16 May, 2022

Blog

Udaya & Wimal leave The Cabinet

By Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

By sacking Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila, the government has betrayed its inability to withstand criticism, especially from within. Weerawansa and Gammanpila were, of course, hardly the first government MPs to offer such criticism: Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe came out long before them. But Weerawansa’s and Gammanpila’s sacking is important because of who they are and what they represent. While it is somewhat justifiable to view what’s unfolding now as part of a long drama authored by the government, one should not shrug off, and ignore, the significance of these two leaving the Cabinet.

Together with Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dullas Alahapperuma, and Kumara Welgama, Weerawansa and Gammanpila were key ideological backers of the Bring Back Mahinda Campaign. Unlike Rajapakshe, who ensconced himself with the yahapalanists before making a hasty exit, they stuck through and through with Mahinda. While it’s true that on their own the parties they lead amount to nothing, it’s also true that without their mobilisation, the Joint Opposition wouldn’t have been able to tap into the mass discontent that was the hallmark of the yahapalana years. It’s no small irony that the man they fought and campaigned against, Maithripala Sirisena, is standing with them on the same stage. This is why their departure is so significant, and why one shouldn’t belittle it.

Weerawansa and Gammanpila represent a softer version of the rightwing politics being espoused by the current government. This does not make them progressives, nor fellow travellers of the Left. But no Oppositional strategy can, or will, work without accounting for the fact that they are no longer with the regime. Moreover, as Minister of Industries and Minister of Energy respectively, they did some work, even if in the larger scheme of things that didn’t amount to much. They also fired off warnings about the present crisis that the ruling party paid no attention to: warnings that, especially in Gammanpila’s case, have now come true. Sacking them won’t make the problem go away.

All this seems comparable to what happened in 1975, when the Sirimavo Bandaranaike government sacked the LSSP and the Communist Party before shifting rightward. In that sense, it’s tempting to compare Weerawansa and Gammanpila to N. M. Perera and Colvin R. de Silva, with Basil Rajapaksa playing Felix Dias. But at the end of the day, such comparisons are unhelpful, and don’t stand up to the complexities of the situation.

What we are seeing now essentially is the excision of two petty bourgeois appendages from a Bonapartist regime. This calls for new strategies, both for the defectors-to-be and the Opposition. For starters, both Weerawansa and Gammanpila have a history of engagement with populist politics. While the economic crisis has seen their brand of nationalism take a backseat, in the right hands this is an ideology that can be mobilised progressively.

Mr Gammanpila’s past connections to Champika Ranawaka, in particular, may or may not result in a shift in oppositional politics, but such conjunctions, improbable as they would have been two years ago, seem plausible today. The SLFP has already marked itself out as a key adversary of the SLPP, endearing itself to sections in the Opposition. It remains to be seen whether the NFF and PHU will follow suit, but that may well happen.

None of this necessarily bodes well for the country. But if the Opposition needs to topple the government democratically, it needs to explore all options. We are now in a situation where the most corrupt and dislikeable acolytes of the regime are pushing out their less corrupt and dislikeable colleagues. Weerawansa and Gammanpila do have their chequered pasts. But to be fair, so do certain members of the Opposition. Compared with the excesses of some government MPs, the NFF and PHU have conducted themselves rather well over the last two years. Of course, that hardly excuses their shortcomings. Yet it does open up the possibility of them joining a broader anti-regime alliance.

More importantly, these developments should not distract the Left from forming a progressive bloc against the government and the neoliberal Opposition, while shifting the latter leftward. Petty bourgeois formations in Sri Lanka have a tendency of turning to the right, but they have always been guided by prevailing circumstances. This is why the same SLFP that nationalised multinational oil companies in 1961 could reduce wealth taxes at the top level from eight to three percent barely 15 years later. The Left must hence recognise the progressive potential of breakaway factions from the government, without embracing them or forming alliances with them. It must also recognise that there are others within the regime, even within the ruling party, who want out, and encourage them.

In that sense, the biggest mistake the Opposition can make is to assume that what we are seeing now – the exit of two key partners in the government – is part of a lengthy drama scripted by the government and the ruling party. No Opposition in Sri Lanka can or should discount the potential of dissidents. Anti-government forces may privilege principles over expedience, but then they must note that the ex-government formations they are dealing with are cleaner than the closest acolytes of the regime. They must also understand that politics is about shifting allegiances, that alliances are marriages of convenience, and that Oppositions can only linger so long as they make use of the moment.

