Photo courtesy of Daily News

It is a time of desperation, it is a time of hope, it is the end time of selfish deal politics, it is the time for people centered politics, it is the time to transform status quo, it is the time to listen to people, it is time to end old political games, it is the time to embark on a new political culture, it is the time to give up out dated political discourse, it is the time for the politics of new generation, it is the time to move from season of darkness, it is the time to enter the season of light, it is the time to leave the winter of hopelessness, it is the time to enter the spring of hope. [1]

We are at the political crossroads of sorts. At present we have the most undemocratic illegitimate acting president we ever had in this country. Undemocratic in that Ranil was a person whom people democratically rejected, not only him, his whole party, probably because of him. Illegitimate in that Ranil’s appointment violates the constitution. Now we are stuck as Ranil is being promoted as the candidate for presidency by the secretary of SLPP.

Today Ranil says he wants to find an end to the Easter Sunday attack investigations  with foreign help, one cannot help but think about similar statements made about Wasim Thajudeen’s case just before  2015 election, one cannot but think about the cooked (account) books story and while in power protecting the crooks who cooked the books.

At present Sri Lanka is in a transition from conventional deal politics to people centered political culture. The July 9 people’s revolution was an evidence of this transition. On that day Sri Lankans just got on to the street and got into whatever vehicle they could find to reach the aragalaya. People got trains to run for them; this has never happened in Sri Lanka and probably anywhere in the world before. Luckily for us Gotabhaya realized the gravity of the situation and called it quits. If he had decided to challenge, there would have been bloodbath.

If this incident is anything significant, it should show the present politicians what has changed in the voter expectation and what will be the main issue at the next polls. If the present set of politicians are interested in continuing politicking,  they should amend their ways and listen to the masses as some, like Dullas Alahapperuma has already done. If they decide to stick out with deal makers, they are likely to be thrown into the dustbin of political history. This happened in 2015 to Mahinda and happened to UNP and Ranil in 2019. A similar fate befell on Gotabhaya who was favored in 2019 by the masses hoping that he will be the rata hadana viruwa, which sadly was not to be and people threw him out in 2022.

When Ranil was appointed as prime minister there was lots of hope, there was a talk that Japan was to grant $4 billion, which never came through. Then there was a talk about a World Bank loan, which was denied by the world bank on two occasions. Then there was a talk about G7 countries wanting to help Sri Lanka after which the government approached G7 and it did not materialize; in short Ranil brought nothing. Suddenly, the gas and fuel ships are coming. This must raise much concern than relief at this juncture. The fuel minister has stated that the country has to pay an arrears of $700 million for the oil already purchased. The present shipments will cost over $500 million; which company is giving us this fuel on credit, on what  terms , or is this by a company owned by someone who will benefit from maintaining the status quo in Sri Lankan present politics, no one knows. Nothing is transparent.

Political stability of this country is entirely in the hands of parliamentarians right now. The election for the president is going to be between Ranil vs the rest of the candidates. It is not wise to split the votes among  the rest of candidates. If they elect someone who is genuinely keen and able to listen to the people, then there will be real progress. If they elect a person who has been put forward to protect the crooks, then there will be a third wave of people’s uprising which, if challenged, will lead to blood bath. It will be wise not to underestimate people’s power. It is not lack of fuel or other essential items that brought people to Colombo on the July 9 revolution, it was peoples sincere hope for change that brought them in. This change is now possible, it is in the hands of the parliamentarians.

  1. With apologies to Dickens.