Thursday, December 22, 2011

The UNP at the Crossroads or at each other’s Crosshairs! Or even at a ‘Level Crossing’ waiting to be run over and destroyed by the government train!!

It is time the leader of the UNP called all the dissidents to order. First please call them up and speak to them in a reasonable tone, as he is perceived as being unapproachable by them to air their grievances. One reason is when Sajith gets up to speak, it is just to attack the leader with little diplomacy, and therefore the reception he gets is of a leader who belittles all his proposals, and that must change

The meeting should be conducted by a third person acceptable to both sides. This will then prevent it becoming a slugfest. Then the issues that are uppermost can be addressed, ironed out, and compromised, leading to broad agreement on a master plan to implement a working draft of a call to action starting with the party supporters along with responsibilities, timetables, goals. Once the faithful are included and empowered it is easier to attract new members into the grass roots ‘shaka samithis’. The rebuilding of the party at the ground level can then begin.

The disunity of the party is not easy to repair in a few weeks. There are electoral organizers in neighboring electorates who do not talk to each other. The preference voting system has not helped, as it creates fear that people from other areas will come into another’s area for events, which in turn lead to friction and sometimes violence. This behavior is very detrimental to the party in its quest to wrest power.

For the suggestions above to be implemented, the national leaders within the party must show a unified force to the general public, saying that their differences have been patched up and will continue to work together for mutual benefit and that of the party. Then this example can be followed by the warring factions.

The expected changes to the electoral system recently announced is a good opportunity to get the grass roots organized to discuss at that level how the party should respond and plan for the future elections under the proposed new legislation. The party can take the upper hand in this over the government’s at the ground level and be able to spread information that the UNP is better prepared to face the challenge, as they can benefit more as the largest political party in Sri Lanka, which will be able to give a run for the money pumped in by the State.

It is important to take the right path at the cross roads, avoid the level crossing and speed ahead with a clear vision and plan of action, to achieve the goals. One must be realistic about being able to present goals that are achievable rather than the half baked sayings that they can topple the government in a matter of days!

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