UNP’s Failing, Flailing Electoral Strategy

Despite all the bluster, the UNP’s electoral prospects are terrible. Here’s why.

The Sirisena-Ranil alliance has created Sri Lanka’s first ever police state. Attempts to delay the elections until Mahinda was neutralized – through assassination or phony “war crimes” charges – failed thanks to the greed of Ranil’s close friend Arjun Mahendran. The exposure of the greatest financial crime in Sri Lankan history, one whose impact will be felt for many years in shaken investor confidence, caused parliament’s dissolution, as Sirisena was determined to bail out his puppet master.

Re-writing history seems to be UNP’s latest desperation tactic. From: UNP official Twitter page

In the general election 2015, we have a rematch of the presidential election of 2005. This time, the job in contention is prime minister, but after the passage of the 19 Amendment, the power now lies with this post, rather than the presidency. The policies, personalities, and projects which make up the two camps are almost unchanged from that earlier contest too.

In many ways, the Sri Lankan electorate is lucky that things turned out this way. They are being offered two contrasting – polar opposite – paths for the future. There is no more of the murkiness of a contest between Mahinda and Sarath Fonseka, or Mahinda and Sirisena. Instead, we have Ranil’s campaign of hate pitted against Mahinda’s vision for a future of rapid development which was halted after January 8th.

Ranil’s Motivation
Ranil wants to rule the country. The only thing standing in his way is the utter disgust that the majority of voters have towards him. This is mainly because of his shameless betrayal of the nation – signing the CFA with Prabhakaran, and then joining the “war crimes” bandwagon against Mahinda. Ranil’s one and only aim now is to destroy Mahinda.

After one week of campaigning, Ranil’s attack plans seem clear. Let’s get to it.

Attack: Mahinda’s character
This worked fairly well in the January election as it made a lot of swing voters in the Sinhalese population vote for Sirisena. But the lack of evidence to prove Sirisena-Ranil’s allegations about Lambos, horses and helicopters has really dented this attack line. Mahinda was so clean, he didn’t even have a house in Colombo, and cussard Sirisena-Ranil still haven’t granted him an official residence as is his right as former-president. Furthermore, while caricaturing Mahinda as an evil “dictator” worked last time, today we all can see that the real dictatorship began on January 9th, with Ranil-Sirisena’s police state and unconstitutional regime of thuggery.

Summary of attack: baseless, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: Mahinda is violent
During the nomination saga, it was alleged that Mahinda had physically attacked Susil. Susil denied this allegation completely. Later, it was alleged that Mahinda tried to attack a supporter, and many websites, including the infamous filth-laden Colombo Telegraph, purported to have a video of this.

The story was also taken up by DailyMirror, who after a few days of plotting, shamelessly made this info-graphic.

DailyMirror continues its tradition of propaganda for anti-national forces. Here they have covered up the beginning of this incident, where an agitator first attacks Mahinda. A few years earlier, they labelled photos of the SouthernExpressway as “moda-way”. From http://www.dailymirror.lk/media/images/MR-Akuressa-Incident-600-1.jpg

Look at the text they are using, just like during the presidential campaign, they are fabricating a narrative which does is not corroborated by the actual evidence present.

Here is a video zoom-in clearly showing what happened.

Here is the key frame, which Daily Mirror has intentionally censored in order to reverse the roles, and make Mahinda look like an attacker when actually he was defending himself:

Mahinda under attack by agitators. From: UPFA official Twitter page

Looking at the videos and images above, it is clear that some thug tried to pull Mahinda into the crowd and harm him. Mahinda raised up his other hand as he tried to free himself. Mahinda’s bodyguards then pushed him away, and Mahinda’s hand was injured by the attacker.

Summary of attack: baseless, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: Mahinda’s infrastructure projects
Sirisena said that he would continue the huge construction projects around the country, and not only that, but he would build three times more by saving money from corruption. People fell for this, too back in January. However, within days of seizing power, Sirisena-Ranil dictatorship cancelled every single project. They are yet to recommence. People have realized that if they want any more of the much-needed infrastructure development, along with clean cities, they must vote for Mahinda.

Summary of attack: baseless, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: Mahinda’s choice of seat
At one point during the nomination saga, several websites reported that Mahinda was to be given nominations from the UPFA, but with several conditions. This included that Mahinda could only contest from Hamabantota. After Mahinda got his unconditional nomination, he decided to contest from Kurunegala. Now what we must ask is, seeing as Mahinda defeated Ranil-Sirisena’s plot to confine him to Hambantota, why should he do what Ranil-Sirisena wanted? He can contest from wherever he wants, and Kurunegala is as good as any. Ranil (and Sajith) thinks that going on about this “desertion” of Hambantota will somehow make people reconsider voting for UPFA in Hambantota, and will cost Mahinda votes in Kurunegala too. But it is a very weak line of attack.

