18 May, 2022


What Is Karu?

By Rasika Jayakody

Rasika Jayakody

Many believe that Karu Jayasuriya is an umbrella under which many factions of the United National Party can work together with the aim of forming a government within the next two years. It is true that Jayasuriya is appealing to the Sinhala-Buddhist elements which have become the decisive factor as far as election results are concerned, especially in the post-2005 Sri Lanka.

He is a man of a clean track record, whose name remains unstained with bribery and corruption allegations, or any other charge that are often wedded to the names of politicians in this day and age. It is clear that he is a politician who has a sound knowledge of every aspect of his business and someone who possesses a pluralistic mindset towards media and other establishments that are essential to maintain a healthy democracy in a country.

Moreover, he is a fatherly figure who is capable of being a guiding star to many of the rising leaders of the party who will have to take over the baton in the future. All these are plus points that stand in favor of Karu Jayasuriya who has now been propelled into the supreme council of the party in the aftermath of a shameful election defeat.


It is equally important to weigh his negative points against the pluses in a manner that would allow a fair analysis of the Karu factor. The biggest negative point that looms large over Karu is his fallibility that plunged him into various troubles throughout his political career. It is no secret that Karu was outfoxed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the former’s cross over to the government in 2007. The time Karu spent under the UPFA umbrella was a very unhappy one and he was never given a chance to rise to prominence as a senior member of the government. Finally, he managed to cross the aisle of Parliament again following an unpleasant verbal exchange with the President over some appointments he made as the Minister of Public Administration. Although he was reinstated as the Deputy Leader of the party, the crossover was a major setback for him, particularly in the eyes of traditional UNPers.

Jayasuriya was hoodwinked again by Sajith Premadasa and his allies in 2011, when the so called reformists of the party fielded the former as the leadership candidate against Ranil Wickremesinghe at the UNP internal election. It was, from the very outset, a conspiracy against Jayasuriya by Sajith and his loyalists, but the septuagenarian happily jumped into the trap, without giving way to any second thought. Premadasa’s intention, at that point, was to get rid of Jayasuriya who stood in his way to the party leadership.


Following a landslide defeat at the leadership election, Jayasuriya was disowned by Premadasa and his associates, and the only option left for him was to become a mere backbencher of the parliamentary group of the United National Party. He was never invited for any of the crucial meetings of the party and was never given a chance to address journalists as a party representative. All in all, it is axiomatic that Machiavellian politics is not Karu Jayasuriya’s cup of tea!

One cannot come to the conclusion that inability to thrive on Machiavellian politics will disqualify Jayasuriya from rising to power. It is true that he is someone who is capable of forming a broad opposition alliance that is capable of posing a strong challenge to the Rajapaksa regime. But, it also important to look into the fact that whether Jayasuriya can manage various elements that will come under the umbrella of his political coalition.

For instance, in 1956, S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike ascended to power with the support of broad political coalition that included leftists, rightists, moderates and populists. But, three years later, his government ran into a serious crisis due to Bandaranaike’s inability to effectively manage various elements within his rampart. If the UNP is to form an opposition coalition with Jayasuriya at the helm, the aforesaid factor should be taken into serious consideration. What he has to understand is that it doesn’t matter how deep the ocean is; but it is the motion of the ocean that can always make the difference.


Whenever the UNP is in serious trouble, Karu Jayasuriya’s name comes into the limelight as the person who can cure the malady. But so far, he has not got a real chance to treat the patient from close quarters. Although he has a strong support from various sections due to his clean reputation and unmarred track record, his leadership abilities have not been tested at the national level. But his vast experience in various aspects of national level politics stands in favor of him as far as the leadership of the party is concerned.

Karu Jayasuriya, as explained by some, does not have a magic wand with which he can bring the party back to power in an overnight operation. He has to work hard with a strong team and walk a very tight rope between both Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa who are waiting eagerly to edge him out at the very first opportunity. Nevertheless, of the top trio of the UNP, Jayasuriya, in my view, is the last person the Rajapaksas want to see at the helm of the main opposition party.

*Rasika Jayakody is a Sri Lankan journalist who may be contacted at rasikajayakody2@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 1

    What is Karu? Karu is the loser who left with a hundred men including his son-in-law and returned home alone.

