5 October, 2023


UPFA Shrinking In Uva, UNP Not Seizing Initiative, Chandrika Warning Of Military Spectre

By Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

The response of the UNP leadership to the results of the Uva election has curiously ended in anticlimax. Even though the UNP lost the election, there was enough in it for the Party to seize the political headlines for weeks on end, energize its supporters, and announce to the country that after two decades of serial losing the UNP is back in business as the only serious contender to the still powerful but increasingly decadent Rajapaksa regime. In Harin Fernando, who became a preferential phenomenon in Badulla, the UNP had the perfect commodity for sustained political marketing. Alas, the Party of the Market has become a workshop of political zombies after the Uva election. But for a single post-election statement spuriously linking the 2014 provincial victory to the 1817 Uva rebellion, the UNP leadership was back in the underwhelming business of internal party bickering.

Party Secretary Tissa Attanayake let it be known that he was resigning from the Party’s Leadership Council. If people did not quite get that, it was clarified that Mr. Attanayake was not quitting the Secretary post. Never mind that being Secretary made him a de facto member of the Leadership Council. The resignation move was seen as a ruse to unravel the UNP Leadership Council set up about one year ago with ecclesiastical blessings, and make way for Sajith Premadasa to be anointed as the UNP Deputy Leader. And he was duly anointed – a reward more for his whining, or singing, than his politics. Never in Sri Lanka, has so much been made for long about a political scion with so little leadership potential. Not everyone is pleased, especially Ravi Karunanayake who is in turn disliked by Attanayake. There was a show of selfless camaraderie on the Party’s second tier – with Ruwan Wijewardane, Gampaha District MP and Chairman of the UNP National Youth Front, gifting his Chairmanship to Harin Fernando, and the latter graciously declining the gift and returning it to sender.

Harin FernandoThe riveting news of all, although not made hugely public, was that Ranil Wickremesinghe would be leaving for the re-United Kingdom to attend – of all things – the annual conference of the British Conservative Party starting today in Birmingham. What politics is this? Reverse celebration of the Uva rebellion? The Uva voters who lost the election even before voting, have now been defeated again – betrayed, that is, by the UNP leadership. We are left to wonder if President Rajapaksa, in one of his more meditative moments, might be thinking: “what more can I do for these (UNP) fellows to put me out of my karmic presidential misery?”

While his supporters are busy imagining that the presidency is Ranil’s for the taking, Mr. Wickremesinghe is still having trouble differentiating between a national constituency and non-national affiliations. Instead of storming the country after Uva, he has taken flight to sit as a guest backbencher at what would mostly be a soul-searching rather than an inspirational conference of the British Conservative Party. The Tories will be infighting to stave off defeat at the next elections, hardly the place for the UNP leader to go to learn about winning. A meeting with Modi next door could be more rewarding. But serious leaders stay home and do the hard work and do not depend on diplomatic endorsements and overseas recognitions. If at all such testimonials will be burnt by the electorate. Uva gave Ranil Wickremasinghe yet another chance to affirm his self-belief and project his confidence to the country. But he seems bent on blowing his moment rather than seizing the initiative.

The open question and Chandrika’s stinger

In Uva, the UNP got closer than anywhere else in ten years but did not win. In politics, as in sports, what matters in the end is winning and not how close one gets to winning only to end up losing. The government lost votes hugely from its 2009 total, but still won, its internal estimates were apparently right on the mark: 58% in Moneragala, 48% in Badula. Dirty tricks were not unexpected, but plenty of new dirty tricks were deployed. Winning against the UPFA, means winning against all of its tricks and against all odds. Anything less is not a win. The diminishing vote tallies of the government are a strong trend and a powerful indicator of its declining support. But trends and indicators – do not an election win. It would be naïve to expect these trends to automatically extend to the next presidential or parliamentary election. They need a political agency to convert them into real votes and real victory. Who will provide the agency for the opposition? That is the question, and it remains open in spite of Uva.

What Uva has shown is that the political contest in the south is still a two-party contest, everyone else is an also-ran. There is no third force worthy of electoral mention. The JVP can give zest to a political campaign, but in Uva it JVP could not reach its own target of 10%. There is nothing new about the two-party-vote-split in Sri Lankan politics. Doric de Souza made that abstraction after the LSSP’s electoral debacle in March, 1960. LSSP, the then bearer of the Left banner, was not targeting a piffling 10% in the 1960 election but ran on a sweepstake “NM for PM” slogan. It is a whole new electoral world out there now, and the old UNP-SLFP-Left categories are not only meaningless but are also non-existent in the way they used to exist.

