Tuesday, 17 April 2012 01:35
UNP carries the most dedicated following in its fold (which applauded Mahinda Rajapaksa for overcoming terrorism but reverted back to the UNP seeking good governance) but the leadership soothe the opinion of an alienated Colombo Society (Colombians) failing to appreciate the mood of the people in designing policies to attract multitudes. Worse, notwithstanding multiple losses at every election!
A mystifying political party that does not change its jockey though satisfied, the man on the saddle cannot bring home a trophy to display in its heavily populated achievers’ glass chamber. Can the UNP wait till the green grass on which the leader trots his horse turns to pulp? The reason put forth to justify, is the absence of a more suitable candidate. ‘Anybody but Him’ has turned into a ‘No-One is as Good as Him’. This comes from a Party that exports “talent” after an election to the ruling Party by defections; yet cannot find a replacement for a habitual loser.
Ranil Wickremasinghe is a dream leader of the Opposition for the Government-a perfect democrat that accepts defeat gracefully at elections following classical parliamentary traditions. Wickremasinghe is a true democrat in the genuine mould. To blame him alone for the lapse is faulty; it’s a result of UNP’s perennial problem of being more ‘International’ than ‘National’- entrenched in a warped culture of living down its middle name.
UNP officially pronounced it’s against foreign interventions but behaved as a holder of a power of attorney for the West after Geneva 2012-except for lone Sajith Premadasa. By word or act, UNP failed to stand up for the country in the hour of defeat. Obviously, playing politics to discredit the Government but the reading of the tremors on a seismometer show they were busy pressing doorbells on Embassy Street than feeling the pulse of the people. When the country was under siege by foreign forces UNP failed to reveal itself as being positively nationally oriented-often read as collaborating with the enemy. Being tagged as pawns of the West does not help to buy votes locally. UNP is best equipped to engage the West without falling at its feet.
People after long dominance of the PA/UPFA, still see the UNP as a party that stands against the national aspirations. They spoke of peace in the face of terrorism jiving to the tune of the international community with the encores from the Colombians while Mahinda Rajapaksa walked away with the glory of having vanquished the terrorists with the use of arms: Colombians joined the government leaving the evergreen to the UNP. In a comedy of errors, UNP withdraw Ranil Wickremasinghe from the Presidential race and sought a man of war to contest the election!
UNP has never recovered from the tidal wave of the moral tsunami that struck them in 1956 when our people gave vent to their cultural persuasions – a civilised passion in times, good and bad. It surfaced with the visit of Arahat Mahinda when he trod Mihintale and extended to a time when Giravapattuwe Mahinda in 2012 ascended to Presidency. The Sinhala Buddhists have morphed into a Moral Majority that the UNP has never been able to seize, overwhelmingly, except in 1977 when J.R.Jayewardene targeted the electorate on economic issues with his cry of an eight pound packet of free cereal that never materialised after the results were announced. Without the bulk Sinhala-Buddhist vote, a workable majority is beyond reach.
Next time, election will be fought on the lines of a National Triumphal as against an Economic Downgrade? People in times of hardship forget the past, of war-time achievements, unless the nationalistic fervour is recreated.
Jathika Hela Urumaya took 10 members to Parliament and showed the way the Religious Right functions. The faithful of the faith have been eager participants in every social upheaval in public affairs of Sri Lanka. A constituency attracted mainly from the affluent middle class urban entrepreneurial class, formerly firmly in the UNP column, drifted to the JHU and became embedded to the UPFA after the war. Rajapaksa in times of a cultural crisis pulls the strings to project Ranawaka and Weerawansa as his militia from the saffron belt. Otherwise they are firmly gated in the backyard .
That is the vote UNP never regained - its policies cater more to an international audience whose thinking is diametrically opposed to national aspirations. In living memory when did UNP last give leadership to a national cause? How many times did the views of the UNP run horizontally to the wishes of the international community? War victory aroused patriotic feeling in the country which the UNP failed to engage because of its adherence to the thinking of the international community which doused the loyalty of the patriotic following in the Party making them feel helpless. UNP is left holding a majority in the westernised metropolitan Colombo only.
Government will drum to the rhythm on national aspirations challenging the UNP to react; for the sake of opposing UNP will respond, mistakenly posing on an anti-national stance and falling prey to the trap of being branded as treacherous. That would attract those capable of accelerating another downfall for the UNP and irritate the patriotic forces within the party to lose another election.
UNP often helps to uplift the UPFA by saying or doing something stupid when the Government is peddling fast downhill. It is a leadership that remains out of alignment with the aspirations of the people. UNP peaks in the fine art of defeating itself.