When Britain experienced queues at filling stations and India imposed power cuts over coal shortages, pro-government commentators basked themselves in glory. Today we have fuel shortages and power cuts, and those commentators have gone quiet. Udaya Gammanpila was right: this is the worst crisis since independence. But who from the government’s side will acknowledge? Who from that side will come up with a feasible plan to get us out of this mess? The government is hell-bent against going to the IMF. Progressive commentators are opposed to the IMF too. But what’s the alternative? Does the regime have one?

We are seeing through the biggest crisis this country has ever experienced. Without a joint alliance to set things right and redirect the government, there’s no telling where we will go. To that end, we need to course-correct. A progressive bloc is the only solution.

*The writer can be reached at udakdev1@gmail.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 12
    1

    Udaya, Vasu says he will remain as a Minister but refuses to do any work ?? Was he doing any work before ?? I was told, VN attends house only to get a good nap and free food. Lately he has been attending more sessions because of frequent electricity cuts, whereas air conditioning in parliament is uninterrupted.

  • 9
    0

    “Weerawansa and Gammanpila represent a softer version of the rightwing politics being espoused by the current government.”
    That is an extreme misreading of this pair of charlatans. Uditha should know better.
    Gammanpila and Champika Ranawaka ousted the naïve SL Gunesekara from leadership of the Sihala Urumaya, which was riding on the coat-tails of the Soma Hamuduruwo movement.

    • 8
      0

      When Mahinda Rajapaksa came along, he needed to prove his Sinhala Buddhist credentials. So he co-opted the JHU into his campaign, reversing Chandrika’s policy of not touching them with a barge-pole. At the time, the JHU was anti-Christian as well as anti- Tamil and anti-Muslim.
      Though their voter base is small, their persuasive theatrics on election platforms contributed to MR’S popularity. The same could be said of Weerawansa the JVP renegade. Champika Ranawaka decided that the UNP is a safer bet.
      It is a good thing that this pair is out of power. Along with Ranawaka, they are the fountainhead of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism. Alone, they have little influence. I do hope Sajith is not stupid enough to welcome them into his fold.

      • 5
        0

        A brilliant comment, oc.
        .
        But then most of what you write is brilliant. Intelligent and well-informed.
        .
        I thank you for your existence, but I wish I knew who you are.
        .
        Your friend, Panini

        • 6
          0

          SM
          What a flatterer you are! Thanks anyway.

      • 1
        1

        OC
        MR brought in JHU to offset the JVP. His SB credentials were more secure than CB’s.
        *
        Also the JHU’s flirtation with the UNP was over after they contested to win several saffron seats in parliament. When the JHU MPs made monkeys or asses or pigs or whatever of themselves in parliament their stock fell never to recover.
        The JHU was desperate for a prop to lean on. MR was ready and willing.
        *
        MR achieved splits in both outfits. In both splits he got the minority with him.

        • 5
          0

          “When the JHU MPs made monkeys or asses or pigs or whatever of themselves”
          Remember the “Puravastu Chakravarti” Ellawala Medhananda and his duty free Benz?

          • 1
            2

            OC
            Thanks.
            Are to pointing at a pig?

        • 3
          0

          “MR brought in JHU to offset the JVP. His SB credentials were more secure than CB’s. “
          Putanic Comrade Sadampi writes Mahavamsa always. In 2005 Budget SLFP was supposed to be out of power. Somawansa and other party’s future conscious people wanted to stay out of voting for it. They thought Old King was sucking the party to advance his own games. But Lemon Puff, who knows the exact mentality of the rest of JVP comrades, thought if JVP not voting in Budget, the whole JVP group will cross the border to SLFP. So, he gave maximum pressure in the JVP to vote for Old King’s budget. That’s it, JVP faced the eternal extinction. So, most of the JVPyers went to SLFP. Somanwasa went to London. Lemon Puff did the right thing, to finalize the death of JVP, he formed his own party. Gunam formed his party. At last, Anura too has formed one JVP, with all the leftovers. Old King takes always as many as he wants from all parties. Though UNP, Muslim parties, TNA all gave their dues to Old King, JVP, just before it faced its death, tore off its Dhoti too and surrendered at Old King’s feet and died nude.

        • 3
          0

          Champika’s was killed by Ganapathipillai. He promised, “even if I ended up as going a bald head beggar, Champika should not be minister in SLFP”. (Ganapathy was fearing of Old King using his Australian case, Old King’s advantage. That is why Champika became his soul enemy.) JHU is denuded now. All these idiots didn’t know how dishonest Don Stephen denuding GGP. That time they all shouted Hurray to Don Stephen. Now it is Tamil’s time to shout hurray to Lemon and Ganapthi’s achievements. But Sadampi concocting stories and crying for JVP & JHU. Only an “Arivu Ketta” Modaya will say CB was politicking with Sinhala Buddhism, but Old King was doing strategical philosophical move with other Slave Political Parties. Old King took in JVP & JHU with one purpose, to suck them and dispose them. He has been doing that religiously. That is what he did to Hakeem & Rishard. That is how h passed even 20A. If Sadampi cannot see it even now, he has only a dirty, kitchen sponge in head, not brain.