    • 0

      Agree with Rasika that Karu is the ONLY person of stature capable of pulling the UNP back from the abyss at this time!
      The Shameless LOOSER Ranil Wickramasinghe (who is a far BIGGER looser that Karu by the way) and the LIAR and Moron Sajith Premadasa, who is a BRAINLESS Sinhala nationalist are TOTALLY UNFIT to lead the UNP so even by default Karu stands out as the Best of a BAD LOT!

      But as Rasika points out Karu has much going for him such as his HONESTY, PRINCIPLES and CLEAN reputation which is more than can be said of Ranil or Sajith. Also, Karu has a PLURALISTIC SInhala approach..

  • 0

    While accepting the relative merits of Karu, when considering the need of pluralistic, inclusive political framework to Sri Lanka, it is unclear the level of maturity of Karu and I am afraid both Karu and Sajist too going to be just another typical leader.

    It is also worth to note that some time ago Karu proposed executive prime minister on top of Executive President.

    It is in the hands of Karu and Sajith to show to the public, how democratic the future UNP will be that the prevailing autocratic leadership style.

  • 0

    The writers next article is, ‘WHAT IS RASIKA?’

    • 0

      I think it will be WHAT IS GREASE YAKKA ?

    • 0


      Unfortunately your mediocre english knowledge is not sufficient for you to get the gist of this article.

  • 0

    At the moment, Karu seems to be the savior of the UNP. However, it remains to be seen whether UNPers will be willing to forgive and forget Karu’s lapses of the past.

  • 0

    What is Karu?A good question!Let me see what i know of Karu(may be very little).But still hope that our readers will benefit from my comments. Didn’t have to work hard to get in to politics.First he was lucky to be a political appointee as the SL ambassador to Germany.Then becomes the mayor of Colombo due to some superb piece of publicity.The slogan was “Karu awoth payayi hiru”.Was also the leader of the opposition of the WPC.Then he was made the chairman of the UNP by Ranil.Was appointed district leader of Gampaha.Contested from Gampaha and obtained over 270000 preferential votes.Then was involved in a conspiracy to get rid of Ranil while the latter was away in Norway.Thanks to Anura who was the speaker at that time Ranil managed to survive.Hemakumara also played a role in trying to save Ranil.Crossed over to the UPFA with 17 UNP MPS.When the security forces were at the doorstep of Kilinochi,Karu leaves the government.Luckily for the country the rest of the UMP MPs decided do stay on.One can imagine what would have happened if the rest of the UNP MPs decided to follow Karu.In that case the government would have lost the majority and the LTTE would have survived.If that was the scene,the LTTE would have continued their killing spree and who knows even Ealam would have been a possibility.
    Contested 2010 elections from Gampaha and obtained just 50000 odd votes.Compare with the 270000 votes he obtained earlier!He even lost to Paba.Then was once again involved in a circus in trying to get rid of Ranil during the famous Srikotha incident.Ultimately those who supported Karu was left in no mans land.Result being the likes of Dayasiri leaving the UNP.Guess enough in commenting “What is Karu”.

  • 0

    What is UNP is the main issue.

    It is a brand which has been damaged beyond repair.

    Elitist and Anglican, Anti Buddhist, Anti Sinhala. ever willing to pander to the West,pro LTTE, pro Diaspora pro Separatist,Anti Development and waiting for the opportunity to please the West by giving separate homeland to the TNA.

    This is what the great majority of the population think of them and our inhabitants are right on the money.

    These perceptions have been reinforced by the current leader and his shadow cabinet, by unwise denigration of the valiant Tri Forces, threats to dob them in to Ms Pillai and Harper , Cameron duo,and constant threats to the inhabitants about what the White man will do if they don’t bend over.

    Handing out dad’s loot, supplemented by slush dosh from the West to poor villagers is more philanthropy than political leadership necessary to take this beautiful Island into the 21 Century as a serious player among the neighbours.

    If he and his cohorts get their hands on the treasury, mum and dad’s collection would look like small change.

    Karu Jayasuriya seems not sure whether he is Arthur or Martha.

    If he is serious , and if Rasika’s take on him is correct he should form a new party with like minded pollies if he can find any.

  • 0

    Rasika Jayakody, when are you going to write about WHO IS MR? or WHO IS GOTA? or WHO IS BASIL?
    Do the RajaPassas’ feel comfortable with you like they do with Rajpal AbeyKnickers and is that why you dont write about them? :-D

  • 0

    UNP has gone so bankrupt they have
    to depend on Karu – a man who is
    one among those who ruined the
    party. The writer obviously is
    blind to realities. Get someone
    to name ten persons who did the
    most damage to UNP. Karu would be
    on top. I am ashamed as a UNPer
    to see Ranil talking to Sajith
    and Karu.

