Mahinda is conducting a difficult battle for anti-devolution because he has already made a commitment both locally and internationally to implement the 13th Amendment and to go even beyond it while also giving an assurance to implement the LLRC recommendations.
However, such assurances given by the President would not give him much comfort as he also has to satisfy the demands of his chauvinist battalions who are so dear to him.
Often he identifies with the thinking of the chauvinists than with the populist ideology of the mainstream SLFP. This does not however generate the finances necessary to run the government and keep the so-called development programmes moving ahead.
Chauvinist mobilisations have won almost all the major political battles they unleashed since 2009. However, Mahinda faced a few problems lately. In the recent past, it was apparent. In his attempt to introduce a fraudulent private sector pension plan, he had to back off. It was a serious and significant exception. True, it took the united effort of the country’s private sector employees, mobilization of other sectors and one young life, to beat the Rajapaksa plan to buttress their tottering finances by robbing private sector workers.
Since this retreat, Mahinda has been working carefully always consulting loyal trade union leaders. But the Opposition has grown stronger and the regime weaker. Given the current class mobilization and the actual shifting of forces, defeating the administration does not look as difficult a task as it had been seen earlier.
Mahinda supporters would have been able to win the anti-devolution battle with ease, had the balance of forces not undergone a dramatic change, momentarily, due to the activation of class forces here and an external mobilisations made by Tamils. The latter was able to exert much pressure on India. In this scenario, Indians were outraged by the Mahinda regime’s latest attempt to disembowel the 13th Amendment.
Indian leaders had to ask themselves “Do Mahinda and Prof. GL think we in New Delhi are blithering idiots who can’t see through their hocus pocus”? Mahinda perfectly understands that all cannot be fooled all the time.
He came up as a centre-left leader working closely with the CP and the LSSP. He was very close to Vasu too. He is not prepared yet to completely abandon this political image he has built with a lot of patience and hard work. He does not want to relinquish his radical populist past.
" The widespread complaint is that the Opposition Leader has none of the abilities the President has got, so he is incapable of defeating Mahinda. But one can easily see that the problems faced by the government cannot be solved only by tactics. Mahinda is not doing do very well in the arena of strategy and programme. The country cannot survive only by tactical steps taken by its political leaders. Serious and far-reaching changes are essential to unite the country "
In my opinion, Mahinda is a maestro of evasion. His ability to slither out of a tight corner will put an eel to shame. His ability to make friends is unbeatable. When confronted with strong resistance, he could make a feint of retreating, without conceding any real ground. Once resistance has been disarmed by promises, he returns with lightening speed, without giving their distracted opponents the time to re-arm. At least that is what he will attempt.
The widespread complaint is that the Opposition Leader has none of the abilities the President has got, so he is incapable of defeating Mahinda. But one can easily see that the problems faced by the government cannot be solved only by tactics. Mahinda is not doing very well in the arena of strategy and programme. The country cannot survive only by tactical steps taken by its political leaders. Serious and far-reaching changes are essential to unite the country.