There is also a rumor being spread that Mahinda is worried about the popularity of Dayasiri, who obtained a very large number of votes from the district at the last provincial election. The number of votes Mahinda will get is irrelevant, as we have an example to follow from Ranil. Ranil has less votes than Wimal in Colombo, but still Ranil was made prime minister even though his party was also smaller than Wimal’s.

Summary of attack: baseless, cheap, lies, failure
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: Mahinda is power-hungry
Since Mahinda announced his intent to contest, Ranil and also Mangala have been complaining that this is a sign of “power-hunger.” The fact that Mahinda was dragged back into politics by the people, desperate for his guidance and leadership, is ignored. The fact is that Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims alike realize that they were far better off before January 8. It is because of this groundswell of support that Mahinda was able to return to front-line politics, and even ram through all objections to get on the UPFA/SLFP ticket.

The people know who is the real power-crazed one. Who has lost 29 elections in a row over the course of decades, and yet still does not retire? Who sneaked into power on the back of Sirisena’s election victory, violating the Constitution to do so? Who acts like a dictator whenever he gets anywhere near the reins of the country? Who went around the country saying that he had received tuition on how to win the election from the USA? The answer to all these questions is Ranil, and by extension, the UNP. The UNP is a one-man band, and their theme song “Ranil, Ranil” only proves it.

Summary of attack: baseless, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: Sirisena’s on-air mental breakdown
Completely insulting the intellect of the people and creating an affront to democratic norms and principles, Sirisena came on state TV to denounce Mahinda Rajapaksa, and to say that even if Mahinda won the election, Sirisena would not respect the will of the people. He said he would instead appoint a different UPFA member as prime minister.

Ranil-Sirisena totally miscalculated. Sirisena’s name is as good as mud these days in Sri Lanka, and so his deranged tantrum only galvanized the people all the more to vote for Mahinda, to ensure that he has enough seats to form the next government.

Summary of attack: demoralization, baseless, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: UPFA is divided
Following on from the above attack line, we have the canard being spread that the UPFA is divided. Ranil-Sirisena hoped Mahinda would break off from the UPFA and form a new party after the January election. Sirisena’s tantrum was meant to demoralize and divide the party. Instead, the party in its entirety rallied around Mahinda. At the Anuradhapura rally, 99% or more of the party’s MP’s arrived and even took an oath that they would all work solely to make Mahinda the prime minister.

Summary of attack: demoralization, baseless, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: Ranil brings Good governance
There is plenty of evidence to show that the Ranil-Sirisena regime has brought the exact opposite of good governance to Sri Lanka. For their first rally in Kandy, Ranil used as his backdrop an image of both DS Senanayake and SWRD Bandaranayake together (image is above). This is a disgrace. First of all we all know SWRD broke off from the UNP. Secondly we know that if either DS or SWRD were alive today, they would be appalled at the anti-national stance taken by Ranil’s UNP.

So what was the point of this juxtaposition? The intended message seems to be that the UNP is to bring about a national government which embraces both DS’s and SWRD’s legacies. In reality, the only current politician who can claim either of these great men’s legacies is Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Summary of attack: re-write history, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: China is dangerous
Due to the former colonial powers starting their kangaroo “war crimes” witch hunt against Sri Lanka, for the “crime” of defeating the terrorists who were nurtured in their lands, Mahinda’s government sought help from China. Even during the war, India and certain other countries denied weapons to Sri Lanka, and so the country had to rely on the support of China and Pakistan for high-tech and high-powered weapons. After the war, China became the major source of foreign investment because the former colonials were unable to provide such investment – mainly because they were suffering from the great recession of 2008-9.

During the January election campaign, Sirisena made much of the so-called “ulterior motives” of the Chinese, explicitly stating that Mahinda was mortgaging the country to China. This flies in the face of facts. First, China has never colonized any country. Secondly, even India happily accepts billions of dollars from China to construct highways and railways. What’s more, it is China that provides loans to keep the USA running.

Inherent in this UNP attack line, echoed with much gusto by the local English press, is an extremely ugly, bigoted attitude which can easily be described as Sinophobia. This regressive attitude was also visible in the way RaviK and Mangala went around the world insulting China on numerous trips, and how China was pretty much driven out of the country. Despite all these insults, it was still Chinese ships which rescued Sri Lankans from war-torn Middle-Eastern countries.

Blatant Sinophobia is a key component of the UNP’s demonization of China. From http://www.dailymirror.lk/media/images/cartoon-of-the-day-21_07_2015-600-1.jpg

However, most Sri Lankans aren’t stupid enough to believe these lies about China a second time. What’s more Sri Lankans aren’t racist, and so won’t fall for Sinophobia.

Summary of attack: racism, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: Racism
While the above discussion about China clearly shows who the real racists are, the UNP is very keen to promote this other straw man that Mahinda and the UPFA are racists. The charge began to be made during the 2006-9 final war period. But killing terrorists is not an act of racism. The next piece of “evidence” was the BBS thuggery. But today, the JHU and the BBS both support Sirisena, so it is clear what happened. The BBS was set up specifically to take Muslim votes away from the UPFA. And it worked in January. It is unlikely that the Muslim voters will return to Mahinda this time around.

