POLITICS

Will MR Cut The Gordian Knot?

Politics
Vishvanath
The SLFP is no stranger to dissention, conspiracies, revolts and breakaways. Its history has been replete with such instances. It suffered a debilitating split and lost the last presidential election in 2015 owing to a dispute over the premiership, which several key party notables had been eyeing. Maithripala Sirisena voted with his feet and went on to become the President. The SLFP-led UPFA failed to win the last general election, again due to a falling-off over premiership. President Sirisena refused to make his immediate predecessor ...Continued

Government Braces For Showdown; JO Limbers Up

Politics
Vishvanath
It looks as if the government had come to terms with the fact that it cannot go on postponing the provincial council polls till the cows come home. Both the UNP and the SLFP have gone into overdrive to impress the electorate with what they call mega development drives. Besides, everything is now in place to make the wheels of justice spin; the newly established High Courts will start trials against the grandees of the previous dispensation. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ...Continued

Gota in MR’s Den and a Din Over a Wish

Politics
Vishvanath
Never a dull day in Sri Lanka! Some interesting issue crops up, almost daily, causing a sensation. The last two weeks have been of particular interest; we have witnessed a host of issues, the most important one being the passage of the much-delayed National Audit Bill (NAB). There was hardly any public debate on this vital law, which would have been put center stage and subjected to a lengthy public debate in any other country. The media apparently did not consider the NAB sexy enough ...Continued

The Furore over the Fuehrer

Politics
Vishvanath
Hitler, who is either suffering the eternal torments of hell or is in the bardo, must be wondering why on earth he has been dragged into the cesspit of Sri Lankan politics. (For want of carpets he must be biting something else.) What must be hurting most must be the fact that the Sri Lankans of his ilk are condemning him as a monster, though they are ready to do as he did, given half a chance. The yahapalana government’s chips have been really down. ...Continued

In the firing line

Politics
Vishvanath
These seem to be bad times for former Defence Secretaries—one identified with the present dispensation and the other with the Opposition. They are under fire, albeit for different reasons. Austin Fernando, who calls himself ‘peacetime’ Defence Secretary, in his wisdom, came out of retirement to serve as the Secretary to the President; he was in the firing line over his refusal to release the entire presidential bond probe commission report without the state prosecutor’s nod. He is a man of peace, but some civil society ...Continued

‘Golden horses’ and Trojan horses

Politics
Vishvanath
Propaganda and infiltration play a vital role in determining the outcomes of not only military conflicts but also electoral contests. The seemingly invincible fail in war or politics alike due to their own blunders or their enemies’ brilliant ideas. Having fought a ten-year war against Troy, the Greeks were about to return home when someone came up with the idea of a wooden horse, which became a game changer. The rest is history. President Mahinda Rajapaksa failed to secure a third term in 2015 because ...Continued

Gota shows his hand; Ranil laughs up his sleeve

Politics
Vishvanath
Sri Lanka is where it is, mainly because it is perennially in a state of confusion. Seventy years have elapsed since it gained Independence from the British, but it still cannot decide on a system of government suited for it. Experiments are still on with different government models and electoral systems while other nations are forging ahead, achieving as they do success in every sphere of activity. With only one and a half years to go for the next presidential election, the government and the ...Continued

A caged jumbo, elephantine woes and a ‘red wedge’

Politics
Vishvanatha
A pall of political instability has descended on the country and taken a heavy toll on all vital sectors, especially the ailing economy. The government is busy trying to solve its own problems on the political front, but in vain, neglecting critical issues faced by people. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are in an unenviable position, having to contend with seemingly intractable internal problems. They are fighting for their own political survival. Desperate to prevent a further erosion of the SLFP’s vote ...Continued

The plot thickens

Politics
Vishavanth
The sudden prorogation of Parliament, on the eve of the traditional New Year, led to a real hullabaloo, which, however, fizzled out shortly afterwards. Nobody seems to care a damn about the prorogation and the attendant issues anymore, for there has been a severe erosion of public faith in the national legislature, which makes little or no contribution to national progress. Its members meet, shout, exchange blows, trade insults, gormandize and disperse. Even during crucial debates most of the comfy seats remain empty. Questions raised ...Continued

Ranil lives to fight another day

Politics
Vishvanath
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has demonstrated his survival skills once again. He has lived up to his reputation as a master escapologist without compare. We argued in a previous column that he shouldn’t be underestimated and escapology was his forte. That he would survive the no-faith motion against him, on Wednesday (April 04), in Parliament was a foregone conclusion. It was a simple numbers game, the outcome of which was not difficult to guess. Even if 10 UNP MPs had either voted for the motion ...Continued

Escapology, waiting game and gambling

Politics
Vishvanath
The nail of the little finger of your left hand has grown imperceptibly over the weeks and the ugly patch of ‘indelible’ ink, applied thereon at the Feb. 10 local government election, has vanished.  A healthy finger nail is said to grow at a rate of 3 mm a month. And, a wag says this is the pace at which the government has set about getting the newly elected local government bodies to function. Some of these institutions have begun functioning nearly one and a ...Continued

Riots, mutinies and whammies

Politics
Vishvanath
It never rains but it pours. There seems to be no end in sight to the problems besetting the yahapalana government, which is like a house on a land acquired for a road widening project; it exists on borrowed time. President Maithripala Sirisena seems to be playing his cards well. Before the February 10 mini polls, the UNP had been busy undermining his position in the unity government. Some of the UNP ministers turned so hostile towards the President’s men and women that they went so far as to ask their ...Continued
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