9 August, 2022


The SLFP Must Unbuckle Itself!

By Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

Dr Dayan Jayatilleka in his article “The Rising: Nugegoda Feb 18th” makes two points clear. Firstly, Mahinda Rajapaksa is wanted. Secondly, those who want him do not resent President Maithripala Sirisena: they just want the SLFP to get the UNP out. While the first point is debatable, I agree with the second.

President Sirisena’s campaign was for good governance. Even his rivals support this. Vasudeva Nanayakkara is reported to have said that he would support it even if it takes more than 100 days. That’s commendable. The problem is that while those who support Rajapaksa support Sirisena’s program, the Sirisena faction is purposely leaving out Rajapaksa. Which is where its problems begin to crop up.

The SLFP can’t possible hope to win with the 6.2 million people who voted for Sirisena. Let’s not forget that those 6.2 million included supporters (diehard or otherwise) of the UNP, JHU, SLMC, and TNA. It’s difficult to imagine that they will vote for him again. Briefly put, the SLFP was split during the election. Even those who hated Rajapaksa voted for him, particularly since they were unsure whether Sirisena remained in his party. Those who voted for Sirisena thinking that he did remain were in the minority among that 6.2 million, clearly.

Things are different today. What we are seeing is a coalition of two parties balancing out each other. The UNP has the government, while the party with the numbers in parliament has been marginalised in the opposition. Going by the way it’s handling this situation (including that pathetic attempt at a no-confidence motion), the SLFP needs to re-fire. Fast.

First of all, it must stick to its promises. Mahinda Rajapaksa clearly failed to deliver the goods when it came to democracy. But so did his predecessors. Sirisena is his successor. Who’s to say he will keep what he promised? If he chooses to go back on his mandate he’s cheating 6.2 million voters. If we are to apply this to those who voted for his rival (given that even they support his program) he will be cheating another 5.7 million. He can’t afford to slip up. Not now.

Mahinda Nugegoda

*Photo -Lakruwan Wanniarachchi via Facebook page -Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Sri Lanka

At the same time, he must maintain an edge over the UNP. It’s not difficult to do this. In spite of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge‘s claim that she won 75% of the war, no one in the SLFP has discounted Rajapaksa’s war victory. Just as the SLFP can claim that it won the war, it can also claim to have changed the Constitution. Two achievements in one go. Enviable.

Currently, however, the party doesn’t know which leader to support. Sirisena is its head in name, true, but even those who support him defend Rajapaksa. The SLFP can’t really be schizoid at this point. Unfortunately, we have one section of the UPFA which campaigns for the president and another section (even within the SLFP) which opposes him.

I have written earlier that the likes of Rajitha Senaratne will not be enough to salvage the SLFP. I still stand by this. As Dr Jayatilleka argues in his article, the Nugegoda rally was not a threat but a message. It showed just how strong the former president still is. And as Malinda Seneviratne notes, he has almost completely recovered his 2009 “face”. He’s positioned in a way that the SLFP can be united. For good. That’s an opportunity no one can really refuse.

Given this, the SLFP can’t afford a rift. Those who marginalise the former president thinking that the party can “win” the 5.7 million votes he got are politically schizoid. Vilifying those who organised the Nugegoda rally won’t help, hence. Disregarding their message will do enough and more damage to the SLFP. At this stage, no one wants that. At all.

Lakshman Kiriella got it right when he said that a divided SLFP would ensure a UNP rule for the next 15 years. That’s being politically shrewd. And frank.

*Uditha Devapriya is a freelance writer who can be reached at udakdev1@gmail.com. His articles can be accessed at fragmenteyes.blogspot.com.

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Latest comments

  • 10

    Back with more tripe I see with a new picture to boot too.

    Is Malinda training you, you are just like him.

  • 10

    For the SLFP to be able to form a credible and respectable democratic government the Rajapaksa curse must be exorcised from it. Rajapaksa’s corrupt and thuggish rule damaged not only the SLFP but the country and its people also in the international arena. The writer is biased and appears to be a supporter of the deposed dictator.

