In the midst of rising public support for former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the SLPP’s Presidential candidate especially from sections of floating voter has attracted a few ‘clandestine’ flirtings by senior members of SLFP and UNP too. The former defence secretary has received the green light from big brother Mahinda Rajapaksa officially. He successfully renounced his US citizenship in order to contest the election. The politically astute MR sanctioned Gota’s candidacy a few months ago but differed the announcement, perhaps until he settled the grey areas in his relations with President Maithripala Sirisena.
Latest episode in the ‘Dawal Migel Re Daniel’ series was played over the weekend in Mirihana when UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim, who switched loyalty to Sajith [defied his leader two weeks ago and took oaths as a Minister] barged in to the residence of Gota to ‘pay a visit to the convalescing’ friend and inquire after his health. The sudden appearance of Ranil loyalist and minister Sagala Ratnayake at Gota’s home, came as a bolt from the blue. A colleague commented, if not for the chance meeting, the covert creeping by both wouldn’t have ever surfaced.
The fearless State Minister Niroshan Perera quoted the contemptuous axiom ‘Dawal Migel Re Daniel’ to express his resentment over the matter reminding the writer of a witty rejoinder by Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake in 1960s. On one occasion, SLFP stalwart Maithripala Senanayake MP for Medawachchiya, who was married to the well known journalist Ranji Handy, a Tamil lady, kept making disturbing comments over the government’s policy of granting concessions for ‘reasonable use of Tamil’ in administration. Dudley, the witty man shot back “Sir, my good friend, the Member for Medawachchiya observes ‘Sinhala Only’ by day, and the ‘Reasonable use of Tamil by night,” making the house rock with laughter.
"Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has received the green light from big brother Mahinda Rajapaksa officially. He successfully renounced his US citizenship in order to contest the election. The politically astute MR sanctioned Gota’s candidacy, a few months ago"
What really transpired at Gota’s Mirihana residence a week ago, as ‘heard it through the grapevine’ reminds the writer a tale in the anecdotal biography of Arhant Kassapa Thera’s lay life [Prince Pipphali], which he wishes to share with the readers….
‘Prince Pipphali disliked the company of ladies; parent’s pressure compelled him to agree to a proposal to one Badhra Kapilani, a young lady who was supposed to wed the Prince in a few days. The prince prepared a message to be sent to the girl saying that he is not a person hoping to lead a married life, and dispatched it through a trusted man. The girl herself was immune to married life; she too hired a trusted messenger to carry a similar note to the boy at the same time. As a matter of destiny, [like in the case of Mirihana tragedy] both these messengers met in a guest house in between the two cities. They shared a drink and opened the letters and decided not to go ahead with the delivery orders that certainly would leadthe wedding ceremony to a naught, causing a loss of revenue to them!
It is understood that both the leader and deputy intend coming forward as party’s candidates. In this backdrop, was the chance meeting of two Cabinet Ministers at Gota’s, a result of each of the two feuding leaders conveying a note of their surreptitious support to the contender in the event of their failure to obtain nomination to contest. CBK was alleged to have secretly helped Ranil against her nominee MR at 2005 Presidential stakes.
Situation in November 2005 and Gota’s role
Sri Lanka Military conquered the most brutal terrorist organisation in the world. The military was given the proper guidance and support, a strategy was developed. All Forces worked as a team under Defence Secretary Gotabaya. His strategic planning and leadership was helpful in this victory. He stood by those who fought and appreciated their bravery.
‘Military analysts’ of the day believed that it was impossible to defeat the LTTE militarily. The political leaders depended on weekly defence reviews in media, which portrayed the LTTE as an imperishable force. Because for 30 years it could not be achieved militarily, the foreign countries too thought that it was not possible to destroy the LTTE. Three Executive Presidents and Governments from 1982 tried both the military way as well as negotiations. They were thinking that we should settle by giving anything that the LTTE wanted in order to stop the destruction of life and property. The mindset that it was indestructible needed a change to encourage and to give confidence to the Forces. There were orders to conduct coordinating talks between the LTTE and the military heads on how to abide by the terms of CFA.
Eliya, Hari Maga and Viyath Maga
The website of Viyathmaga illustrates the movement saying- -”The Professionals for a Better Future is a network of Academics, Professionals, and Entrepreneurs who love the country and wish to contribute actively towards the development of a prosperous Sri Lanka where all citizens can live in peace and harmony. VIYATHMAGA is not a political organisation.
It is a civil society movement, wishing to contribute towards the betterment of the country”.
Is it the same Gota or has he changed? Viyath Maga Convention under the theme ‘An Intellectually Inspired Sri Lanka’ was an introductory propaganda assembly launched to enhance the image of Gotabhaya. He assembled a team of intellectually renowned, expatriates and locals to conduct lectures at these seminars.
He must learn that the Rulers must have a secular outlook and approach in a multi-cultural nation; that having emotional, religious terms in the Constitution to satisfy the majority, is in conflict with the declared theme. Intellectual encouragement can flow, only from secular outlook. We have to change the mindset of people, from their ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ thinking to secularist, thinking, based on rational Inspiration. Gota remained detached and non-committal during the 52-day constitutional coup. He refused to accept the Defence Secretary post and most of Gota’s non parliamentary supporters were also evident by their stoic silence during the crisis. Gota has been meeting with individuals and groups in different parts of the island with special focus on youth.
Support group within Parliamentarians, provincial and local government representatives came forward too. With a wide support base within SLPP, certain SLFP factions and even among a few yet undisclosed UNPers.
‘Hide and Seek’ at Tennakumbura
Remember we reviewed the Tennakumbura performance which was highlighted in these columns a few months ago? For the benefit of readers who missed, we reproduce a summary of the relevant paragraph.
“….the chance meeting of country’s number one and two at a controversial minister’s Kandy residence one and a half months ago. As per reports President makes a surprise visit to Minister Samarawickreme at Tennekumbura.When President reached the exquisite house on a scenic landscape, Ranil Wickremesinghe was already there. Both Minister Samarawickrema and the Prime Minister declared they were pleasantly surprised to see the President. A Coincidence and surprise that beat Kolywood, Bollywood and Hollywood of yesteryear but a latest cheap Mega Tele-drama.They say the 2014 common candidate had only exchanged pleasantries over tea sans politics before politely turning down to sit at lunch.
It was subsequently revealed that the drama was well orchestrated but failed attempt by an interested party to reconcile the two leaders. The ‘Hora-Police’ game will continue up to Oct/Nov nominations; no harm, as long as it does not get extended beyond Nov/December.
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