Ranil has three enemies: Past, Present and Future.!

-By Virgil

(Lanka-e-News -25.May.2024, 8.15 PM) "You are destined to fly, but that cocoon has to go." -Nelle Morton

It is quite difficult, if not impossible, to forecast the ultimate results of an election. Even in 1956 in which year it was supposed to have been very obvious that the United National party (UNP) would be losing at the elections, no one in the UNP, even J R Jayewardene, could have predicted the manner in which the Bandaranaike coalition would secure such a sweeping outcome, come election day. However, one exception to this rule was the year 1977. Even though the two Bandaranaikes, Sirimavo and Felix Dias were dreaming of an impossible win at the General Elections, the whole country knew long before the election day that the Bandaranaike regime was on the verge of being ousted at the polling booth.

It was not only the UNP candidates, the whole country was waiting till the election day to tread to the poling booth with expectations of a lifetime to drive away those who were not only thoroughly inefficient in governance, but also venomous in their execution and disregard for accountability on the part of their own parliamentarians and Ministers. The earliest signs of Ministerial corruption and misdeeds were emerging from the ranks of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Ministers and Junior Ministers at the time. But Sirimavo and her second in command Felix Dias chose to look the other way for want of the support of their MPs in Parliament and outside in their respective electorate. The eventual results showed the mood of the country and the untold suffering the citizens had to endure for five long years mainly due to the wrong and outdated economic policies and principles the government implemented during their tenure.

Nevertheless, it was a different time and a different setting. Yet however much rich in intellectual prowess and educated in traditional lines of academics, those who occupied the seats of governing, never expect an election loss after engaging in an economic philosophy that advocates for maximum government interference in the economy. The Bandaranaikes were in a cocoon that was artificially self-sufficient, yet thoroughly empty; those inside did not know what was happening outside and those who were outside did not know what was being planned and plotted inside the cocoon. An utterly self-destructive course of events overtook the government machinery.

Those at the top of the machinery were not receptive to the ordinary requests and ordinary opinions of the ordinary members of the National State Assembly- as Parliament was called at that time. Power, instead of cascading down from the top to the bottom, stayed still at the top, never ever flowing to the ordinary man and woman. The left-wing politicians including Dr. N M Perera, Dr. Colvin R de Silva and Bernard Soysa had already left the government ranks and were even more vociferous than those who belonged to the UNP ranks. The karmic effects of being in power more than they deserved were taking effect; but those who were immediately affected were totally oblivious of the real world happenings. The romanticist affinity to an abstract ideology that the traditional SLFPers had built since the 1956-transformation was drastically receding to the unknown territories of political demise- that of the ignorant and un-empathetic type.

The UNP, once condemned to the political burial grounds in the wake of the '56 elections, began its painstaking emergence from the dead. J R Jayewardene even in 1956 showed that rare quality of stoicism and grit that only a very few in leadership strata could strive to imitate. The eventual reemergence of the Grand Old Party (GOP) of Ceylon and JRJ assuming Executive Presidential powers consequent to the 1978 Constitution is now history. The ball started rolling ever since, once again from the SLFP-led left of center to the UNP-led right of center. The dividing line between the two shades of the same spectrum started thinning out to near oblivion. The advent of capitalism and its inherent adversities such as doing away with economic regulation and the resultant cultural liberalism  took an irrevocable journey of a society which had been used to home-made restrictions and self-made censorship on matters that relate to ethical and moral conduct.

Sri Lanka chose to embrace all these negative properties of a free society construct while foolishly ignoring the friendly aspects of a free-market economy. Prostitution, illegal drugs, a mushrooming industry of casinos and other gambling establishments and that kind of tourism embellished the artificial veneer of sophistication which was more visible in the five-star hotel lobbies and grand old suits. These are the unavoidable circumstances which usually a free-market economy creates. Once the government undoes the regulations and controls that restrict economic growth, the flood gates open providing great alacrity to the flow of the good along with the bad.

Ranil Wickremasinghe's political upbringing was during that time, when the wicked effects of a free-market economy was taking ahold of society. Ranil could not withstand it, nor could he reject is as it was the comfort zone in which he seemed to have been dwelling. Given two of the most important portfolios such as Education and Youth Development, Ranil's  performance at best was mediocre and at worst lackadaisical. No creative exercise of political power has been ascribed to him at any time of his past, whether as an ordinary parliamentarian, Minister, Leader of the Opposition or Prime Minister. The only craft he seems to have learnt in the School of practical politics is cunning at the expense of his own Party and its die-hard grassroots. He ran the UNP down to Zero. Once a right-of-center political party led by giants like DS, Dudley and JRJ, when Ranil took over suffered the most humiliating loss after humiliating loss at elections, local government, Provincial Council, Parliamentary of Presidential.

That was his past. Utterly forgettable! His present is rather remarkable yet in a very nasty and vicious way. When he was virtually gifted with the highest office in the country, despite the fact that he could not secure a single seat at the last parliamentary elections, the manner in which he dealt with those men and women who engineered a series of massive demonstrations and protests in the Aragalaya-22, is thoroughly abysmal. Instead of inviting those who masterminded the Aragalaya-22 to a round the table talk, he used his military power as Executive President and quelled it. A landmark episode of our post-Independence history became a significant, yet an unceremonious victim of Ranil's draconian execution of Presidential powers. Aragalaya-22 may have been suppressed but it is not dead. The meteoric rise of the National People's Power (NPP) and its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) owe their collective emergence as a force to reckon with partially to Ranil Wickremasinghe and his narcissistic exercise of Presidential Power.

That is Ranil Wickremasinghe's present. After forty odd years in politics, hailing from two of the most illustrious family trees, the Wijeywardenes on the maternal side and the Wickremasinghes on the paternal heritage, Ranil has been one of those politicians who are being unaccountably disliked by the common man. This man has shown no empathy for the commoner; his reaction to the most intense support by the average UNPers has been a shaky handshake and a halfhearted nod. His conversation is limited to a yes or no answer with anyone who tries to engage him in an intellectual dialogue.  Ranil Wickremasinghe's present is not one that one could write any positive column about. His past might be a subject of serious consideration owing to the inheritance factor but nothing else.

Who is his third enemy? It's his future in the current political landscape. Having being propelled to be the Executive President of the country via a constitutional necessity of the time, he has displayed all the hallmarks of an unpleasant guest at a funeral. The funeral was the country economy and the guest was an unexpected harbinger of political malpractice.

Aragalaya-22 sealed the country's future as one that has decided to do away with the old. Ranil Wickremasinghe, both in age and political life belongs to the 'old' that has been branded as one that has failed the country miserably. It is not only Ranil, all those political parties and their subs who had the misplaced privilege to govern the land's economy, its politics and sociocultural stature have been condemned to the dustbin of yesterday. The country is looking forward to the new generation of political leaders and a fresh approach to the resolution of our burning issues.

Nevertheless, Ranil being confronted by thee major proponents, Past, Present and Future, he is also backed by a very strong ally: Executive Presidency. His arrogance, his cockiness and his false strength emanate from that singular office which he holds. Constitutional pundits and legal luminaries pontificate that in terms of our Constitution, there is no room or space for anyone to either cancel or postpone the Presidential Elections. Those who perpetually find themselves in conspiracy caves might express various doubts and ominous misgivings about the pending Presidential Elections. October 2024 is yet to dawn and it is in Ranil Wickremasinghe's future, and that future is no good for him.

-By Virgil

The writer can be contacted at [email protected]         

Virgil's Collection

by     (2024-05-25 15:02:22)

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