Home / Opinion and Issues/ The leadership of the ‘Grand Old Party’ must face the reality

The leadership of the ‘Grand Old Party’ must face the reality


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 23 November 2019 00:00


Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa during the campaign – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara

 


Sajith Premadasa after a huge tussle got hold of the UNP nominations in September, but could not deliver the outcome the members of the GOP wanted. Immediately, his promoters put the blame on those people who they alleged did not support their candidate. 

The people accused anyway were not in any way popular to woo the southern voters. Therefore it was best they kept away. According to the media, the lines were clearly drawn; the Premadasa faction would woo the south and the Ranil faction the north and the east. 

Prior to Premadasa being selected, the two most seniors who had put in more time in the party than Premadasa were also willing to join the ring. The Leader of the party was strong with the minorities and the Speaker, the former UNP Leadership Council Leader, resonated well with the Sinhala heartland and the senior citizens of the country. The debate now is whether he would have performed better.

The promoters of Premadasa had a different agenda. They said in public Premadasa had the ability to woo both constituencies in the north and the south. The election results delivered a cruel blow to their hopes and dreams of becoming powerful ministers. 

For many of them a victory would have been quick passage to the top. Unfortunately for them, while the minorities had stayed with them, the south had virtually rejected him. If the minorities had not voted for Premadasa, he would have ended up around 25+%.

The Grand Old Party was once again given a huge blow by the electorate for the second time in two years. UNP apex leaders who ran the party like Ranil Wickremesinghe, Malik Samarawickrama, Kabir Hashim, Mangala Samaraweera and Sagala Rathnayake dismissed the defeat by saying it was only a local election. 

Sagala Rathnayake the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister even had got STF guards with guns outside his office inside his Temple Trees office. Why? Only he knows. They were drunk with power and hence they continued to operate at 30,000 feet. Nothing visible as far as the voters were concerned happened, as a result. The old boy network continued in the same old way, with the bond scam haunting them. 

Highlighted 

Our column several times highlighted the need to bring in new young dynamic people to manage the execution of the administration. People who were well past their prime were engaged to drive the key projects; what was achieved was also not highlighted. 

SriLankan Airlines led by another Royal College mate and a Senior Advisor’s brother shut down the profitable European flights. The dumbest decision ever made in the history of the airline. 

Sajith Premadasa who had won a lot of support in this week from the public for his decency and humility cannot wash his hands off from every decision that was taken at the Cabinet of Ministers. There is something called collective responsibility. He should have played his part in the Cabinet and his close relationship to the President, which is now quite evident, should have been used to steer the Government in the right direction. 

The GOP still has some good clean people who can lead them into the future like Eran Wickramaratne, Ruwan Wijewardene, Niroshan Perera and Buddhika Pathirana. Premadasa, on the other hand, must a take step back without being led once again by people who are only interested in driving their personal agenda on the back of him. The monkey should be put back on their back. 

Many of them who backed him could not even win their seats to help him to reduce the gap. Premadasa too got washed away in his own electorate in Hambantota. He would know by now giving handouts cannot win elections. 

Even though 40 MPs have handed over a document to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya requesting him to appoint NDF candidate Sajith Premadasa as Leader of the Opposition, Premadasa should look at his long-term prospects before he takes a walk in the park with MP Ajith P. Perera once again. 

Otherwise, history will repeat itself and there will be no buffer in Ranil Wickremesinghe once the Rajapaksa brothers get into full swing in the coming weeks. Sajith Premadasa can certainly turn the tide if he acts wisely and with maturity. 


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Autocatalytic descent from plural democracy to supremacist authoritarianism

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

In a few days, Sri Lanka will celebrate its 72nd year of independence from colonialism. But behind the pomp and pageant of that celebration is a sad reality of an autocatalytic process – a small initial event triggering a chain reaction that evolve


Trump destroying brand USA: Implications for Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

There is an old adage that ‘politics and tourism’ has a positive correlation. Many have tried to disprove this aspect but the relationship is coming out very strongly, the latest case study to the world being in the United States. Trump cost $4.


Freedom! Freedom! Where art thou?

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation. In the name of freedom – the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor. The definition of freedom is, the condition of


Development project information: Public expectations and their right to know

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Infrastructure development will be at the centre-stage during the next five years, irrespective of which mainstream political party will be in power. This writer has previously had articles published in the Daily FT on building regulations, infrastr


Columnists More