    Didn’t these people stand on the
    other side of the road and throw
    stones at Siri Kotha? Are these
    people worth being leaders in the

    One great thing – most CT readers
    are discerning. They know what is
    going on. The writer obviously thinks
    people are mutts to believe Karu
    and no one else should be the UNP
    leader. That does not make him one,
    not even when he wears lily white.

    The best thing Karu can do is retire
    respectfully. He will never win Gampaha
    electorate again. I am no fan of RW but
    he will sure win Colombo District. Sajith
    is a pawn in the hands of the Maharajahs
    and Tiran Alles.

    This is the problem of the UNP. Ranil alone
    is NOT rpt NOT the scape goat. He is a damn
    fool for keeping quiet on most issues. He
    must speak out about these two satans who
    want power and position for their own reasons.

  • 0

    If Karu becomes UNP leader and then if he is bought over by MR?
    That happened once. Rasika where are you?

  • 0

    What is Karu.

    A vegetable without a taste like “Pathola”.

    SL was a country that had an easy passage with the Electricity Reform Bill as all CEB Engineering Unions accepted it. Parliament passed the bill which would have helped to determine whether the loss was in Generation , Transmission or Distribution etc.

    All that was needed was for Karu as Minister to sign the Gazette Notification . He could not take that decision and the Monster continues. Lost to Baba ( Ruwan ) and PABA and you think he is a leader.

    A Looser who will let down even his friends for his benefit. .

    • 0

      Quite correct.When Fonseka was in jail Karu used to visit him often.Then after Fonseka was released, Buddhist monks organized a rally to form a joint opposition.Even the day before the event Karu met the Mahanayake’s to obtain blessings.But in the morning of the event he made a U turn and avoided participating in the said rally.These guys tricked Fonseka in to contesting for the presidency and made a fool out of Fonseka.Does anyone believe that Karu is leadership quality?
      Then guys like Maithree Gunaratne,Shiral sticked their necks out to make Karu the leader of the UNP.Ultimately they were kicked out of the UNP.Not a word of protest from Karu.Then recently UNP supporters were beaten by the goons of Mangala.As usual Karu was silent.His policy is see no evil,speak no evil,hear no evil.A very selfish person,who is notorious for using others to realize his political ambitions.May be the likes of Rasika Jayakody has fallen for him.But not the people of Gampaha.Lost to Paba!Need to say more?There’s no doubt that he will loose his parliament seat in the next elections.

  • 0

    Of the present lot who are in the UNP,the only man one can think of to lead the UNP is Karu Jayasuriya. Sajith Premadasa is not a patch on his late father. Sajith speeches can be compared to that of as “the monkey praises its own tail”. So far Sajith has not achieved anything to boast about to be a leader even in a co-operative society. The only qualification to be the leader of the UNP he can boast of “is to be the son of Ranasinghe Premadasa”. He should first under-study under the tutelage of a clean leader like Karu before thinking of climbing the ladder of the UNP. He has enough time ahead of him. He is still less than 50 years of age. Ranil Wickremasinghe has already proved his inability and the unsuitability to be the leader of UNP in the journey to power. He is an intellect but is intellectually dishonest. Let us give Karu a chance and allow him to display his political acumen in making UNP a force to reckon with.

  • 0

    I agree with Siriwardena. It can
    happend again. He has no principles
    except the lust for power and
    position. That is why the man who
    was forgiven by RW contested to wrest
    the leadership from him. There are
    lot of people doing PR work for Karu
    Jay these days. One is the otherwise
    more sensible Dharisha Bastians. Now
    it is this Jayakody or victory flag.
    You are the kind of people who are
    doing more damage to the nation and
    the people by trying to foist your
    proven failures as top men to lead
    us. Even Range Bandara is better than
    Karu Jayasuriya for the UNP leaderhip.

  • 0

    Darkrub Silva things the UNP is a merry
    go round to give chances for everyone to
    ride. If his policy applies, the most
    suitable to be given a chance would be
    the peon at Siri Kotha. At least such
    a person has stayed and worked at Siri
    Kotha instead for MR and came back for
    deputy leadership. Now he wants to be
    leader. Little wonder the UNP is in this
    shitty mess!!

