UNP in elephantine mess


The UNP has yet to decide on a candidate to be fielded at the next Presidential Election, now fixed for November 16th this year. While two parties – SLPP and JVP have already named their candidates and vigorous campaigning commenced, UNP is in a dog fight [Balu Pore] to select one; although Sajith Premadasa, Deputy President of UNP, has on his own carried out a massive popular and effective campaign so far. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the leader of UNP appears to support Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, while the majority of party members support Sajith Premadasa.

Looking back, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s leadership had been a failure as most of the present Opposition members were UNPers who crossed over in disgust due to UNP leadership. To name a few – Bandula Gunawardena, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Yapa Abeygunawardena. Going back further to UNP history, a similar situation arose when SWRD was denied being successor to Prime Minister D.S.Senanayake. He set Sir John Kotalawala against SWRD to appoint Dudley Senanayake, his son as successor. The result was SWRD crossed over and formed a separate party called the SLFP. Isn’t that what is to happen now, as the news goes that Sajith Premadasa is to form another party. This is a national calamity due to the stubbornness of Ranil Wickremesinghe, backed by old cronies such as Gamini Perera, John Ameratunga to nominate Karu Jayasuriya or Ranil Wickremesinghe himself to come forward.

The same situation arose when J.R.Jayewardene’s term of office ended. There was a tussle as to who should succeed – Athulathmudali or Gamini Dissanayaka, but Ranasinghe Premadasa had worked himself up to be popular with his Gamudawa and Mobile Offices programmes, and had the support of rural masses. Wise JRJ, knowing if Ranasinghe Premadasa is not nominated he would form another party and UNP will face doom, Premadasa was nominated and he won comfortably. Aren’t these the same tactics played by his son Sajith [Like father like son]? Ranil Wickremesinghe should take the same stand as JRJ, if the UNP is to survive.

The Sinhala Buddhists are now divided into three political parties UNP, SLFP and the breakaway party of SLFP, the SLPP headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa. With the ongoing debate in the UNP on whom to be nominated, and if the popular candidate Sajith Premadasa is not given the opportunity, there will be another split in Sinhala Buddhist votes, which will bring political instability in the country, giving rise to minority ethnic groups making demands detrimental to national unity.

Under these circumstances, what we need is a strong ruler who would steer this country to socio – economic development for prosperity and peace. Who could or should be that person? Is he yet to spring up from nowhere at the last moment? Let us cross our fingers and wait.



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