THE KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR WHO COMES ON THE WHITE HORSE
It is no secret that the Rajapakse (there are no other words to describe the present rule) Government was “coca hoop” when the candidature of Sajith Premadasa was announced to pit against Gotabaya Rakapakse, as the result immediately became a foregone conclusion, on the day of the announcement itself.
It is therefore mischievous for some of the sore losers to blame the defeat on Ranil Wickremesinghe, who neither helped nor hindered, and worse, the announcement that SP would drop RW if he won, lost him even more votes, among the die-hard RW fans, than he might have. I predicted at the time upon announcement that he would lose by 1M votes, but the rest is due to his own narcissist personality disorder, that was painfully obvious and cringe worthy at the campaign trail.
Needless to say Sajith Premadasa should have simply resigned, and left the country for an extended sabbatical, just to save his own mental state, that must have got a shock, from which he has obviously not yet recovered, and unlikely to do so in time to revive the UNP to face the General Elections in May of 2020.
Suffice to say, he has done the opposite, sulked, was absent for too long, and is now seen arriving at constituencies of his ardent supporting MPs to meet and greet, too late and frankly, not in a fit state to infuse the faithful with the needed morale boost at this time. The sooner he is ditched and forgotten, as one who lost too badly to find any solace in an improbably comeback, the better, for the fortunes of the UNP at the impending General Elections.
So what next? Well, the only challenger to SP was Patalie Champika Ranawaka, an engineering graduate I believe from Moratuwa University, by training, and much admired by not just the intellectuals, but also by the Buddhist Clergy, as he has emerged as a rising star coming from the Hela Urumaya, which he ditched to hang his hat with the UNP.
The easiest way to promote him is to arrest him on trumped up charges, which is exactly what the Rajapakses just did. They know a stint in jail, albeit even one night is sufficient to increase his brand among the party faithful, and if one looks at social media within minutes of his arrest, there was simply no doubt about that.
He is probably grinning to himself at the midnight grace of luck that was bestowed a few hours ago. So if SP falls flat on his own sword, it is Ranawake’s to wrest and raise the flag. The Rajapakses want him as the opposition front man leading the election, as he is considered to be beatable as there is a large dossier of dirt on him, primarily relating to his private life of the past, and this will no doubt be brought up at the appropriate time to destroy any chance he has of taking up the baton from SP. He is not a squeaky clean politician as most people think he is, and it is clear that those with skeletons are whom the Rajapakses want to have as the opposition candidates to challenge him. They can destroy them.
I just hope the UNP don’t fall for this oldest trick in the book, played by so many players that history buffs like Ranil Wickremesinghe only know too well. He is watching this tragicomedy unfold, and thinking to himself, what now! what next!
As we all know, RW would have preferred to have the OLD Karu Jayasuriya contest the Presidential Election, as the margin of defeat would not have been as great as it was. However the young turks of the party like Marikkar, Wickremeratne, Ajith Perera, Harin Fernando, Ajith Mannapperuma, Harshana Rajakaruna and Harsha de Silva would not hear of it!
Now the Rajapakses completely emboldened by the massive victory are, as history has also shown, are making mistake after mistake, due to that tragic flaw called over confidence and swollen brain syndrome!
There is sufficient grounds to show even the die-hard Rajapakse fan, that the mis steps are mindboggling, considering the General Election is only a few months away and instead of trying to consolidate power to ensure a two thirds majority in parliament, are on the verge of giving the game away if the opposition is able to run a campaign of honesty and keep on message/point, to what the people need.
It is no secret that the Die Hards voted in the Rajapakses due to the fear of the country being sold out to Tamils and Muslims, the traditional fear of Sinhala Buddhists egged on by a reactionary Clergy, who want to safeguard their privileged position, increasingly under threat by a globalized electorate of educated youth who know that religion does not matter, and only opportunity to leverage their ability and knowledge to better themselves is all that matters in life.
While this motivated many to vote for them, it has not taken a month to blow this canard asunder, when the price of basic commodities have skyrocketed within weeks after the election. The immediately implemented tax cuts have not helped the pockets of the electorate, as few if any products have had price reductions, with many businesses keeping the benefits to themselves, due to crony capitalist monopolies they run. This means that the shift is going to be a reduction of government revenue, but an increase in the crony capitalist share of that reduction, with perhaps less than half being passed down to the public at large.
Come May, in time for the election, if there was a proper campaign by the opposition to show that the people have been lied to, the UNP have a chance of leading a coalition back into power, under a GR Presidency, however unlikely that may seem right now. It is perfectly do able if there is a winning strategy.
The fact that the Opposition is so divided, and not under the able management of a good leader, is the only factor preventing them from winning this election. The rate of Rajapakse missteps is increasing daily, and the next step is likely to be the Parliament not being recalled, till after the elections in May. If that happens it will be simply dictatorial rule by the Head of State. This is going to affect the existing cabal of supporters increasingly feeling isolated and without any control or influence in being able to help their constituents who voted for them. Already steps (quite rightly so) have been put in place to have capable people run organizations and fill vacancies, shutting them off to party supporters who may have hoped for some crumbs to fall their way.
All in all, the time is ripe to be a member of the opposition and, to FIND a good, honest leader to back, one who does not have delusions of Grandeur like Premadasa or Ranawake, and can take the Country, NOT THE PARTY forward. Being a party animal has always been why Sri Lanka is a failed state, and GR has tried to extricate himself from that Moniker, but cannot do so due to the way the brothers play their game. It is the moment for the UNP to find a national leader.
One with charisma, selfless leadership, speaking on point and not by character assassination, who can win the premiership, and this person can be someone no one knows just yet, but can be the catalyst for change the country really needs.
I know more than anyone RW is looking for that person, who ideally would be young, but could also be a woman, who can inspire confidence in anyone they come across, by presence even before he or she opens his mouth.
So please don’t fall for the Rajapakse trap, of putting either SP or CR into the fray, but instead put someone who can challenge the status quo and triumph as the new kid on the block, much in the same way that GR won the Presidency not being tainted by politics.
Don’t we ever learn? The one lesson we should have taken from the GR victory is that public don’t care for career politicians, and instead want someone who they can believe in to carry out promises. GR has already proved to carry out half of his promises and the other half have been mere figments meant to fool.
I know the stars are lining for an even bigger revolution in SL politics in May 2020, but no one has been able to see through the chaff to be clear on this likelihood. The only missing piece of the chess board is the most important one, namely the KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR who comes on the white horse!