An unscheduled mini battle is on in the junior league for“13A” that could change the face of Sri Lanka in 2013/2014.
Non-playing captains, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe are watching the game from the pavilion cheering respectively the Weerawansa / Ranawaka crew and the Sumanthiran combine?
What follows is more intriguing?– When: where: what? – Call elections on schedule in September 2013? Police and Land Powers or is much more of 13A to be thrown overboard? On with the Commonwealth Conference – is it to be a showpiece or a goon show? Geneva 2014- take care or damn it?
Round One goes to the Commonwealth chieftains- tied us craftily in knots, inspired by an Indian rope trick, to stage the Sri Lanka’s show of the year at the renovated BMICH. Singular threat in withholding elections in the North comes in the form of the Commonwealth Conference. The President cannot afford to postpone elections and hold the Commonwealth Conference! Weerawansa/Ranawaka will have to abort their course. They will grudgingly to find a way to explain.
Nevertheless the ‘white’ Commonwealth leaders and their lackeys with side support from India are bound to use the podium to stricture Sri Lanka to please their home audiences–which the travelling circus of western media would not fail to exploit. Between pleasing the host and winning votes at home- diplomatic niceties will be forgotten to lecture us on their twisted moral code. Mind you, we foot the bill to listen to their crap!
That’s Mahinda Rajapakse’s Catch 22 situation- a deathtrap set in London with Indian guile, which the silly External Affairs genii failed to smoothen. Instead fell into a pile of soot. Will the government sacrifice the fun and frolic in store at the jamboree! Even if the ship sinks the band must play [Nava gilunath band chun”]-says the racy Sinhala idiom.That’s it. Holding the Commonwealth Conference between hostile sessions in Geneva is a matter the External Affairs Ministry should have given more thought as we are opening gates for a frontal attack.
Is Mahinda Rajapaksa concerned of his international image or of his vote base at home? His selection of safe destinations on the travel itinerary shows the direction of his personal compass. He jets to China to send a strong message to New Delhi after Foreign Minister gave ear feebly to an Indian bully on the telephone on 13A. Time is right to give India a mighty jolt- with both its major political parties in disarray. BJP lost its southern foothold in Karnataka and the Congress is in a frenzy at the center with legislation at a standstill.
To shore its southern strength at the expense of the BJP, Congress is targeting Sri Lanka for a walloping; making us get on a fast jet to China. Even pilgrims dare not travel to India, after the physical beating that was administered. No longer is India held in esteem as the land of Buddha.
Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to thrive on the anti-Sri Lankan rhetoric by the West to which Ranil Wickremesinghe is adding an encore hoping to to make a comeback on the minority vote.
Batteries will be over-charged on emotion at the next election with the President rallying forces around the Lion flag against alien interferences. More of the bitterness, from foreign quarter, may sound juicier for the President. Yet, it augurs ill for national unity. Such are the repercussions of the Indian fabricated13A- leaves no alternative but to restructure to preserve a unitary state.President cannot jettison 13A comprehensively as he cannot afford to antagonise his support groups among the Provincial Councillors who are the backbone of his provincial vote machine. Lose them he looses his election. Keep the 13A and let the TNA rule the North to set a federal state, he looses again for not doing the needful. MR will not dare to lose on either count.
Hambantota wisdom would be to amend the 13A - to hell with India and the West-but rely on the bulk rural vote along with the majority urban vote for which he needs Messers Wimal and Champika making comrades Dew and Tissa dispensable to take the Colvin and NM route to ease away from Parliament. Don’t forget they are appointed MPs with no vote base.
Wimal Weerawansa represents the Nationalistic Left: Champika Ranawaka leads the Religious Right. Their Left/Right ethos on national issues sits comfortably with the SLFP supporters, casting the first and/or second of their multiple votes to either Wimal or Champika ahead of their own party candidates. Duo cast a mesmerising spell on patriotism jazzing the flamboyant idiom to the extent of reaching jingoism. Votes cast show their utterances taste sweet to the Sinhala speaking urban palate. Rural vote follow the Presidential piper: neither can aspire to be attractive to the rural voter, whose outlook President understands best, like the former President Premadasa.