Of the three, remarkably, it is still the UNP that still has its old brand name intact, albeit without the old brand of leadership. The SLFP is a different family party now, and it requires nothing less than mathematical genius to see the current SLFP as the old vehicle of Sinhalese nationalism under the political leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa and the strategic leadership of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Not necessarily speaking for the founding family of the SLFP, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has spoken her mind about the creeping militarization of Sri Lanka: “I have strong fears over this. Today, even the roads are being swept by the military. Even the drains in front of my house are being cleaned by them. My greatest fear is whether they will commit a massive destruction by discarding their brooms for weapons at a crucial time when the people attempt to bring about a change.” Well said, and better by someone than no one. But wouldn’t it be politically more consequential for Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe to stay home and do such frontline lambasting in Sri Lanka, rather than flying away to sit as a silent spectator at the Tory conference in Birmingham?

Mrs. Kumaratunga’s stinging words may not find a positive resonance in Ranil Wickremesinghe, but they have provoked an angry response from the Defense Ministry: “… the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi-led Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Mrs. Kumaratunga appeared to have taken a common stand against the military. … The TNA is pushing the government to withdraw the Army from the Jaffna peninsula. The TNA also wants the government to reduce the strength of the Army in the Vanni region. In Colombo, Mrs. Kumaratunga is propagating falsehood as regards the intentions of the Army.” Tying the former President to the TNA is a new version of the oldest communal trick in Sri Lankan politics. Not to mention that the Ministry officials have no business responding to political criticisms, which ought to the responsibility of government ministers, if not leaders of the UPFA.

President Kumaratunga is now limited to making occasional comments from the sidelines. Her latest stinger on the military is not a reflection on the men and women of the armed forces but an overdue public criticism of the process of militarization under the Rajapaksa government. The voters of Uva issued a stinger of their own indicating the growing disaffection of the people with the UPFA government. But neither public criticism nor voter disaffection can have electoral consequences without the agency of a strong opposition party and determined opposition leadership. The UNP came ‘close’ in Uva more by default than any design by its leaders. Post-Uva, the Party has failed to seize the initiative. Instead of rising to the occasion, its leader seems determined to be missing in action.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 4

    Rajan Philips

    RE: UPFA Shrinking In Uva, UNP Not Seizing Initiative, Chandrika Warning Of Military Spectre

    “The riveting news of all, although not made hugely public, was that Ranil Wickremesinghe would be leaving for the re-United Kingdom to attend – of all things – the annual conference of the British Conservative Party starting today in Birmingham. What politics is this? Reverse celebration of the Uva rebellion? The Uva voters who lost the election even before voting, have now been defeated again – betrayed, that is, by the UNP leadership. We are left to wonder if President Rajapaksa, in one of his more meditative moments, might be thinking: “what more can I do for these (UNP) fellows to put me out of my karmic presidential misery?”


    If some Sri Lankan patriot break the Idiot Ranil Wickramasinhes Leg, will he stop attending the Un-United Kingdom meeting of Conservatives?

    What is RW’s IQ? His it higher than the Temperature of Un-United Kingdom, measured in Degrees Fahrenheit?

    • 1

      Rajan Philips –

      Niro Sings when Rome is on Fire… RW Travels…

      Astrologers to decide date for presidential election


      SATURDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2014 18:50

      According to political sources the official announcement regarding the next presidential election would be issued on 19th November, the day the Present President completes four years after being sworn in.

      Most probably the election would be held on 8th January say sources though the final decision would be taken according to views of astrologers.

      The propaganda campaign of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa for the election has been already launched and a propaganda office for the election has already been opened at Gregory’s road in Colombo.

    • 3

      Amarasiri – As you rightly said, Ranil’s IQ is questionable. He should be in UVA canvassing for more voters as the people have shown signs of
      their desire for a regime change , instead he preferred showing his face to the British PM , who nearly lost Scotland from the union, in the recent referendum.

      Probably Ranil wants to run the party by remote control.

  • 5

    So nothing happened to Jayalalitha?

    Tamils all over the world are in mourning again as their “Amma” faces 4 years in jail.

    Blame it on MR.

    MR’s enemies are falling one by one! Miliband, Manmohon, Pillei, Kroucher, Thalaivar, Jayalalitha.

    • 1

      Thalaivar, You have not mentioned regarding the re-emergence of
      Supramania Swamy , who found a platform in Sri lanka recently to criticise fellow Indian Jayalalitha. he is a new friend of Sri
      lanka but unfortunately Mr. Modi side lined him.

  • 2

    Lies, more lies and the Tamils bailed out the UNP in Badulla.

    Ranil Wickremasinghe needs a rest after all that hard work.