    • 0
      3

      OC
      Did not SLG deserve what he got from his chauvinist pals.
      For a non-SB, he was more SB than even a true SB.

      • 1
        0

        SJ,
        He certainly deserved it. He actually believed that an exclusively Sinhala party could be led by a non-Buddhist. I remember him crying on TV after being booted. Probably he also believed the SB’s were as holy as he made out, and wouldn’t back-stab him.

        • 0
          2

          OC
          He was a cunning man. He was too cunning for his own good.

    • 3
      0

      old codger

      Could you summarise what Sinna Thamby Uditha Devapriya is trying to convey.

  • 1
    1

    If you want a progressive, non-racist bloc, then vote for the “National People’s Power”; it is now referred to as the NPP.
    .
    In Sinhalese it is called the Jathika Jana Balavegaya – but I don’t often hear it referred to as JJB. Well, since it is English initials that are used, it makes sense to call it the NPP. If people want haggle even over such trivialities, I think that most of us would know what to do with such silly arguments.
    .
    I’m sorry, I don’t know any Tamil at all. Perhaps Weerawansa and Gamanpila know Tamil; even if that is the case, they are racists, not I.
    .
    Lankans are morons as Dr Jagath Asoka says here:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sending-putin-to-america/
    .
    Some morons may not even know that the NPP has three people in Parliament: AKD, Vijitha Herath and Dr Harini Amarasuriya. At the next elections we must increase that to fifty, minimum. I wish that they would get a Parliamentary majority, but that’s a tall order, isn’t it?
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

  • 2
    0

    Rajapakshas have held two exhibitions by kicking the racist Duo out ! As soon as
    they were out , Muslim Covid victims were allowed Burials at any cemetery ,
    exposing or passing the the blame indirectly on the Duo ! Maybe , just maybe the
    human right pressure on the regime is mounting and these two sent to the Altar !
    So , now , no more racists with them , the rest have taken a holy shower ! More
    spectacular dramas to be staged as the Bowl is getting smaller and smaller by day
    in and and day out !

    • 2
      0

      Whywhy,
      “So , now , no more racists with them , the rest have taken a holy shower !”
      No, there’s still Jayasumana, Weerasekara, and many others.

  • 5
    0

    I hope and pray that Sri Lankan voters do not forget the recent past. Not long ago Wimal, Vasu, Gammanpilla, Abayatissa Thero, Muththettuwe Thero, Rathana Thero, Maithree, SLFP MPs, and a few other politicians and monks all protested against Gotabaya’s 20A and a non-national (Basil) coming into the Parliament. However, when it came to the wire and just before the voting took place in the parliament this entire group flipped over and supported the moves of Gotabaya with lame excuses. This was a pre-planned strategy by this group who are true supporters and slaves of the Rajapakse family.

    Once again the same drama is being played today. We all know the bribes taken by each one of them in the past and the cunning dramas they played, do we need to support them again or kick them out for good with the Rajapakse Family from politics? Kick them out for good!

  • 0
    1

    This was a “DRAMA” staged without the announcement of the “SCRIPT WRITER”, “PRODUCER” and the “DIRECTOR”.

    My memory went back to decades-old “VINODA SAMAYA” where we were presented with “THREE” main actors – Samuel Rodrigo, Ansley Dias, and Berty Gunathilaka. The only “Difference” in this “Drama” was the number of “ACTORS” and the “COMEDIANS” such as Wimal, Udaya, Vasu, Rathana, Maithree, and many others seated behind.

    This “Drama” will not continue that long because the PEOPLE know its “REAL FACE” – HYPOCRACY.

  • 5
    0

    Don’t complicate thangs ………. unnecessarily …….

    In the human-condition ……. there are no Sinhala-Buddhists, Communists, Leftists, Rightists, Centrists, patriots ………. only survivors.

    Wimal, Gammanpila, Vasu, Vidura, (even Sirisena, in the last election) ………. couldn’t have won a seat in their own right ……… had to hang on to Mahinda’s coattails.

    Now, Mahinda’s coattails are in tatters ……… they are just searching desperately for their next means of survival …………

    If they have done a single unselfish – or patriotic – deed in their lives …….. then Nimal’s my name ……… and EE is my uncle ……….


