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Where is the SLFP of Bandaranaikes ?

6 November 2018 12:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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All who led the party since Sirimavo are indebted to answer



 


 

By Bandaranaikes, I mean, SWRD and Madam Sirimavo — and not their off-spring who interfered with the smooth operation of Party machinery and initiated its descending path making the task easier for the successive leaders to cause imminent destruction; and going by the LG election results, even cause a natural death at the next General Election. 


Bandaranaikes wanted a practical third route along which social justice, democracy, and development could be achieved. They respected democracy to the letter except in one instant when Sirimavo violated all norms in extending the term by two years in 1975. Bandaranaikes did not bring disrepute to the party by entertaining through back-door losers rejected by people not only to sit in Parliament but offering Cabinet Ministerial positions.


When SWRD felt things in the grand old party was not in his favour he was bold enough to stand up and quit the party and create a condition that cemented a two-party system, a necessary ingredient for a proper functioning of parliamentary democracy.  


As Daily Mirror reported on the 22nd instant, during a ceremony held at the BMICH to commemorate four Senanayakes namely DS, Dudley, RG and FR who had played great roles in securing independence, President Maithipala Sirisena observed,  “The late D. S. Senanayake, did not engage in corruption, did not waste public funds. He was patriotic and adopted home-grown agricultural policies. This is why the UNP became a great party. The UNP was built upon the visions of these great men. I hope the UNP would find greatness again and become the real party which was founded by these leaders.”  


However, the current political turmoil has changed the scenario; the SLFP is in alliance with De facto SLPP leader Rajapaksa who assumed as PM. The massive show of strength around the banks of Diyawanna on Monday with Maroons overwhelmingly disappointing the Blues speaks a lot on the future of the 68-year-old party.  


The Attanagalla stronghold of Bandaranaikes, which they won by majorities of over 30,000 and 45,000 was lost to a three-month-old party at February 10 Local Government election under the leadership of current President and, the SLFP organizer for the electorate, and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.  The segments of the privileged and the increasing middle class aspiring to political control were without the resources of realising their aspirations. Bandaranaike was motivated in to back their cause and his project turned out to be an instant hit. Within a few years, he travelled a long distance on a wave of popularity to control an alliance of forces on the same line of thinking and ideas. Positioned in a left-of-the-centre point on the political variety, the SLFP represented more on the aspirations of those who comprised the support base of the Marxists and the result was a rise in of progressive actions such as nationalization which carried the party close to the rural population and the urban middle class. They constituted what Bandaranaike termed the Pancha Maha Balavegaya [Bikkhus, Ayurveda physicians, teachers, peasants and labourers], which carried him to power in 1956. This political mutually beneficial association between the SLFP and Marxists remained intact for long periods.  

 


Bandaranaikes wanted a practical third route along which social justice, democracy, and development could be achieved. They respected democracy to the letter except in one instant when Sirimavo violated all norms in extending the term by two years in 1975. Bandaranaikes did not bring disrepute to the party by entertaining through back-door losers 




Sirimavo Bandaranaike, affectionately known by people as something, was the most charismatic and female leader in Sri Lankan politics; the male being Rajapaksa. She succeeded her husband SWRD and came to power in an era where women were not prominent in world politics. She holds the honour of the world’s first female Prime Minister. Her era in office led to the best times of Sri Lanka’s foreign relations. She did not accuse intelligence agencies of foreign nations of conspiring to assassinate of our leaders or plotting to change regimes.  


The two senior Bandaranaikes have left indelible recollections of Sri Lanka in the world map with their middle-path foreign policy. Sirimavo actively involved herself in the non-aligned summit and also mediated the peace talks at India-China border conflict in 1962; made it an easy task for both China and India to the negotiable table due to cordial affiliation she maintained with these two nations and the regard she had from leaders of both countries.  


The Sri Lanka Freedom Party that was formed a few months before [September 1951] scored an island-wide percentage of 15.5 votes at the 1952 May Parliamentary election. Even when it suffered its worst loss in the history in 1977, the percentage never dropped below 30 percent. However, after celebrating the 66th year in existence and ruling the country for thirty-five years the party ended with a dismal 13 percent, [both SLFP and UPFA added together].


Presidential election held on January 8, 2015, the Common Opposition candidate Sirisena who defected his party to contest against his party’s nominee scored largely assisted by the 37 percent UNP plus 5 percent JVP votes. He also received 8-10 percent floating votes. While Sirisena scored heavily in North-East and upcountry constituents, which traditionally are UNP or Minority Party votes but certainly not of SLFP. Leaving out those mentioned Maithri’s SLFP could muster only a pathetic less than 2 percent of the total. The analysis of results reveals the outcome of both the elections held in 2015 January and August: it proves that meagre percentage of 10-12 percent SLFP vote that he was able to muster in Polonnaruwa District’s [20,000 approx.] along with some support from [about 3000 votes] he gathered from his birthplace in Gampaha electorate’s Yagoda. The situation has changed drastically over the past 10 months in favour of SLPP. Surely, with three years of being President and with his consolidation of power as party leader, but as per the grass-root level SLFPer, there is a significant shift in current position. The large majority of the genuine SLFP supporters of ‘Bandaranaike fame’ are excitedly waiting for an occasion to teach a lesson to those who ‘sold the party’ to the traditional opposition. All the SLFP top-rankers that supported Sirisena at January 8, for personal reasons lost at the August election; why did he bring back them to parliament though legitimately permitted, but in an unconvinced manner? Haven’t some of them back-stabbed him? Such deeds and his virtual failure to execute unwaveringly have badly watered down his influence as a leader. Clearly, the President has exposed himself as someone motivated by political convenience.  


“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”—Dwight D Eisenhower, March 6, 1956


Where is the Sri Lanka Freedom Party of Bandaranaikes?


Who can retrieve, restore and reinstate the Sri Lanka Freedom Party back to its glory? SLFP with make-shift arrangements, temporary appointment of scores of men as vice presidents or assistant secretaries for short periods and is undecided on the consummation of marriage with the United National Party which is equally inundated with its own share of tribulations, is heading for a natural death.  


Fallen ill following an assault it received from its own General Secretary in Nov 2014, and repeatedly thrashed by the same man on the first round held on Jan 8, 2015, who ironically became the new boss and clamped down a near-fatal blow on it by declaring just before the second round in August same year, that an off-spring of it will not be sworn in as number two even if it succeeds; and the dethroned boss ‘adding insult to injury’ by proposing to a new bloom, has destroyed, disintegrated and devastated the 68 years young Party. Continuing treatment may result in prolonging the process of dying. Sri Lanka history, however, is not littered with deceased political parties. The seriously ill patient’s loved ones are thinking of life support systems, especially the ‘Group-15’ – but the patient does not seem to wake up enough to breathe on his own.  


Sympathisers, if there are any, they can rescue the dying patient who now take shallow breaths with periods of no breathing for a few seconds to a minute, experiencing rapid shallow panting which are common end-of-life signs and symptoms by rushing it to a sanatorium for emergency resuscitation by the dethroned old boss who is heading the ‘Pohottuwa’.  
The writer can be contacted at -
- kksperera1@gmail.com

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