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Dhammika Perera an anti-establishment candidate

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 23 May 2019 01:22


Dhammika Perera a viable candidate for 2020

During the holy Vesak weekend the phones were buzzing all over Sri Lanka over a story that appeared on a web page. The story said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had met with  business tycoon Dhammika Perera whose business  empire contributes around 6% of the tax revenues to the Government at the latter’s home. He had reportedly visited Dhammika Perera without his personal security personnel and official driver.  

The Prime Minister, after discussing the status quo, had suggested that Dhammika Perera contest the upcoming presidential election as the common candidate. Many people had contacted both parties to check the story. It now turns out that two had met to discuss the day before on how to prevent flooding in the Kelaniya area. 

The fact is that Dhammika Perera’s story got so much of traction simply because the general public is sick and tired of politicians who get elected by the people to serve the public end up serving themselves and their families lavishly, this certainly needs to stop right now. Only a Dhammika or a Nagahawatte can actually do it.

Today we can identify only a handful of politicians like Karu Jayasuriya, Eran Wickramaratne, Buddhika Pathirana and R. Sambandan who have lived up to their pledge and lived a simple life. The other politicians have prospered beyond imagination while the common man has got poorer and the public services in general have got eroded. This is why there is now a clear anti-establishment view or belief which stands in opposition to the conventional social, political, and economic principles of our society.


Power to people

The young people in Sri Lanka are now desperately looking for a candidate who will give power to the people; they are looking for a person who will not build his or her nest, or exploit a carnage to be in power or to come into power like what the last two leaders have done in the past. 

Young people who are totally disgusted with the political leadership after the Easter Sunday attacks are now openly challenging the wrongs perpetuated by politicians and have begun to question the need for a politician from the UNP, SLFP or SLPP to become the next president of Sri Lanka. 

People want to candidate who will without fear or favour investigate all the alleged sweetheart deals circulating freely on social media of the Rajapaksa family, Malik Samarawickrama, Lakshman Kiriella and Kabir Hashim, to name a few among the many.


Next president 

Given the anarchy in governance people now want a “strong benevolent leader” for the country; the sharing of power clearly does not work in our country. People are clearly losing faith in the establishment; to them the perceived antidote to that is taking a leader who is anti-establishment, and therefore populist, and putting him or her in charge. That is where a man like Dhammika Perera becomes relevant to the electorate and can triumph over a candidate fielded by the establishment.

These populist, anti-establishment sentiments have been brewing since October last year when Sirisena undemocratically sacked the current Prime Minister.  An anti-establishment candidate may nevertheless need to forge a fresh coalition in the form of uniting sceptics and the educated voters for a start. 

There have however been a lot of false starts in the search for populism. However his eagerness to unravel the conventional wisdom that has traditionally tamed much of Sri Lanka’s political establishment certainly makes him a viable vehicle for real change in the country. All he needs is a political party to support him, 25 credible leaders for his cabinet with the required capability and a good grassroots campaign using his vast business network of Singer Industries to become the next Macron.


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