By Ranga Kalansooriya –
It was from zero to hero final January – within six months hero to zero – but again on Tuesday this week President Maithripala Sirisena attempted to revive his position back – from zero to hero. So far he has been successful but the SLFP’s tug of war is now in the courts.
This is politics in Sri Lanka. Never a dull moment – and full of surprises. In reality the whole landscape of modern politics in Sri Lanka was usually designed and destined by surprises. If we analyse at least past 25 years – assassination of President Premadasa, Gamini – Lalith assassinations, Chandrika’s emergence and her second term Presidency thanks to LTTE suicide bomb, Mahinda’s victory in 2005 thanks to LTTE’s boycott of northern votes, Maithri’s candidature and his victory, and also the developments thereafter for the past six months were ideal case studies for such political surprises.
These 3 cartoons appeared in media within final six weeks are excellent examples to the turn of events within a quick span of time. Cartoonists send a humorous but sturdy social message relates socio-political troubles or personalities and this is how Dasa Hapuwalana of Lankadeepa explained the current political developments of the nation, mostly with regard to the conduct of the President. But the cat is out of the bag now and we see a heavy internal battle within SLFP, the principal constituent celebration of the UPFA right after the “ballistic missile attack” on Mahinda by Maithri.
He, for the duration of the significantly awaited speech, justified retaining SLFP and UPFA Chairmanship beneath tremendous pressure even though attempting to clarify how it was important in delivering the one hundred-day promises in a battle by means of Parliament. President’s repeated claims about a Prime Minister of 47 seats in a 225 member Parliament was a signal that he himself had to manage Parliament battles single-handed, even to the extent of protected guarding the minority government against no-confident motions. Also he exposed clandestine plans to bring Rajapaksa back as Prime Minister following the no-confident motion against Wickremesinghe.
This speech spelt out the reasons for his silence and clarified his stand, considerably to the relief of Yahapalana supporters. But against several odds, he in no way stated that he was cornered and pushed to the wall by his own two common secretaries – Anura Yapa and Susil Premajayath, the most strong duo of his camp primarily during an election period. Also he by no means explained how Rajapaksa camp got strengthened day by day – against all his attempts to thwart their plans and retain his grip inside the celebration.
Rajapaksa who assured his political retirement on January eight night at a closed door meeting with Ranil Wickremesinghe and requested his and his family members security (as we study in media), very first created his appearance via a window frame in Medamulana within 48 hrs of his defeat. And then he went up to his roof-best with a megaphone to address a crowd in front of his house two days later, followed by day-to-day temple visits cum politico-religious rallies, established an electoral workplace in Abhayaramaya, Narahenpita and then established a sturdy wing inside the Darley Road SLFP headquarters. His buddies began rallies from Nugegoda without having him on stage but at the last 1 in Matara he did not get into the political stage but got on a parapet wall to watch the rally. Maithri was watching the expansion of Rajapaksa camp – not day by day but on hourly basis – and responding to each single action of Rajapaksa in an try to retain his grip inside the SLFP and UPFA, but he continued to fail. Maithri was a solitary fighter in that game.
Against all gossips of a newly emerging Mahinda – Maithri coalition, the President categorically claimed that his hostility towards Rajapaksa nevertheless remains intact and he was still against grating nominations to his predecessor. As explained via his own words Maithree had three options. Very first was to resign from his party leadership – but it will let Rajapaksa to comfortably replace him as party leader and run for polls at a point of strength. Hence, he did not want it to come about. The second selection was to deny his nominations – and the Rajapaksa camp was ready with a robust strategy B along with prepared nomination lists, party symbols and manifestos exactly where once again he would emerge from a position of strength. The third was to give Rajapaksa and his cronies with nominations against all his wishes. One particular comment that appeared on social media after Maithri’s Tuesday speech was “Maithree pumped air into the balloon of Rajapaksa, let it go up and shot at it with a sharp bullet.”
Maithri’s decision to accept SLFP/UPFA leadership was broadly criticized but his explanations could be justifiable – mostly to gain Parliamentary support for the implementation of his election pledges. But he failed to retain his grip as the party leader. Why? What was the mistake? To my thoughts he made a fundamental error in retaining the exact same office bearers who served below Rajapaksa regime, who back-stabbed him throughout the nomination battle. Anura Yapa was a strong confidante of Rajapaksa who was appointed to numerous accountable positions by the latter in order to safeguard the political interests of the regime. Remember the Parliamentary Pick Committee to oust the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake that conducted a speedy approach inside a few weeks below Yapa’s Chairmanship? Thereafter Yapa was ‘gifted’ with a effective ministerial portfolio. Who was the quick decision of Rajapaksa as the party basic secretary when Maithri defected him at a essential presidential elections? Hence, how can 1 count on Yapa to alter his loyalty towards Maithri against Mahinda? A couple of changes in the party central committee did not bring him desired final results. Each Susil and Yapa played a vital function against their party leader to favor Rajapaksa.
On the other hand, Maithri claimed that all his attempts have been to steer clear of a split inside the SLFP. As Gamini Viyangoda, the convenor of the Purawesi Balaya explained Maithri place his celebration just before the country. But be that as it might, I am puzzled no matter whether Maithri – with his 49-year knowledge in politics – did not fore see the truth that a split within the SLFP rank was imminent what ever decision he would make out of the above mentioned 3 choices. He opted for the final selection – provide nomination to Rajapaksa and then stab him in the back. 1 could very easily argue that, the last selection would destroy all the plans of Rajapaksa and make him but nothing at all at the common elections – as other two choices would make him a strong candidate. But now it is clear that Maithri is not with Rajapaksa camp, Mahinda will not be appointed Prime Minister even he manage to secure majority seats, or even the opposition leader post. The final point that Mahinda can expect is to turn into is a Member of Parliament for Kurunegala District.
Who has carried out et tu brute now?