Twosome swells rather than diminish votes for the UPFA: suits Mahinda Rajapaksa with a mindset permanently in the counting house. As leaders of minuscule political parties they would be knocked out for a countdown if flying in their own party colours but emerging from the blue corner, they are the top dogs in populous Colombo District.
President Rajapaksa builds his majority on his skill to pick on the bulk Sinhala Buddhist vote. Wimal and Champika are the sharp instruments utilised from an extraordinary box of tools.
Between Rajapaksa and Duo lies a mutual reciprocal imperative for political survival in the hostile Colombo environ. Outside cosmopolitan Colombo, Wimal and Champika reverberate the sound of national fervor, when spouted more moderately from the presidential lip, sounds convincing to attract rural votes bent on a patriotic mode. Possibly the President’s thinking is a heartbeat away from that of the duo. Winning the war convinced the village vote that the President can deliver. Myth hangs on, though often exploded, known well to the urbanites Wimal and Champika reflect distinct shades of Colombo unknown to the Colombians- hated by the CNN /BBC watching public that read the English newspapers but is attractive to the Sinhala TV watchers that thrive on Sinhala newspapers. The thinking socialist class of Colombo is not aligned to Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyite society any more. Masses follow un-declaredly the Hugo Chevez line of a Lankan social revolution of ‘56 substituting the Bolivarian revolution with the temple for the church. ‘Mahinda-gamanaya of 2005’ was indeed the second coming after ’56.
More popular among the Sinhala oriented middle class intelligentsia in the suburbs of Colombo, Wimal headed the list of the UPFA (280,672 votes-58.3% of the UPFA vote), picking more votes than Colombo’s favourite son Ranil Wickremesinghe on the UNP list(232,957), while Champika romped third (120,333-25.0% of the UPFA vote) in the UPFA list. [Cry for Colombo- Duminda de Silva came second on the UPFA list.(146,335- 30.4%of the UPFA vote].
The bright boy in the TNA, deservingly emerging as the next leader, in the absence of any another of any refinement, billed to be on the electorate list, to enable a President Counsel to take his place on the national list at the next election, is lawyer Sumanthiran - a virtual one man think tank in the TNA, is another Colombo lad. Naturally coming from the eastern seaboard of Trincomalee, Sampanthan finds the company of an enlightened fellow lawyer more congenial than of a motely crowd from the North from whom he keeps distance. Sumanthiran plays a similar role for the TNA following suit of Balasingham to the LTTE: balancing with the more cosmopolitan views of Colombo and the western capitals. Sumanthiran and the TNA, like Messer Weerawansa and Ranawaka are Colombo centered. TNA collects its votes primarily from the North but like its predecessor the Federal Party is dependent for its thinking from Colombo.
The 13th Amendment is an issue for Colombo stoked by Colombo based politicians attracting an eager audience from educated Colombo. Mahinda Rajapaksa - the odd man out - from Hambantota embedded in rural wisdom is better aligned to the thinking of the common man from the provinces on the 13th Amendment than his Colombo counterparts. Hold elections on schedule to miff the Commonwealth and let TNA with Sampanthan and Sumanthiran do the rest in coming to office with their demands, for the President to swing the patriotic vote towards him. Postpone elections; you are giving ammunition for the TNA to fire – an easy way out for them.
Applecart can be over turned surprisingly by the Supreme Court-none can blame them for it: for they will say it’s the law. No doubt the West, NGO’s, Jurists will try to attract the attention of the Judiciary. There is a simple answer beyond reproach to counter-hold a referendum for the people to decide on amending the 13A. The Supreme Court will dare not go against peoples wishes expressed at a legitimate referendum since sovereignty is vested in the People exercising the franchise. West and its cahoots cannot complain it’s not democratic and India can be told to read the result and rest. At such a referendum the required majority is a simple vote. Try it, Mister President!