    What a better place than Cameron’s National assembly to relax and learn a few tricks to lift the fortunes of our great majority of the inhabitant population.

    This great majority which in fact over 70 % are mainly Sinhala Buddhists followed by poor Catholic and Hindu Tamils and poor Catholic Sinhalese and Muslims in rural regions.

    These people are getting along their lives nowadays without the fear of terrorists and making a living building raoads , cleaning them and engaging in other mundane but essential services in the 8 % plus growth economy.

    What do the UNP offer them besides Ms Pillai’s HR investigation and “all you can and want rights” to the Elite and the Vellalas.

    Not much in Economic terms except bagging the drought relief for poor farmers, stirring the poor Catholics to force factories in their own villages and of course turn the Southern Infrastructure assets in Museums.

    May be Ranil might get a few ideas from Equity Funds and Pension Funds about selling our public assets , when they hold road shows to Tory participants..

    Plus organizing some form of dole payment to keep the great majority happy while their valuable public assets are flogged off to the British pensioners.

    Just imagine the commissions that will generate for the party hacks and financiers.

    Chandrika as the ex Commander in Chief knows how committed the current Armed Forces are to protect the country and its great majority of the inhabitant population after they sacrificed over 40,000 lives.

    Degrading the Armed Forces ( to borrow from Mr Obama) is part of the game plan to give cousin Ranil a little insurance in case he does the impossible and venture in to destroying whatever the Nation has achieved since Nanthikadal.

    • 3

      K.A Sumanasekera

      “Ranil Wickremasinghe needs a rest after all that hard work.”

      It seems you need rest more than Ranil. We really empathise with you. We fellow forum sharers won’t miss you if you take extended break from CT.

      Refresh your thought(?) process come back with rigorously revitalise defence of the clan and country.

      Are you talking to Anura Kumara Dissanayaka for he is also considering himself a potential common candidate? Go talk him out of contest.

      • 0

        Dear Native,

        They have finally converted you .. Haven’t they !!!!

  • 2

    Chandaraika Kumarantunge Banadarake of CBK lost her memory that her father of SWRD was killed by Gun shot of evil political of reactionaries elements of which that reactionaries ideology orthodox and conservative forces were behind by foreign Powers?

    SWRD was pioneer represtantitive of National Bouegesios class party that founder and leader of SLFP. Ongoing bouegesios revolution, since 1956 that class has progressive role to be played during that era of Democratic revolution. National bouegesios of SLFP leadership had inherited as weak socioeconomic and political base on backward and per-colonial political-economic system.

    Ours political-economy -social order remain more large part of politically many unwanted divisions and complexes of class forces which give anti-progressive forces to exist in widely in society. These forces time to time misdirected by UNP leading political hand which TNA separatism, JVP anarchist and LTTE base Tamil Terrorism that undermine and surrender the democratic path of reformed or revolution by means and form of Ballot or by Bullets.

    This simple political theory and experiences of modern politics since 1956 MANY WERE LESSONS NOT LEANED & realized by CBK. She is NOT a politicians, that even she was in ruing governance 11 years. While CBK only elected respretantive of Bourgeoisie member of her class but not talented and wise political leader.

    CBK cannot differentiated principle of task undertaken by her politics of class and member of her class of political vision and mission of Democratic of capitalist sustainability; that in present context developing capitalism inside and out side Sri Lanka reached to NEW era of Politics has cannot understand by CBK.

    That is why CBK- lack of vision that she talk of ‘Military coup’ or ‘dictatorship’ or ‘Regime changes’ in Island. CBK still not realized that she is now working in hand in hand with moribund forces who are against national bouegesios of democratic role play by that progressive revolution in Sri lanka.

    CBK now created new alliance with anti-people, anti-democratic and anti-progressive of counter reform movement working against her own father created SLFP national forces.

    • 0

      CBK’s lack of vision (political and otherwise) was contributed to by the LTTE, and yet she is still being led by the nose by the LTTE proxy, the TNA. She has no political future in Sri Lanka.

      • 4


        “She has no political future in Sri Lanka.”

        Have you changed your profession, when did you take up a fortune telling?

        Be patient, let her contest the elections and proof herself worthy of any higher office.

  • 4

    Come on guys…Ranil W will go to hell, if its a free ticket and a couple of nights on the house. This is what he has been doing for the last 1 years, when he was not ‘playing’ leader of the opposition or acting leader of the UNP!

    I think it is premature for the UNP or for anyone else to make pronouncements about their strategies, or lack thereof for the upcoming Presidential polls, because none have been announced.