    Who has reached the farthest point of learning ……… to cut all the crap and just use one single word that defines human-survival ………. “selfish?”

  • 3
    0

    Those Rajapaksas are jumping from one monetary ideology to the other. From Chinese loan sharking, to Russian Oligarchic stomping, they are now attempting to induce the US to forgive their disparate actions, and are seeking the super-power’s own personal forgiveness via block-chain! Now block-chain means little electric power for the Masses to exist; the money of the suffering masses to go on Crypto ; Lankan Oligarchic money to boost up conventional Western banking system. And then we won’t have to pay back the loans for there will be no money in the country to show for. But the West will possibly forgive us our debts, and exist merrily with the crypto of our suffering masses, of which any returns will trickle back for some road maintenance. No wonder those 2 patriots gave up. Time for the Revolution! Time to catch the Lankan Oligarchic money and spread it to the Suffering Masses before it disappears!

  • 4
    8

    Sinhala man you are wondering who Old codger is and also praising him ” what you write is brilliant!”

    Why wonder? One and the same.

    Just stand in front of a mirror. Aussie Rat and local Rat .

    Ranil tricks are so cheap

    • 7
      1

      D.S,
      Do you have to hide your rather dim light under a bushel? Is your computer so cheap that it doesn’t have a reply button?
      You seem so concerned with other people’s sexual orientations. Haven’t you noticed that Mangala ( another poof in your estimation) introduced a fuel price formula that your Pohottu geniuses laughed off but want to imitate now?
      I am told that most homophobes suffer from some sort of performance problem themselves, or are themselves gay.
      Learn to judge people by their public actions, not what happens in their bedrooms. I remember you were a great supporter of the Muslim burial ban, like other Pohottuwa devotees.

  • 4
    0

    Hahahahahaha finally the chief mascot Buruwansa has left Ali Baba and 40 thieves gang or was he kicked out by the Bata slipper wearing gamayas?

    • 3
      0

      Tamil from the north

      “…. finally the chief mascot Buruwansa has left Ali Baba and 40 thieves gang or was he kicked out by the Bata slipper wearing gamayas?”

      Both smart ass nationalists (racist) Wimal and Udaya have been sacked from government. Since both are being sacked from government now they may have 38 thieves.

  • 1
    7

    OC how brilliant ! Yes I am a homophobe and a gay ! Please make up you mind, also am I suffering from performance problem ? A gay who cannot perform ? Is that definition in accord with your analytical mind ?

    Have fun while you wait for Ranil to come back. Perhaps he needs a little more experience ?

    • 4
      1

      deepthi silva

      “A gay who cannot perform ?”

      Or are you suffering from p***s envy?
      By the way are you one of those homophobic men with red hot iron bar?

      • 3
        0

        Native,
        These Rajapaksa trolls have no real arguments. Whatever school they attended (if at all) hasn’t taught them that calling someone a “poof” isn’t an argument . Pathetic.

  • 0
    4

    Vedda , did we evolve from apes ?

    Appearance is sufficient proof ?

    • 0
      0

      DS,
      “Appearance is sufficient proof ?”
      OK, tell us one thing that your God Nandasena has done better than Ranil, given that his moustache is evidence he’s not a “poof”?
      Don’t run away.

    • 2
      0

      deepthi silva

      “Vedda , did we evolve from apes ?”

      Sorry I have no idea as you know I wasn’t there when the process of evolution took place. All what I know is Neanderthal which was subspecies of human extinct 40,000 years ago, according to anthropologists.

      Please be aware, sooner than later the subspecies of Lankies known as noisy minority Sinhala/Buddhists may also extinct due to their natural resistance to evolve, due to small population size, inbreeding, disease, ……. like their … ancestors the Neanderthal.

      I regularly see them wearing Sinhala/Buddhist white suit, aping the west in modern suit and tie, and clad in saffron, olive, khaki, …. with begging bowl.

      • 0
        0

        Native,
        It seems DS has decided to run away. I am sure he’ll find another name to operate under, like Leonard or Jay Chambers.

        • 1
          0

          old codger

          Is Jay Chambers still alive?
          I think deepthi silva has nothing better to do hence bored.
          I doubt he has good relation with his children and Grandchildren, probably scared of his partner, ….

          Poor man this must be his only pleasure, ….

          • 0
            0

            Native,
            I think all these characters are just one person under different names. Several common threads like Islamophobia, homophobia, alleged foreign domicile, English skills, and Rajapaksa “patriotism “.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.