‘If nephew doesn’t do what uncle did…’
This is a popular subject among political analysts and cartoonists. They recall JR’s public statement during the 1982 presidential election that he would fold the country’s electoral map, they make political commentary and draw cartoons depicting that and his nephew is too attempting to do the same.
But the reality is that uncle is not an uncle who is afraid of voting like this nephew.
Mrs. Bandaranaike established the Sri Lankan tradition of postponing elections. It came from her United Front government of 1970 to 1977. She became prime minister after winning the general election in 1970, and a new constitution was passed, with a clause added to extend the term of parliament by two-thirds power, and the term of office was extended to two years. J.R., the opposition leader at the time, was opposed to extending the term of office without elections.
To show that there is no public support for this extension, he resigned from his parliamentary seat in Colombo South. This decision of JR was opposed by his own party, U.N.P. JR’s idea was that all the MPs of the party should resign and face a by-election. Due to the reluctance of some MPs, JR made that decision alone. When his close friends advised that JR’s politics could end if he lost in the by-elections, JR faced the by-election without fear.
The government of Mrs.Bandaranaiake, employed maximum state power and terrorism to try to defeat JR. However, JR recorded an impressive win. That’s how JR was able drag a government with two thirds majority which extended the parliamentary term by two years to an election and bring to its knees in front of the people.
No more proof is needed to say JR never feared elections. After winning the general election in 1977, he faced a by-election in Anamaduwa. Instead of local government elections, he faced a development council election. A snap presidential election was called in 1982 ahead of schedule. He won the 1982 presidential election, which was a landslide victory. After that, he made a stupid decision. That is, holding a referendum instead of a general election.
If there had been a general election, he would have won a resounding victory. But he was afraid that a strong opposition would come to parliament according to the proportional voting system that he had created. This referendum is referred to in J.R.’s biography as the dignity-destroying referendum. In fact, during that time, if there had been a general election, Vijaya Kumarathunga, Rohana Wijeweera and Colvin would have been re-elected to the parliament. If that were so, J.V.P. terror would not have risen. LTTE in the north would not have immerged. The leaders of the armed gangs, including the organization, were also likely to have the opportunity to come to the parliament. If that had been the case, the violence of the Tamil armed gangs that already existed in the north would not have developed into a war.
JR wreaked havoc on himself and the country with this referendum. He did, however, hold by-elections to fill the seats of the UNP ministers who were defeated in the referendum. Dinesh Gunawardena was elected to parliament in this by-election. At the same time, he held elections for local governments. By-elections for the Minneriya and Kundasale constituencies were held shortly after these elections.
By-elections were held in Ratnapura when the country was on fire against the 1987 Indo-Lanka Pact. During the 88-89 period of terror, the provincial council elections were held. Southern Army and J.V.P. were engage in hostility and when there was a war between the Indian forces and the LTTE in the north the presidential election was held on the scheduled date. Parliament was dissolved for the general election.
‘So how can you say that uncle is afraid of votes like the nephew..,?’
Uncle was not afraid of votes. If so he will not give his neck to hold the by-elections in Colombo south as the leader of the opposition.
This nephew is not like his uncle and is afraid of voting. After becoming the Prime Minister in 2002, Ranil did not conduct the provincial council elections. He postponed the provincial council elections. After becoming Prime Minister in 2015, he postponed the local government elections together with Maithripala. JR always wanted to test public opinion. He held by-elections, local government, development council, and provincial council elections for that.
As soon as Ranil became the President, he held a discussion with the lawyers of the U.N.P. He made this statement as soon as he took over the government as president and said he wanted to have a referendum to change the electoral system of the country. At that time, he did not speak about having no money to hold a referendum. He was not affected by the country’s economic problems at that time to hold a referendum outside the country’s election process. He must have thought at that time to hold a referendum to postpone the local government elections. But as time went on, it didn’t work. After that came the story that there was no money to hold local government elections.
No matter how much Ranil says that he is updated, he still lives in the era of JR and Premadasa. At that time, there were no two camps called “democratic” and “anti-democratic.” There was no slogan for human rights. The best example of this is David Gladstone, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, who intervened in the election corruption during Premadasa’s government, and later wrote about his experiences in Sri Lanka in a book.
He says that at that time Britain did not use democracy as a condition when dealing with other countries. Also, no inquiry was made about whether the countries doing business with Britain protect human rights. Because of this, he has mentioned that when the Premadasa government asked David Gladstone to leave, the British government did not come forward to protect him.
Ranil was a person who had a great influence on President Premadasa to send Gladstone away as the Leader of the House and Minister of Industry in the Premadasa government at that time. The reason is that the polling station observed by Gladstone was located in Ranil’s friend M.R. Wijesiri’s electorate, who was a general of repression for the JVP. When the opposition questioned the deportation of Gladstone, it was Ranil who justified it.
Now that Ranil has become president, he is planting news in his uncle’s ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper that what happened to Gladstone could happen for the ambassadors of western countries who are pressuring to hold local government election.
Gladstone gave a press conference about his book and said that if what happened to him during Premadasa’s government had happened today, there would have been severe pressure on Premadasa’s government not only from Britain but also from other western countries. The western countries did not intervene in the anti-democratic activities of JR and Premadasa at that time because the world was divided into socialist countries and non-socialist countries.
JR and Premadasa governments were in the non-socialist western camp, the western countries did not question JR and Premadasa about democracy and human rights. By 1994, communist countries including the Soviet Union collapsed and the world was divided into democratic and authoritarian countries. When Western countries aid other countries in the world, they look at whether those countries are socialist or not, but whether they are democratic and protect human rights. If Ranil tries to get rid of an ambassador who is pressuring Ranil to hold the local government election today, it will be sorry .com. to Ranil
Because of this, Ranil should wake up from JR’s dream. Ranil is still in the middle of an ocean watching Netflix films.