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Architects of Political change in Sri Lanka

| by Rifai

( January 15, 2015, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) People in Sri Lanka made a political history in this election. It is often said and reported that this election was won by president Maithri with minorities’ votes. This claim is disputable. It is partially true that minorities played a role in the victory of Maithri and yet, the majorities (Sinhalese people) too played a greater role to make sure that Maithri win this election. Suppose, had a half million more Sinhalese people voted for Mahinda he would have won this election or if a half million people from Tamil or Sinhalese did not vote for Maithri, Mahinda would have won this election. Therefore, it can be said the Sinhalese people as majority played a crucial role in the outcomes of this election in Sri Lanka. They could bring some one into power or defeat in any presidential election. This is a fact of matter when they constitute the majority of the population.

All community should learn and know how to put common good over personal interest, national interest over personal interest, today, particularly, elected MPs should be good examples for good governance.
Yet, minority will have a say in some precarious situations. Image that Sinhalese people equally support both candidate. Only in this case, minorities could be a deciding factor in any presidential election. In this presidential victory no community can claim any monopoly over victory. All three communities contributed to Maithri’s victory, even Catholic community from Sinhalese areas greatly contributed to this victory, for Instance, in Negambo Maithri won with support of catholic votes.

I think that there was a master planning behind this victory. It did not happen abruptly overnight. Rather this political drama was meticulously planned and well executed by some of best political minds and intellectuals in Sri Lanka. Former president CKB, Ranil, Sajith, Karu, General Fonseka, JHU, JVP and other Tamil and Muslim parties too played their role to secure this victory. I think many people worked behind the scene to bring about this change. Neither one community nor one individual could claim any special credibility for this change. This was a collective effort of many people. This dramatic change tells us how ingenious Sri Lanka political minds are. It also tells us how things could change in politics. In politics things could change in matter of minutes. Friends could become enemies and enemies could become friends in matter of days.

I think this political change was well planned many months ago by opposition leaders. Some high profile Singhalese political leaders planned and executed this political drama so meticulously and methodologically. This shows their political wisdom and maturity. Third world countries could learn lessons from Sri Lanka political leadership how to play political games in precarious conditions. Just image how tense was the political climate soon after the date was fixed for the presidential election. No one knows who the common candidate was from opposition party. With all government apparatus in their hands, former president did not know who will be his political competitor. Neither intelligence service nor inside journalists could find out who will be the competitor. In such meticulous and mysterious way, these people moved the political post in a right direction without leaking any information about the common candidate until the last movement. Former president did not image that his political opponent will be from his own cabinet. His political enemy came out form his inner circle. Psychologically it was a big political blow for former president. We could notice this from his body language.

CKB and Ranil unity

MR did not expect that CKB could play any positive politics and yet, she played a greater role in the downfall of MR. She tirelessly worked during the election campaign like her Mum. Her mum used to go remote villages in Sri Lanka during her election campaign. Same like her Mum CBK did work hard to get some hard-core SLFP supporter into Maithri camp. This was another blow for MR in this election. UNP has got some grass root support some areas such as Colombo, Kandy and other cities, hard-core UNP votes even from Sinhalese community did not go for MR rather most of them went to Maithri. MR’s camp did try to spread rumour about Sajith and General Fonkesa’s defection and yet, they dispelled such rumours in their meeting. Moreover, people did not have any faith in MR’s supporters for their corruption and fraudulent activities. Moreover, the camp of common candidate maintained the unity until last minutes. Only a few UNP supporters defected to MR’s camp. All these contributed to the victory of Maithri.


I think that AKD ( Anura Kumara Dissanayake) played a greater role in downfall of MR. No doubt about that. His charismatic speeches attracted millions of youths. No doubt his eloquent speeches mesmerised and captivated millions of people. Indeed, his speeches have created political awakening among Sri Lankans. Ground work was mostly done by JVP team so that Maithri capitalised on that. No doubt about this because, Maithri camp did have eloquent speakers like that of JVP camp. Although JVP did not share the same political platforms and yet, JVP’s meetings indeed, influenced millions of Sinhalese specially educated people, I have not seen any Sinhalese leader speaks like AKD; He speaks in plain Sinhala language but with eloquence. He substantiates his argument with evidence and sometime with statistics. People could listen to him for hours without any feeling of boredom. Sometime he speaks sarcastically to draw the attention of his audience.

Sajth and Karu

They too played a greater role. Both did not defect with MR. MR promised them some concession and rewards and yet, Sajth said he did not want to be disloyal to his father’s political party. Sajith too has got grass roots support in some areas. No doubt his support was also crucial in the victory of Maithri. We all Sri Lankans should be grateful to all these political leaders who save this great nation from the brink of economic bankruptcy and one family political hegemony. The country was almost inclining into authoritarian and totalitarian government. Yet, people who love to see flourishing democracy in Sri Lanka did a great job to save this country from the grip of political disaster. Sri Lankan is a blessed nation since its independence it has maintained its democratic tradition. There has been no military coup or political dictatorship. Power has been smoothly handed over to winning party without any blood bath. It is indeed a real blessing for this nation. Political leadership has taken right decision at right time. Political wisdom and rational thinking of leaders prevailed over emotional political attachment of party politics. This was clearly exemplified in Ranil and CKB unity and cooperation. CKB and Ranil swiftly acted in the greater interest of this nation. There are lots of lesson to learn from this political example.

Election commissioner and Army chief

Another land mark in the history of Sri Lankan democracy is that both Election commissioner and Army chief did their best to protect democratic tradition of this nation. They did not compromise democratic rights of people. They did not bow down the demand of former president camp. They did their duties and responsibilities professionally. In return they earn goodwill of majority of people in Sri Lanka. They did not obey undemocratic demands of some people. This democratic tradition values should be protected and persevered in our country. Next generation could learn a lot from this election.

All community should learn and know how to put common good over personal interest, national interest over personal interest, today, particularly, elected MPs should be good examples for good governance. His Excellency President Maithripala in his advice for newly elected MPs rightly said. You should put your public duties and responsibilities over your personal interest, you should not have greed for post and power rather you should be dedicated to public service. All fraudulent activities will be brought into court of justice whoever engages in them. What a golden thought from an honest, Leader.

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