict in Ukraine will lead to WWIII, now that US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has “officially confirmed” that the US is fighting a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. With his remark on April 25 in Kiev, Austin grandly justified Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, and even cleared the way for Russia to use nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles!!!!

    • 1
      1

      Champa, I THOUGHT this video seemed very fishy. I wonder how much so-called “independent” journalist, Lancaster, got for putting it together.

  • 2
    2

    Good morning
    Problems revolving around, “Foreign currency remittance shortage, mainly due to drying up of two main sources;
    Tourism, will not happen in sectarian and majoritarian dominated country, and
    Remittances from Sri Lankans working in foreign countries, Not trust Looters”
    RESULTOF GROSS MISMANAGEMENT BY UNFIT ADMINISTRATORS CLAIMING THEY ONLY CAN DO??!
    Will not come right when untrustworthy idiots occupy seats of power!!!
    When the misfits GO HOME, it would correct itself.
    PEOPLE DO NOT TRUST LOOTERS AND ROBBER GANGS!!!
    Send looted wealth back to SL before going!!!
    ALL PROBLEMS AUTO RESOLVED!!

    • 4
      0

      Mahila

      Don’t you think now Gota looks completely different to how he looked before he was elected president?

      Then he looked like a psychopath compared to now he looks like pathetic.

      • 1
        0

        Native,
        Good morning.
        I Agree.
        Perhaps, he now feels desperate, because the Siblings are at loggerheads!!
        Especially, one ‘Crowing’ and the other, “Mama Thamai Hondatta Kere”??
        Handicapped without a ‘stick’ to lean on??!!!

      • 1
        0

        NV,
        Morning
        Shell shocked!!
        What else, marooned and captive!!

      • 0
        0

        Native, family still calls him terminator (a man, who alone destroyed a nation single- handedly), the minority calls him mass murderer, the victims of his political killings (Easter mayhem, murdered journalist ……..) calls him psychopath, retarded theras calls him Hitler, Viyathgama calls him “Silly Lankan Einstein” and 6.9 million who voted for him, now are calling him Pissu, Hora …..

  • 1
    1

    “The Group of 40 does not have a clear and correct strategy.”
    Should not DJ look there for his next contract?

  • 0
    0

    NV,
    Morning
    Shell shocked!!
    What else, marooned and captive!!

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