    Attanayake’s fast one turned out to be damp squib and he will learn his lessons well this time, not to listen to Alles and Maharaja.

  • 2

    Rajan Philips,

    A mixture of crap, myth, miscalculations and some advice, you have definitely filled the void of the perennial criticism when RW undertakes a foreign tour! Someone was sure to fabricate a new Pythagoras theorem! The pin worms in these armchair pundits’ asses get itchy whenever RW goes abroad and so they weave a web of fairy tales until the itching subsides! This type of people are the perennial pessimists who blame that glass is half empty and then make a big hollow outcry on the unfilled portion. They don’t give a damned hoot about the fact that glass is half full, it is an achievement and that the trend would achieve fullness.

    This man must be jealous of RW attending overseas conferences. Come on! Get over the inferiority complex. It seems, as you pontificate, you are a better able, gifted and practical person than RW and I wonder what these morons in “re-United England” are doing out there with a fool like RW without employing you for their advisory service! However, the reality on ground zero is that the neo colonialist China is fast colonizing the whole country and the country is about to be completely under their control and exploitation and UNP is getting ready to take over the proceedings of the country and in such a takeover we will not be able to seek redress from the predator so RW has to find new ways of liberation-new ties, understandings, promises, strategies etc. have to be thought of.

    “instead of storming the country after Uva….”

    What a fantastic fantasy! What do you say it would achieve? Street fights, head smashing, murder, jailing, more dog fights…? We saw it being staged, the “storming”, by Dilan pimp just after election defeat in Badulla. Did we see such “storming” in Moneragala by SR being the victor anyhow? This is pure gallery and tribe politics. UNP is doing what it can within its limited resources and required time and scale.

    Internal strife is nothing new in UNP or in SLFP for that matter. When not in power, it is the cradle of all sorts of bickering and petty quarrels. And the regime has invested so heavily in igniting these flames. Your biased fabrication has not alluded to any of the fractures in UPFA or any positives of the increased votes of UNP.

    What your typed limited outlook writers do not understand is their own contradictory, random and asynchronous ideas dragging in all directions away from the main issue which is casting your vote against the regime within that all-important 9 your period on the election day. Everything is decided inside these 9 hours and afterwards no “storming” or brainstorming is material. Afterwards until the next election period arrives it is the everyday presented problems to you that educate you politically. RW or UNP cannot deliver to your door steps the political wisdom and your urge and drive to achieve your rights and aspirations. If people elect a rogue to be their leader it is their karma to live with it. You can’t impose your karma on RW to pay off. You have to understand one basic principle of life which is “the good” never goes after you, it is you who have to decide your fate. If you do not want RW or UNP so let it be so! We are only leaving our door open for you to walk in! And if you decide to be our guest we will extend you all the hospitality we could!

  • 4

    “UPFA Shrinking In Uva..” – is it going to shrink more??

    “Where were you then?’ Susil asks Basil! ” – http://lankanewsweb.net/exclusive/8880-where-were-you-then-susil-asks-basil

    “Don’t try to be smart. After making the government unpopular by stealing without an end, now you come to put the blame on us. We have been tolerating all this long. Do you take us to be ponce? Hear this. If I lose this worthless ministership, I can wear the coat and go back to court. What can you do? You only can flee back to America. Remember one thing. We will not be afraid of your false threats.” That is how power and environment minister and UPFA general secretary, lawyer Susil Premajayantha gave a piece of his mind to economic development minister and president’s brother Basil Rajapaksa a few days after the results of the Uva provincial council election were announced.

    That happened when Basil gave a phone call to the UPFA general secretary and started berating him over a remark he has made to the media.

    Basil has become angry because Premajayantha has told the media in response to the Uva PC polls results that there has been a setback but that the UPFA has won.

    At the time, Premajayantha had been at his home having a chat with his family and friends. Hearing Basil’s outburst, he has forgotten where he was and shouted out, “Where were you all in 2005? We are the ones who suffered to bring the party to power. Got shot at. Sacrificed our lives. What have you done? What you did was to parachute from America to Temple Trees and stole without an end. You have destroyed this government and the party too. Because of your lowly acts, we cannot walk on the streets. All these will affect badly on the real SLFPers who have been suffering all this long. When things go wrong, you will flee to America. The poor SLFPers will have to face the UNPers.” Family members had to make much effort to calm down Premajayantha, a heart patient. All of them heard the conversation in stunned silence.

    Calming down a little while later, Premajayantha has telephoned the president and said, “Sir, minister Basil rebuked me. I lost my cool. I too, shouted out. I am not to be blamed. I respect you only. We will be with you always.” Giving him a patient hearing, the president told the UPFA general secretary, “Susil, are you alone? Did anyone hear your scolding? Do not allow this to be published in the media. We will talk and settle this. Do not get excited.” Anyhow, according to reports reaching us, Basil had been with the president at the time of the phone call from Premajayantha.