  • 0

    It took a father, a son, a grandson and a revolver to
    create mayhem and try to oust UNP leader Ranil

    It took Mangala Samaraweera, Chandrika Bandaranaike’s
    bosom budy, to come to his defence. It was Mangala who
    had cracked RW’s cast iron image as a Mr. Clean when he
    was Minister in CBK’s cabinet.

    When this is going on, some writers have got together to
    campaign for Karu Jayasuriya, who won the unchallenged
    title of Patholya in the UNP. The lines they prod, to say
    the least, are innovative and aimed to evoke subtle sympathy
    on man who has acknowledgely been a traitor to the party
    and the leadership. He is liked a little better know because
    RW hates Sajith, a glorious idiot who cannot think beyond his
    nose and is the voice of a group of disgruntled men.

    Are we to believe that there are no leaders at all in the
    grand old party? Are they so bankrupt? Why not have a free and
    fair vote and see whether a young leader with a vision, strategy
    and foresight could be found? Or are there no such persons?

    What is the guarantee that Karu J will not turn traitor again. Like
    this Mr. Silva says, he should be given a chance. This is not
    a game of ‘asking/hitting’ where the players, out of sympathy,
    allow the loser a chance. There is much much more. We are talking
    of a Government in waiting.

    When Karu J was with MR, he drew all the benefits. Then he began
    back biting him. He came back to the UNP. He worked behind the
    leader’s back to topple him. First he joined hands with Sajith. Then
    when the going was not good, he distanced himself and has won
    favour with RW again. The latter has no choice but to tolerate him
    because of his animosity and treacherous conduct of Sajith. Like the
    camel, give KJ half a chance to put his head into the tent. He will get
    in and push the others out. He has shown no leadership. He has only
    shown slime and has remained an embodiment of a weak person with a
    heavily inflated ego.

  • 0

    Ever since that guy wrote about Ranil, these buggers think that putting articles about themselves will get them some recognition.

    It just shows how useless they are, can’t even think of a different way of doing something !

    At least find that guy and tell him to write, his stuff made better reading !

    • 0

      There always the prospect that a Moron such as yourself, might get worked up. Rasika was successful on that count at least.

  • 0

    What is Karu?

    There is only a simple answer – a ball of slime
    waiting to be fried. what else could he be? An
    elder statesman?

    • 0

      Quite correct.An elder statement loosing to Paba!

    • 0

      Kala Kanniya

      Your name says it all . Obviously you have’nt been taught to show some respect for people. One may not agree with Mr.Karu Jayasuriya’s politics , but he is a perfectly decent human being , and does not deserve your low comments.

      • 0

        Asoka take it easy.You say that i have not been taught to respect people.Ironically you call me as a Kala Kanniya!Bloody hell!Most probably you are one of those guys doing PR work(of course for money)to prop up Karu.Very funny,”an elder statesman loosing to Paba.Take it from me my friend,come the next general elections,Karu will be dumped in to the political dustbin.No sane UNP’r will vote for a Judas.

  • 0

    There is none so blind as those who refuse
    to see. What is low about saying KJ is a
    ball of slime waiting to be fried? Surely,
    there can be anything wrong except that your
    lowly mind makes you think otherwise because
    of the reference to ball.Grow up Asoka. We
    have heard this story ad lib of people being
    decent.They include the very ones who have
    been murderers and rapists. Don’t stoop so
    low to lay down standards.

  • 1

    I observed KJ at Mackies. He is knowledgeble in Work Study and problem solving.The footware field and the Koreans appreciate his ability to increse productivity. This field and garments use productivity tools to set methods and standard time each time an order changes. As Mayor of CMC and Chairmann UNP he proved that he could deliver results if given the authority. In the Gampha district he has shown his organisational ability. He never was afraid to stand up againts wrong. This at some instance caused him to fare badly. We need somebody like him to be chief organisor of the party.
    Ranil Wickremesinghe and UNP formed a pact to help the war effort. When talks failed Karu made the right decision to back MR. These contacts with elements in the UPFA will help the party to form a national government. His reputation is impeacheble.
    As minister of Power he understood the ned to balance Gas turbines and Diesel Engine power and hydro electric and steam power. He took into account of old power generation and solved the criosis by investing in gas tutbines.
    As Minister of public administration he has incresed productivity. The constrained tio fyrthe improve computerisation after system anylis and reducing and training staff in new skills is a draw back. Reducing staff with structural adjustment with a human face is essential. Productivity increase needs traing and retrenchment. Room to remove persernal who have being appointed without suitable skills and sacking the corrupt and people with gross negligeble is needed.

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