Sunday, December 15, 2013
Unwilling to toe the line - cast them away - the UNP meeting in Kegalle on 14th Dec 2013
Yesterday at the Kegalle District Balamandela meeting to introduce the Chairman of the new UNP Leadership Council, the host Kabir Hashim MP the Chairman of the UNP, and also a member of the Leadership Council invited all stalwart UNPers which included all the elected UNP members of the various Kegalle District Pradeshiya Sabhas, Provincial Council and sitting MPs.
The purpose was an exchange of ideas amongst active UNPers, a continuing series of meetings around the Country, (Sunday will be in Kalutara) to get feedback from the grass roots active supporters and gauge their concerns and expectations, so that a consensus can be reached on the way forward to make a detailed plan to win the people of Sri Lanka over to UNP.
The venue was at Kabir’s hill top estate bungalow, which is about 3km from the main Colombo Kandy road inside his sprawling, Tea, Rubber and Cinnamon Estate. It was an invitation only event, and the press was not present.
There was the Ven Girambe Ananda Thera who was instrumental in the set up of this Council, to take over the power of the Opposition Leader into the hands of the Leadership Council partly due to the pressure from the rank and file UNPers for change, and also from the Sajith faction who was gunning for Ranil and did not want him in any position. People ask why is the Buddhist Clergy getting involved in politics, but in their opinion, the UNP faction of priests who can clearly see the anti Buddhist actions of the Government in the name of Buddhism, wished to see a more rational Buddhist approach to Government and believe it is only the intelligent UNP that can bring it about, following the true precepts of Buddhism, and there they DO have a point.
I digress, as the main point of meeting the people’s representatives in Kegalle is to find out at the grassroots level, what the party needs to do to return to power. Of course the impediments to this must also be rationally discussed.
Not unexpectedly there were a bunch of die hard Sajith loyalists amongst some PS members who directly accused the Council of not including SP in their group, and that he should be brought in and be given a leadership position in keeping with his purported popularity amongst the grassroots level.
Unfortunately the character of Sajith attracts a side of UNP support that few people can stomach, as their rationale is mainly irrational and not logical.
We are looking for leaders here, not followers! So in Sajith’s hardworking character, we have one who believes strongly that by somehow scrounging Rs50,000 from a friend or an unsuspecting follower, and then coming to a village temple and donating it for the well being of the temple, that the accompanying UNP pradeshiya sabha members and other seniors would believe that this strategy will endear him first to the local politicians (which it does, as it is an opportunity for them to show their rank and filers that a leader came to their village, and gain credit for inviting him to their temple and providing the strength) secondly to the rank and file, and thirdly to the floating voter who sees a UNP senior in their midst, the most important component which it does NOT.
Whilst there is some truth in this it is merely temporary, cynical, and personality building and NOT party building. It is HIS foundation that he is promoting, making a speech, forcing his contacts in all newspapers to put it in so people can see that he is giving a sound bite and carries on as a loner, WITHOUT an inclusive party platform. The press exposure has now backfired.
If one analyses the speeches he gives, whilst appealing to the gallery about another Premadasa era, these people DO NOT KNOW and cannot remember what the real Premadasa era consisted of. Only the Rajapakse era has contributed to more untimely deaths of Sri Lankan citizens than the Premadasa era. Then if one analyses the pulling power for voters, there is NO dispute when comparisons are made of the two appealing to the masses that a Rajapakse will beat a Premadasa anytime hands down.
In short these local councilors, who Sajith cultivates together with the caste vote, are taken up by this clever ploy, believing this is the answer to the UNP crisis. If common sense prevails it is someone like Girambe Ananda who whilst not in the thick of the political intrigues of the UNP who can see the wood from the trees, and included Thalatha and Sajith in the Leadership Council to strengthen the party, as the party needs ALL not just Sajith. Let us not forget that there are more people opposed to Sajith than Ranil, and so he is NOT the sole answer to the UNP prayers either.
It was therefore not surprising that Girambe Ananda Thero patiently tried to explain that their Sajith who was included in the Council, is still welcome, and it was him who dissuaded Thalatha from also joining, but now the 7 remaining members are the Lucky 7 who can guide the party through to the next election, if the rest of the objectors toe the line, as their Sajith has clearly demonstrated that he lacks a collective brain, and wants to dominate, just like the opposite number, and therefore DOES not present the answer to the UNP crisis.
By the time the discussion ended, some saw the truth in his statement, and let us hope they can reflect on this, and come to the conclusion that by his actions, a potential leader of the UNP has consigned himself to the dustbin of history.