04 October 2013

View from Ritigala

September 30, 2013
Harin must eat his words

The day Dayasiri Jayasekera crossed over, Harin Fernando predicted that the former UNP stalwart would be bested by Johnston Fernando's son Johan at the Wayamba Provincial Council election.  Well, well, Dayasiri polled almost 200,000 more preferential votes that Johnny's son.  What say you know Harin?

The JVP goes 'Irrelevant'

There was a time, especially after the JVP entered the political arena, when parties like the LSSP, CP (Moscow and Peking) and even the NSSP were referred to as 'Old Left'.  The JVP itself is closing on 50 years and deserves the 'old' tag.  On the other hand, 'new' and 'old' are valid only in terms of a party's political relevance.  The JVP re-invented itself several times.  From 1 seat in 1994, the JVP went to 10 (2000), 17 (2001) and close to 40 in 2004.  It had to tag itself to Sarath Fonseka to save the blushes in 2010. Now, in 2013, just 1 PC seat doesn't say much.  Fonseka's party secured 5.  Has the JVP joined the LSSP, NSSP and CP in a sad café called 'Irrelevant'?

That other 'Great Victory/Loss'

Prabhakaran could not defeat the Government. Ranil couldn't.  Tilvin-Somawansa-Anura-Vijitha couldn't.  Hakeem and Thonda couldn't do to this Government what they did or threatened to do to Ranil and before him Chandrika. But the Government was roundly defeated, floored, bested, chewed up and piddled on, nevertheless.  It happened last week.  Minister Maithripala Sirisena was witness.  It happened in a place called Hulftsdorp.  The BIG WINNER was the Tobacco Industry.   

Maithripala's re-think
Maithripala Sirisena says that the Government needs to rethink wishes of Northerners.  True.  After all, the TNA inflicted a big defeat on the UPFA.  While it is also true that the UPFA won by big margins in Wayamba and Central, but that could be the result of a poor and weak Opposition.  Winning by default doesn't say a lot about 'knowing' the wishes of the people.  The Government did not understand the people of Rathupaswala.  The Government didn't understand garment workers. The Government did not understand the trials that migrant workers have to suffer.  The Government ASSUMES it knows or just doesn't care.  No, it is not about the North only. 

Winners and Losers

Even Tilvin Silva can console himself. The JVP, he says, protected its vote base.  I will let that pass. Sarath Fonseka made big strides.  His party got 5 seats.  It shows that the JVP needed the former Army Commander more than he needed them in 2010 April.  At least he now has a platform to woo disgruntled UNP supporters. The TNA and UPFA can boast.  The UNP can (and has) tagged itself to the TNA victory.  Both Thondaman and Digambaram are happy.  Everyone is cheering.  What of the people though? Sure, they'll bask in the glory reflected from candidates and parties they supported, but for how long?  What then?

Singh's 'good decision'
Union MInister V Narayansamy is reported to have said that India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh will make a 'good decision at the right time' regarding participating at the forthcoming CHOGM in Sri Lanka.  That's a 'bad' statement clearly, because no one, Singh included, will come out and say 'Ok, I've made a decision and it's a bad one, sorry'.  Everyone who decides believes it is the 'right' decision and therefore 'good'.  At this end, whatever Singh decides will be 'good'.  If he comes, then he will be made welcome.  If he doesn't, that's his problem, not Sri Lanka's.