06 October 2014

The Common Candidate conundrum

The 18th Amendment stumped those who thought ‘2 terms and MR is out’.  It was a master move on the part of the regime.  It made perfect political sense to ensure that the best bet remains eligible.  The 18th Amendment,  never mind its democratic-worth, was the equivalent of many amendments pushed through Parliament courtesy a massive majority obtained in 1977 (democratically) and extended beyond 1982 (undemocratically and for undemocratic purposes).  The 13th in terms of impact was the most pernicious.  But there were several rushed through when it was apparent that the two-thirds majority would be lost in 1989.  Politics. Distasteful, yes.  A reality, unfortunately.

The 18th is something the Opposition has to live with.  And so we come to the next Presidential Election.  And so the big-name behind-the-scenes agent provocateurs of Sri Lankan politics gathered.  They talked.  'In a parallel universe,' let's say.   

‘Common candidate – that’s what everyone is talking about,’ Manika Fernando, notorious regime-hater and well-known spokesperson for the ‘Let’s Call Sri Lanka Hell’ consortium of euro-gulping NGOs started off. 

‘Like Sarath Fonseka?’ Dr Mutukrishna of the Centre for Pouting Alternatives asked.

‘I don’t think we’ll have a chance with another SF.   Everyone knows that he was chosen because it allowed others to save face.  It has to be someone who is believed to have an outside chance at least,’ that was the ex-CTC man Surya Jayamanne. 
‘You are right Surya,’  said Mahendran Raja, boss of a TV/Radio network.
‘Hmm, although I was his party man, I agree,’ said Shiran Dougless, another media manipulating boss.  

‘So what do you people think about Sobitha?’ the ever-irreverent-of-bikkhus Dayal Gunatilleka wondered.
‘But he’s a Buddhist monk!  This is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, don’t forget!’ Suharshi Gunawardena of Rent-A-Petition-Now pointed out, adding ‘non Buddhists and non-Sinhalese won’t vote for him.’
‘Come on, that’s what they said of SF who claimed he defeated the LTTE; but the LTTE-backers all backed him, some of us included and got the Tamils to vote for him. It doesn’t work that way,’ Dr Mutukrishna said with the authority of a political science PhD.
‘Sarath N Silva?’ chipped in Ivan the Not-So-Terrible, reputed dabbler in king-making endeavors (and of course queen-making ones too!).

‘That’s rich coming from you, given how you’ve attacked the man for years and years,’ Dayal chuckled, silencing Ivan.

‘Ivan, don’t get upset.  Sarath has a different role.  He’s part of Plan A.  His role is to provide legal objections.  Let’s face it, there’s no one out there who can beat Mahinda.  If we get him off the ballot, then we have a chance,’ Dayal continued.
‘And what’ Plan B?’ Ivan asked.

‘Shiranee!’ Manilka stood up for the women.

‘Old news – she can’t do what even SF could not do,’ Mahendran found his voice.

There was silence.

‘Sajith,’ Dayal hissed. 

Mahendran and Shiran said ‘Yes!’ as though on cue while the shrewd Mutukrishna figured that it was Dayal who was taking the cue from the approving duo. 

‘No way.  Not with Ranil around,’ Manilka objected.
‘How about Karu?’ Surya threw another name into the pot. 

‘No!’  both Mahendran and Shiran were so loud in their objection that Karu’s name didn’t figure in the rest of the discussion.  No reasons given.  None asked for. 

‘So what do we do?’  Suharshi asked quietly.

‘We hope like hell that Plan A works because we really don’t have a Plan B,’ Dr Mutukrishna said.

The meeting was adjourned for tea.  Shiran, Mahendran and Dayal found a corner to discuss progress.

‘It has to be either Ranil or Sajith now, because either way MR will win and this means we can position Sajith to take over the UNP,’ Shiran said.

‘People don’t take the long view,’ Mahendran observed, adding ‘we want a President who WE control and Sajith is almost like a puppy dog now!’

‘The two of you were brilliant, objecting to Karu!’ Dayal smiled.

Break was over but the hard work was already done.



Anonymous said...

Malinda who started as a responsible journalist is transforming himself to be another worthless writer of scrap. Its SAD.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

Really? How about some critique instead of his-vachana? :)