    However, Premajayantha has related this story to senior ministers of the SLFP. As a result, all senior ministers boycotted the opening of a presidential election operations office at Gregory Road, Colombo yesterday (26) by Basil Rajapaksa. Minister Fowzie, who had gone there without knowing the incident, left a short while later.

  • 1

    I have always been rather fascinated by Rajan’s peculiar style of English journalese, but this piece is the most peculiar so far.
    The syntax is nearly always within the bounds of formal English and the lexical reach and flexibility are impressive. The discourse pattern however is one that a native speaker of a British or North American English dialect would almost never use.
    As to the content, the most useful upshot is that it elicited Anpu’s stunning revelations.

    • 0

      Joseph Pillai

      Commenting in CT certainly helped me to maintain and improve my relatively poor standards in English. I thank you for your analysis on Mr Phillips’s essay although I could not fully appreciate the flaws in the discourse of his essay.

      • 0

        Ken Robert
        Thank you for your appreciation.
        If you wish to learn a little bit about discourse patterns, try the link below. It is a teaching sheet which is rather over simplified and a bit caricature-like, but OK as a starting point. I think you will see that Rajan’s discourse pattern in is his contributions to CT does not fall neatly into any of the patterns described in the sheet. That is why I said it is peculiar.


        • 0

          Mr Joseph Pillai
          Thank you

      • 2

        ken robert

        Have you abandoned the attention seeking little child?

  • 0

    This is why I say that West, south and Uva is no guarantee that MR will loose.Ranil through lack of seriousness will ensure MRs success.

  • 1

    Rajan Phillips,

    Get the above narration from Anpu framed and hung on the wall of your bedroom and reading it thrice a day try to dispel your “blue-ills” blindness.

  • 1

    Ranil may not be appreciated as an able politician in SL but he is one of the few SL politicians who can speak on an International platform. Then there is the question of building bridges with the West which the current regime has burnt. SL needs a better foreign policy without depending on China all the time if the country is to proper. If the party needs its President for everything, what is the point in having a Deputy & a General Council, particularly in this age of communications where physical presence is not always necessary?

  • 0

    CBK trying to recapture SLFP leadership for Vimukthi. If Mahinda loose presidency Namal,s dream to become president is over. So Mahinda will slowly replace Bandaranayake loyalist from central commitiee and fill with Rajapaksa loyalist. Then even you loose power Rajapaksa family can keep SLFP leadership. Most of the senior SLFP ministers know that they will not get nomination to contest next parliamentary election if Mahinda win the presidential election. Mahinda will give nomination to new faces who are loyal to him to contest general election. Most SLFP seniors know about this and these people will cross over to UNP once presidential election announces. Next time UPFA will loose minimum 20 parliamentary seats. So current UPFA MPS even contest from UPFA will lose minimum 20 MPS. These MPS will crossover to UNP specially MPS who left the UNP earlier because they have a better chance to elect from UNP list. Will see the cross over dram in near future and how will it affect the votes shift.

  • 0

    “Ms Jayalalitha in Prappana Agahara Prison” also should have been added to Rajan Phillips Headline…

    Ms Jayalitha was hailed by the TNA and its Vellala CM and the Parliamentary leader as the saviour of the Tamil Nation and the future founder of Tamil Eelaam in Srilanka.

    Ms Jayalaitha issued many fatwas threatening the SL Govt.

    In fact few of our think tanks here demanded that Ms Jayalitha’s fatwas must be heeded as she is the number one supporter of the new PM of India,

    And warned that ignoring Jayalalitha is highly injurious to our health and very existence.bout

    Vellala Rulers in the North in fact had a special meet with Ms Jayalitha at their recent visit to see Indian PM.

    TNA was influenced so much by Ms Jayalaitha that the Fisher Dalits in the North and the South who make a living catching fish in the newly liberated parts of the SL coast were totally ignored by the Velala CM and his handlers.

    And not a word was said ahow bad it is to deprive the Dalits of their income by the Kerala Mafia purporting to be Naduans, and cleaning up our Fish stocks, lock stock and barrel by bottom trawling.

    Wonder whether the new ally of the Vellalas , ex Prez Ms Chandrika will speak on behalf of the Dalit fishermen of the North , now that Ms Jayalitha has departed.

    I mean we can’t expect the Vellalas in the TNA to eat humble pie and pretend to help the Dalit Fishers…

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.