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Ranil factor in the UNP

24 December 2020 02:49 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Ranil Wickremesinghe must make sure that the UNP grows as a family and leave one day with the assurance that the next generation of politicians can keep the green flag flying (Pic AFP) 

 

A weekend Sinhala  newspaper  had published last week in its political column that Wickremesinghe had said that Premadasa was not doing anything substantial being in the opposition

Wickremesinghe talks sense when his subject is dealing with America

 

The United National Party might be blessed with those having brain capacity, but it certainly lacks luck to prosper. 

 

Luck is something associated with other political parties; and past election results vouch for this. 


We have had sympathy votes producing a winner and an instance when a total boycott of voting in one province made an underdog the victor at past presidential elections. Sadly UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe doesn’t have luck or doesn’t believe in luck. He places his bets on his brains and wishes a not so educated majority of citizens of this country to vote for his party.  


There were stories that Wickremesinghe would give up on politics after his party suffered massive losses at the last Parliamentary Elections where the Green Party got just one seat via the national list. Even that slot hasn’t been filled. 


But when listening to the rounds doing the talking in the political scene we gather that the battered and bruised ‘Green Party’ wants this seasoned politician to hang around and guide them. 


No doubt Wickremesinghe is feared by his opponents because the UNP Leader is termed a thinking man. Former party stalwart the late JR Jayawardene and Wickremesinghe are one of a kind. They are shrewd and cunning and know the art of trapping their detractors; even if they are within the party itself. 


At present Wickremesinghe is trying to revamp the party, but he also has an eye on what renegate politician Sajith Premadasa is doing. A weekend Sinhala newspaper had published last week in its political column that Wickremesinghe had said that Premadasa was not doing anything substantial being in the opposition. 

Despite the criticism leveled against UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe the seasoned politician is still the best bet to steady the ‘Green Party’ which is making its journey in the rough seas of politics (Picture REUTERS) 


But if these two politicians must learn something it is to play to the gallery; which is so important in politics. There are reports (quoting opposition sources) that the government is promoting the recent native concoction made by a local to combat COVID-19 because it doesn’t have the finances to import the much acclaimed vaccination approved by world health authorities to strengthen the immunity of citizens. The state media machine however states that the vaccines are on the way. In a situation like this Wickremesinghe is quoted rubbishing the native syrup made in Sri Lanka and placing his bets on Western medicine instead. When the entire government sees an escape route during a financial crisis Wickremesinghe fails to see the same; largely because he wishes to continue engaging in coat and tie politics. After all the Western drug doesn’t promise total protection against the virus while the native doctor vouches that his product offers a lifetime safety against the pandemic after a few dosages.   


Wickremesinghe will be around in UNP politics for sometime and what’s interesting is that the opposition values him more than his own party men. Some analysts rate Patali Champika Ranawaka as someone to fear in the opposition, but Wickremesinghe is too good when he doesn’t have power. A Wickremesinghe without power has always proved to be good for Sri Lanka. 


We remember how past governments negotiated with the MCC, starting as early as 2001. But it was the Wickremesinghe led Yahapalana regime that took the brunt of the criticism leveled against the Governments of Sri Lanka (GoSL) by its people for negotiating with the MCC. This is because critics point out that the agreement between the GoSL and the MCC would have undermined national security. The Wickremesinghe led Yahapalana regime was blamed for undermining national security. And when we study what lawmakers of the past regime have had to say in response to how they handled responsibility regarding the Easter Bomb blasts lawmakers like Wickremesinghe have always been in difficult positions. 


Wickremesinghe talks sense when his subject is dealing with America. He knows his Yahapalana regime did much negotiating and the papers were almost ready for the GoSL and the MCC to enter into a deal. But before that Sri Lanka had asked for time twice before documents could be signed and this time was granted. But after the regime was toppled at the 2019 election Sri Lanka asked for time for the third time before signing the deal. This time around Sri Lanka had progressed from a Low and Lower Income Country to an Upper Middle-Income Country and as a result faces the risk of not qualifying to receive foreign aid worth US $ 480 million; amounting to rupees billion 89. However the talk promoted in the government circles is that the regime didn’t sign the MCC deal because it is not healthy for Sri Lanka. Wickremesinghe might workout on his calculator how such monies could have been used to address inadequate transport logistics infrastructure and planning as specified in the deal; and even have a good laugh as he is now powerless and in the opposition. But the majority of the people in Sri Lanka believe what lesser experts in the government would say about the MCC deal that would have been signed. The issue with Wickremesinghe is that he is too serious as a politician who has to fish for votes in a third world Asian country like Sri Lanka where poverty and un-education best describe the average voter.  


The big man of the ‘Green Party’ is reported to have asked Dr. Rajitha Senarathne whether the UNP and the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) can work together when the two had met at a wedding reception. Senarathne had answered in the affirmative. But Wickremesinghe at a UNP members meeting held two Tuesdays ago had spelled out future plans among which was to expedite taking disciplinary actions against the renegade party members who joined the SJB and those who supported this breakaway group at the Parliamentary Elections. Critics point out that Wickremesinghe is quick to maintain discipline within the party, but did little to maintain the same discipline when governing the country while heading the Yahapalana regime.  


Wickremesinghe learned a lesson in 2015 when he supported a common candidate at the presidential election. There is a saying that nothing done while being on a partnership would last in Sri Lankan politics. Wickremesinghe must make sure that the UNP grows as a family and leave one day with the assurance that its ‘own children’ would keep the green flag flying.

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