    • 8

      So what is wrong in supporting MR? Should nt supporters of MR have a democratic right? If people who killed people in broad daylight can be praised by elected officials what is wrong in supporting a leader who defeated terrorism?

  • 10

    The fact is there was an urgent need to oust the Mahinda brothers. All institutions that ensure democracy and the rule of law were systematically dismantled by MARA and his brothers. It was a Familiocracy and Kleptocracy combined. Those in control of the country were killers, kudu karayas and seasoned fraudsters. A ragtag coalition consisting elements of SLFP, UNP, JVP and some monks combined and succeeded in toppling a most corrupt and dangerous cabal. It is early days yet. I feel despite the highly publicized Nugegoda rally there has been a continuous shift towards My3 among those who were confused during the last election. At the end it is not a bad idea for this coalition to continue sharing power in whatever capacities that may evolve. The urgent need is to keep out the Jadapalakayas out. Winning the war against the LTTE does not give the right for Mahinda to be the king of Sri Lanka and his family to rob the country dry along with the worst type of charachters in our society.

    • 7

      “The fact is there was an urgent need to oust the Mahinda brothers”

      Isn’t that undemocratic? Aren’t you asking to destroy democracy? Are not you trying to stifle the democratic right of a person (a man who had served more than you can ever imagine)?

      Arent you trying to stifle the democratic right of close to 50% of this country?

  • 7

    Uditha Devapriya

    Referring to Maitri you say, “Who’s to say he will keep what he promised?”

    Hey, man! Is this the way you were taught to formulate an argument where you went to school? Don’t you know the difference between gossip and analysis. Think for yourself as a man. Don’t just hang on to Mahinda’s or Dayan’s or Malinda’s balls. Instead hang on to logic and reason and sense.

    You seem to be panicking that Mahinda is being marginalized by his own party. That is why you keep harping about his popularity. Nobody is denying he is popular with the people gullible enough to be indoctrinated by the propaganda of Mahinda family dynasty with its hordes of sycophants, the kudu-ethanol-gambling-prostitution mafia, and the political underworld. But the hitherto silent majority within the SLFP is finally ready to kick the badass out.

    So your fight is not with Maitri or the UNP, but with the SLFP to prevent it from kicking Mahinda out. What is the difference between you and the political pariahs Weerawansa, Gamman Pillay, Basil, Dulles, Aluthgamage, Attanayake, Rohitha, SB, Muthuhettigamage, et al. These criminals have no political future without the Mahinda circus. Aren’t you ashamed to do the laundry for these stinkos?

    The question is not whether Mahinda is popular or not. The question is what is the right punishment for this rascal who has destroyed the very fabric of our society through shameless plunder, cheap self-glorification and shocking oppression.

  • 6

    The then opposition talked about democracy and they said they are fighting for democracy. As I understand the democracy is being shunned by this un elected regime.

  • 4

    “Lakshman Kiriella got it right when he said that a divided SLFP would ensure a UNP rule for the next 15 years. That’s being politically shrewd. And frank”

    This is the reason Shiral Lankatilleke has been appointed by Ranil to be My3’s secretary so that the President could be held prisoner by the UNP and the SLFP conduct could be dictated to suit UNP through MY3.

    On the other hand it shows My3 himself did not have any competent person known to him to appoint as his Secretary. That much weak and helpless is the President.

    A prisoner of the UNP under the Executive Presidency.

  • 3

    Vasudeva “commendable”? From what planet are you?

  • 0

    What is being said about MS being held hostage by the UNP is obviously true
    But this sort of pressure won’t last long. Serisena will come to his senses -maybe he already have
    Because today SLFP meeting headed by NSs,GL, et al has vehemently disagreed to demolish the powers of executive presidency and the talks had collapsed then and there.

    Can anyone even think of these SLFPers sopping without the blessing of siripala? Very doubtful. This
    Opposition seem to carry out Sirisenas message that EP need to be pruned but kept. For Sirisena this is a new thing. But for SLFP it’s what hey have been saying all this time. So it’s my personal observation it’s president MS who is trying to safeguard EP VIA SLFP. In other words he’s not ready to give any powers to RW. Fair enough.

    In the comg we’d see more news on this and more cracks may surface.

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