POLITICS

Has The Foxy Prez Got Into A Hole?

Politics
Vishvanath
So, it is now clear that President Maithripala Sirisena has failed to get a hole-in-one on the political front. His attempt to make short shrift of the UNP having failed, he claims that he has some more trump cards to play; he has already wasted three of them. He appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minister, prorogued Parliament, which he subsequently dissolved, when he realised that he could not muster a working majority by engineering crossovers. He did not come up trumps. His latest move—the dissolution of ...Continued

On A Wing And A Prayer

Politics
Vishvanath
Both the UNP and the UPFA-SLPP combine are readying themselves for a grand showdown on the political front. The former flexed its muscles, on Tuesday, by bringing large crowds to Colombo in protest against the appointment of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. That show of strength was a success; it must have boosted the morale of the beleaguered party leadership considerably. The UNP deserves praise for ending its protest without causing untoward incidents. So far so good! The UPFA and the SLPP ...Continued

Never The Twain Shall Meet

Politics
Vishvanath
Speculation is rife in political circles that a caretaker government with the Joint Opposition (JO) and the SLFP/UPFA as parties thereto is in the offing. Weekly political columns are replete with juicy accounts of the JO big guns and President Maithripala Sirisena rendezvousing. It is said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Maithripala Sirisena have had several rounds of talks on rapprochement, albeit without much success. Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and President Sirisena have also powwowed though they are sworn political enemies, we are ...Continued

Winds Of Crisis, Grins And Grimaces

Politics
Vishvanath
These are bad times for elephants. The last few weeks have seen more than a dozen of them perish in the outback. Some of them were knocked down by a speeding train. It was only the other day that a herd of wild jumbos drowned in a swamp. The Grand Old Party, which has the elephant as its symbol, is also getting bogged down in a politico-economic mire with no hope of rescue. The harder it struggles to escape, the deeper it gets sucked in. ...Continued

Stool Pigeon Squeals; The Plot Thickens

Politics
Vishvanath
The government, troubled by a surfeit of issues, now has some more seemingly intractable ones to contend with. One of them has the potential to sour relations between the SLFP and the UNP further.   One may have expected the allegation that there was a plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be treated sceptically by one and all. The person who revealed the alleged plot is not a prominent figure with credibility. He is a police informant doubling ...Continued

‘Occupy Colombo’ In The Offing?

Politics
Vishvanath
The Joint Opposition’s Janabalaya Colombata protest is just a foretaste of what to come. The ruling coalition did not expect the JO to stage such a successful rally. It had done everything in its power to sabotage the protest while claiming, in public, that it did not care a damn about the event. Private bus owners had been warned that if they released buses for transporting people for the protest, they would lose their route permits. Many bus operators fell in line, and an irate ...Continued

Presidency Vs Premiership – Perceptions, Ironies And ‘New Reality’

Politics
Vishvanath
The next presidential election is more than a year away, but things are already livening up on the political front with some potential candidates throwing their hats into the ring. The UNP, the SLFP and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) have launched their polls campaigns. President Maithripala Sirisena has indicated his desire for contesting and the UNP is sure to field Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is being promoted as the SLPP candidate. But Sri Lankan politics is full of ...Continued

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
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