Can Maithripala Sirisena win the Presidential Election WITHOUT UNP Votes?
Shenali D Waduge
There is an issue that has been overlooked. Firstly, it is the manner that Maithripala was parachuted to the role of Opposition Candidate ignoring the line-up UNP contenders including Ranil Wickremasinghe. Next, is the factor that emerges from numerous UNP crossovers to the possibilities of the UNP party diminishing into oblivion if Maithri emerges winner. This last allegation deserves merit on account of the Maithri camp slowly disassociating itself from the initial slogan of handing power over to Ranil after 24 hours which became 6months and now it appears Maithriapala will stand full Presidential term if he wins – where does that leave Ranil Wickremasinghe and the UNP? How can there be a ‘maithri yugayak’ if the deal was to pass power to Ranil and that is what the UNP to wanted? Surely the UNP voters cannot prefer Maithripala to Ranil Wickremasinghe, through thick and thin they have stood by him! Is the gameplan to fool the UNP vote base with its substantial vote block to vote for Maithripala and thereafter Greens or the Green man having no place in governance and a murky future prevails for other aspiring Green politicians.
The choice of Maithripala Sirisena to contest against President Rajapakse was not the choice of the people of Sri Lanka. He was not selected by any party nor the common masses. We do not know who selected him because these were minds that were using calculations and determining who other than Ranil would stand a chance to win an election taking stock of the negative aspects that the UNP suffered. UNP did not have a Sinhala Buddhist leader to divide the Buddhist vote and the UNP did not have the ability to divide the SLFP – thus the unforeseen forces came up with Maithripala obviously trained for the role since the leadership program in 2013 designed by Harvard and nominated by the US embassy and USAID. It should now become clearer as to who steers the unforeseen forces no different to how Sarath Fonseka was parachuted to be the Presidential contender in the 2010 elections.
If Ranil agreed in 2010 to field Fonseka because he knew Fonseka could not run a country without the UNP, that same scenario does not exist in 2014. The prima facie reason for that is the entry of CBK who has more rights to Maithri than Ranil and moreover CBK-Maithri-Champaka&JHU appear to be snuggling together under a better chemistry than what Ranil and a disjointed UNP leadership has to offer except to use the UNP voters to win the elections. Most of those supporting Maithripala are those who have a history with CBK and have a secret bonding with her and therefore it is her dictates that they will listen to and not that of Ranil. Thereafter, the story is likely to read a ‘bye bye Ranil and UNP’ and shrewd Sajith Premadasa and a host of other young UNP leaders hoping to emerge as future UNP leaders are beginning to realize that they are in for a raw deal. At least in the present scenario Ranil Wickremasinghe has been quite happy enjoying being the Opposition Leader, a place even the Government would wish to reserve permanently for Ranil while the UNP leaders are happy building up their political careers. Now this cosy set up is in for a big jolt because the future of the oldest political party is now at stake and questions how many in the UNP and its vote base realizes this? What is at stake is not only the future of the UNP as a political party, the future of aspiring politicians like Sajith, Harin, Dr. Harsha etc but even the cosy future of Ranil Wickremasinghe himself because there is no guarantee of being given what he was initially promised for his role in getting the UNP voters to vote for Maithripala. Let us also not forget that in Sri Lanka, politics eventually boils down to class and caste and the rare difference was President Premadasa whereas to climb the political ladder to a leadership role caste/class play a major role and those who don’t have that except voter backing will accept the reality of this assumption.
The question that UNP will now need to ask itself is whether UNP wishes to bring others to power only when it has able candidates themselves? Let us not forget that even if all the Alliance partner vote bases are put together they cannot come nowhere near the votes that the UNP can garner as a single political party. Maithriapala’s, CBK’s and the others in the camp will have their dreams dashed if the UNP DOES NOT GO TO VOTE.
Those that selected Maithripala have done their homework well – that is on paper at least. They have taken stock of the entire UNP vote base believing that the minorities would all vote for Maithripala and they have also calculated that the SLFP voters will also vote for Maithripala, that part of the Public Sector apparatus will vote for Maithripala and even disgruntled UPFA voters/partners may also change allegiance and now their propaganda is on the floating vote and the neither here neither there voters too. Nevertheless, even if all these voter numbers are put together if the UNP voters do not vote or reject their vote Maithriapala cannot come into power (at least on paper).
It is advised that politicians desist from promising to end corruption because these promises are never kept and no one in politics today can claim to be paragons of virtue especially those who have jumped to either side and CBK with a host of nefarious deals for which she cannot even hold public office.
Have the unforeseen forces realized that Ranil W is a lost cause having propelled him for years with no results? Have these unforeseen forces now struck a deal to engage another camp this time using CBK in the leading role but realizing that they need UNP and Ranil to realize their goal. If Ranil consented to be a puppet in former roles the current situation will decide his own future or retirement which is not what Ranil W or his lineage would wish to carve out for themselves. Some UNPers willing to tow the line of CBK and coterie may get a place but that wont be under UNP slogans and that won’t help any UNP voters wanting some relief.
Let us put aside President Rajapakse from this argument. The argument is that none of the leaders of the newly formed alliance was aware of who the Common Candidate was and they would have been as surprised as the rest of us when the announcement was made. A host of ingredients and deals that promises a prominent place for individual agendas entice them to remain in the camp but does that have to be so for a political party that does not have to tie to any apron strings to command the people’s mandate. The UNP easily has a votebase they don’t need to form alliances or sign MOUs and they do not need to agree to be part of an alliance that has nothing in common except revenge.
The fact remains that Maithripala Sirisena was a choice of unforeseen forces who have different agendas for the country. Their plan is to make sure Sri Lanka remains unstable and in chaos. The road to that happening looks quite clear because too many cooks always spoil the broth and how many cooks are there in the Common Alliance all telling different stories to us.
From the body movements of leading UNP politicians it is not difficult to gauge that they are not too happy with the role UNP is being given on a political platform that says ‘Maithri Yugayak’ – there is no word of any Ranil Yugayak or a UNP yugayak…that being so should the UNP use their franchise to bring others into power is the question that ALL UNPers need to ask themselves.