Following the announcement of the 2015 presidential election results, revealing Maithripala Sirisena’s imminent victory, Mahinda Rajapaksa orchestrated a clandestine meeting with the Inspector General of Police and the Army Commander. Together, they devised a plan to employ the police and army forces to forcibly retain the presidency. This covert scheme was brought to light by opposition MP Mangala Samaraweera during a press briefing on January 11, 2015, wherein he disclosed the details to both domestic and international media outlets.
Inspector General of Police N.K. Ilangakon stated emphatically that the police cannot be involved in this conspiracy. Army Commander Daya Rathnayake stated that he is not willing to call the army to keep Mahinda Rajapakse in power as part of a conspiracy…
This is how Mangala saluted the then army commander Daya Ratnayake who held a free and fair election and protected the country through a peaceful transfer of power. Maithripala Sirisena promoted Daya Ratnayake to the post of General a month after he was sworn in as President in 2015 because he did not engage in politics in the army even though he was the army commander in Mahinda’s government.
Daya Ratnayake stands out as a silent hero whose dedicated service played a crucial role in securing victory during the war. A pivotal moment for Mahinda’s government in the conflict was the successful capture of Toppigala. Leading the Eastern Infantry Division, stationed in Wakare and Toppigala, Ratnayake exhibited remarkable bravery throughout the operation. However, despite the strategic significance of Toppigala’s capture, then-opposition leader and U.N.P leader Ranil Wickremesinghe dismissed it as merely seizing control of a jungle.
When the victory stemming from the Toppigal conflict was announced, opposition figures such as Ranil Wickremesinghe, along with MPs Mangala Samaraweera and Ravi Karunanayake, sought to diminish its significance. They likened the territorial gains to Kilinochchi moving to Medawachchi and Alimankada to Pamankada. Responding to this criticism, at Mahinda Rajapaksa’s behest, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka publicly confronted Ranil, Mangala, and Ravi during public gatherings. However, individuals like Daya Ratnayake chose to maintain their focus on military matters rather than engaging in political discourse. Notably, Ratnayake held the position of Army Commander when the UN Human Rights Commission passed resolutions against Sri Lanka.
Regardless of how much Mahinda’s government pressed Army Commander Daya Ratnayake to claim that the opposition is conspiring with the United Nations Human Rights Commission to bring those proposals, he refused to discuss politics while serving in the military.
In addition to Daya Ratnayake, former Navy Commander Daya Sandagiri also played a pivotal role. Serving as Navy Commander during Chandrika Kumaratunga’s presidency, Sandagiri worked diligently to strengthen the Navy, contributing significantly to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government’s war efforts under the leadership of Navy Commander Karnagoda. Sandagiri held his position during a period when Chandrika was President and Ranil Wickremesinghe served as Prime Minister.
Despite being approached by Chandrika’s government to use his position to challenge Ranil Wickremesinghe’s ceasefire agreement with Prabhakaran, Sandagiri steadfastly refused to involve himself in political manoeuvres, choosing to uphold the integrity of his role as a naval commander.
However, Sarath Fonseka, who held the position of Commander-in-Chief of the North, drew the ire of Ranil’s government by submitting a report to President Chandrika indicating his intention to withdraw military bases in the north as part of Ranil’s ceasefire agreement.
Daya Ratnayake and Daya Sandagiri are prominent gentlemen. They worked for the country’s elected president. This is their military duty. However, neither of them entered politics to impress the president.
Daya Ratnayake was a village boy who attended Maliyadeva School in Kurunegala and rose to the rank of army commander. His father’s name is Muthu Banda. Mother, Ranmanika. Daya Sandagirit is similar to that. Born in Veyangoda. He attended St Mary’s College in Kegalle. Because of his rural upbringing, he now farms for recreation.
Both recently joined the Samagi Jana Balawega to support opposition leader Sajith Premadasa. Sarath Fonseka, a former army commander and president of the party, was handed over to Samagi Jana Balavega two or three years ago to form a force of retired army officers. However, Sarath Fonseka did not do that and instead criticised Sajith’s leadership and Samagi Jana Balavega. Sajith appointed Sarath Fonseka as the party’s president despite the party’s senior members saying that UNP tradition is to appoint a minority as the party president.
Sarath Fonseka joined U.N.P after 2015 but Ranil did not give him a key position. When Maithripala was planning to offer him the police minister ship, Ranil opposed it. Later he got the Ministry of Wildlife. But Sajith and Samagi Jana Balavega gave him the post of party president. Sajith also said that Samagijana Balawegaya will offer him the Minister of Defense in their government.
‘Why did Fonseka take the post of chairman and start attacking Sajith and Samagi Jana Balavega…?’
Fonseka took political decisions consulting MP Diana’s husband Senaka Silva, who was in charge of his political affairs in the 2010 presidential election. Fonseka admitted that he went with Senaka Silva to meet Gotabhaya to get Gotabhaya’s prime ministership during the ‘aragalaya’.
At that time, he went to meet Gotabhaya without informing Sajith or the party. During this period, Diana was associated with the Rajapaksa family. Diana aligned herself with the Rajapaksas by supporting the 20th constitutional amendment bill, which aimed to increase Gotabhaya’s powers. Subsequently, when Ranil assumed the presidency, she became aligned with Ranil’s camp.
Given this context, Diana, being the wife of Senaka Silva, attempted to reconcile the rivalry between Fonseka and his arch-enemy Gotabhaya, it is not surprising to deduce today who may have played the role of matchmaker between Fonseka and Ranil.
When the ‘aragalaya’ started, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya marched from Kandy to Colombo to send Gotabhaya home. In the last meeting of that march, Fonseka criticized the organizer Harin Fernando on the stage of the same rally saying that he was left behind in the list of speakers and pulled the rally and the meeting to low levels.
He attacked the recent protest against Samagi Jana Balawegaya against Ranil and insulted the protest by saying that there was no crowd. Ranil’s government would not have attacked the protest if the people did not come to the protest. Fonseka forgot that too. Now Fonseka is saying that Daya Ratnayake should be removed because he is Gota’s man. Fonseka used to be Gota’s man. During the ‘aragalaya’, he negotiated to take over the post of prime minister from Gota.
Fonseka was the presidential candidate of UNP and JVP in 2010. Joined the JVP in the 2010 general election and came to parliament from the JVP list. During his imprisonment, he discussed rejoining the UNP After being released from prison, he separated from the JVP and started a new party. In 2015, he tried to become the presidential candidate. Later he wanted to support Maithripala. In the 2010 general election, he sought votes from his party and suffered a crushing defeat. Later he came to the parliament from the national list of UNP and attacked Maithri openly amid the applause of the Rajapaksas.
After that, he scolded Ranil and joined Sajith. He was a popular figure during the ‘aragalaya’. and became popular after Ranil became president when Samagi Jana Balawegaa was afraid of Ranil, he verbally attacked Ranil fearlessly and declared that he would start the second ‘aragalaya’ to oust Ranil from the presidential chair.
Today, when the Samagi Jana Balawegaya walked out of the Parliament against Ranil’s Throne’s speech, he was in the House in support of Ranil. It was also reported that Ranil met and discussed.
‘Where does Fonseka go from here…?’
After the ‘aragalaya’, it is impossible to imagine that Fonseka, who was famous for catching thieves better than JVP, will eventually join Ranil’s government, which keeps thieves.