The millions who support the UNP do so in recognition of the values the party stands for and its proud historical achievements
In the wake of the constitutional crisis following the sudden, wrongful and unceremonious sacking of the Prime Minister and what flowed thereafter, the question posed by many is; has the UNP lost the plot again? Regardless of the answer to that question, the one question that is repeatedly asked by UNP voters is: Need the UNP be in this sorry position?
After all, going by the party members with talent among the UNP it is easily the best equipped local political grouping to lead Sri Lanka. When the major opposition to the UNP is embroiled in discussions and arguments looking for a leader from and within one family, the UNP is oozing with untapped young talent in the form of Sajith Premadasa, Harsha De Silva, Harin Fernando,Navin Dissanyake, Eran Wickramaratne, Ruwan Wijewardene,Buddhika Pathirana, Ajith Perera, Marikkar from Kolonnawa, Mujibur Rahaman, Kavinda jayawardene, Harshana Rajakaruna and Ananda Kumarasiri among many others. None can disagree that no other political party in Sri Lanka ( Not the greatest comparison one may say) has such an array of talent. Regrettably, the ‘truth’ in the perception of the average citizen is that this talent, notwithstanding high sounding designations given to a few persons within the party, is suppressed when it comes to strategic planning of the Party at the highest levels. Instead, a coterie of people, some with little or no common touch, rule the roost and attunes the party out of step with the national mood. Bill Clinton says in his memoirs; one cannot restrain the “source of your power”. How can any politician worth his salt, forget that the source of power in a democracy is the average Voter and it is they who set the mood of a Nation?
"The younger leaders of the Party owe this to the millions who YET place faith in the party. It is not for the writer or political commentators to suggest as to who should now lead the party"
Can’t be blind to reality
As stated by the writer in a “wake up call” article in the aftermath of the February 2018 Local Polls: “The UNP and its allies cannot be blind to the fact that its’ share of the national vote declined to 32%. It was just 2 ½ years earlier that the UNP with its allies polled 45.6% of the vote at the General Election”. Eight months on, it appears however that the party hierarchy continues to remain blind to stark naked reality.
The UNP having earned for itself the sobriquet of “The Grand Old Party” has under charismatic leaders built for itself the reputation of being a political force that can be relied on for consolidating Democracy, Liberal Values, Social and Economic Freedom and moreover, National Unity”
The millions who support the UNP do so in recognition of the values the party stands for and its proud historical achievements.A force of this nature is an imperative for the functioning of a healthy democracy. If not, millions of Sri Lankans may well be deprived of a voice that has hitherto fought and warded off despotic regimes, stood for liberal thinking, Social and Economic freedom, at the worst of times
These millions comprise, but 0.5% or even less of the so called “social elite”. The large numbers are among the middle classes, ordinary rural and urban folk; Farmers, Factory Workers and the self- employed. The entire latter group now feels let down by the party. It is however still not too late to salvage the UNP for the sake of the millions that continue to look towards it for leadership. Perhaps, there can be no better time than this unfortunate constitutional crisis for the UNP to regain its rightful place as the “GOP”; in keeping with the vision of its founders.
This necessarily calls for radical change in the strategic thinking of the party. The young talent in the party must rise to this challenge. Say Thank You to the Old Brigade and take charge of the battles ahead. You cannot wait to be served as that may never happen.
The younger leaders of the Party owe this to the millions who YET place faith in the party.
It is not for the writer or political commentators to suggest as to who should now lead the party. Ask the ordinary men and women of Sri Lanka as to who it should be and the clear answer would lie there. In the name of Sri Lanka and her people, the average men and women desperately appeal to all who matter in the UNP; Get your act together NOW and move on, or be doomed. If doomed, the current leadership of the party will be cursed by generations to come.