What’s more important though is what happened a few days ago. At the Sri Lanka – Pakistan cricket match a fight broke out on the stands. For apparently no reason, stones were then thrown at the Pakistani players. A mosque was also reportedly attacked. Luckily the military (not the police of course) moved in and order was restored.

Then, a day or so later, a video clip was spread by the notoriously anti-Sinhalese NGO website Groundviews, which purported to show Mahinda insulting Tamils and Muslims. In fact, this clip was edited from a news report in December in which Mahinda was saying that racists were trying to stir up the Sinhalese against the minorities, and in which Mahinda also pleaded with Muslims and Tamils to reject the racists in their own midst too, as they were trying to divide the country.

And only today, we heard the disturbing news that a bomb had been discovered at Aluthgama, sight of an attack on Muslims by the NGO-backed BBS thugs just a year earlier.

A good response to the allegations can be seen here.

The truth always comes out, and luckily these cheap attempts at scare-mongering about Mahinda have not gained much traction.

Summary of attack: racism, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: UNP-affiliated monks criticize Mahinda’s record, and re-entry to politics
It is telling that these monks never criticize Ranil’s peace treaty with terrorists, Ranil’s readiness to even give Eelam to them, or Ranil’s refusal to retire despite 29 consecutive election defeats. Most people know that any Buddhist monk criticizing Mahinda will immediately be branded as an NGO-sponsored traitor, perhaps not even a real Buddhist at all.

Summary of attack: pathetic, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: Ranil makes random promises
Upon hearing Mahinda would be contesting from Kurunegala, Ranil promised a new Volkswagen factory in Kurunegala. It is pretty obvious that this is a magical factory, which would no doubt have followed Mahinda to Galle, Ratnapura, Hambantota or wherever he decided to contest from.

He has also promised dialysis units, higher prices for grain, roads, and jobs for the youth. Ranil-Sirisena’s record speaks for itself. In 6 months, they haven’t met any of their promises to better the lives of the citizens, but did everything possible to increase the UNP’s power and to oppress SLFP/UPFA politicians on false charges. People aren’t fools.

Summary of attack: pathetic, cheap, lies
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Attack: UNP is clean and good at economic matters
The last 6 months has seen Sri Lanka descend into stagnation, corruption, thuggery, a police state with a Nazi-style Gestapo in the FCID, and dictatorship with an unelected, unconstitutional minority regime. The bond scam, and the subsequent suppression of the report into this scam which cost the country billions, has left the UNP’s credibility in tatters.

Compounding their woes is the economic collapse we have witnessed since Ranil and Ravi got their hands on the nation’s coffers. They seem to have absolutely no strategy for economic development. And having chased China out, they are unable to find any other investors with either the will or the capital to invest in Sri Lanka. No one will vote for Ranil-Sirisena’s dictatorship if they want economic competence.

Summary of attack: lie, failure
Effectiveness of attack: Not effective

Desperation Plans
Seeing as all these pathetic attack lines are not based on facts, they all have failed. As things get tougher for Ranil day by day, expect the likelihood of the following scenarios occurring to increase.

1. Assassination of Mahinda: Ranil is in a real fix. He must have realized by now that his unique brand of lies, lies, more lies, sucking up to foreigners, re-writing history, and treating people like idiots is going to fail. Because of this, it is possible that Ranil-Sirisena dictatorship plans to “remove” Mahinda from the equation by killing him. On July 21, it was reported that 3 armed soldiers, dressed in civilian clothes, were arrested in a vehicle with fake number plates, near Mahinda’s and Gota’s place of residence. It is extremely important that security remains tight to prevent these sorts of assassination attempts.

2. Cancelling the election: Knowing they are going to lose, Ranil-Sirisena dictatorship may be trying to use some kind of excuse to declare a state of emergency and cancel the elections indefinitely. It is likely they will try to create a Sinhala-Muslim race-riot to achieve this. The extremely strange events at the cricket match, as well as the bomb plot afterwards, points to this as their current aim.

History teaches us that in the end, the will of the decent, good, majority wins the day. Sirisena and Ranil and both cornered. They are evil. They are the minority. They are hugging each other. They are scared that justice will be done, that Mahinda will win, and that they will have to face the courts for the crimes they have committed.

But they are cornered tigers, and they are ruthless, violent, and cunning. They will stop at nothing to hold on to their ill-gotten power. Everyone must remain vigilant. Make sure the elections go ahead at any cost. Don’t let the Ranil-Sirisena dictatorship divide us.


One thought on “UNP’s Failing, Flailing Electoral Strategy

  1. Metteyya Brahmana

    Could not have said it any better myself. This writer is SPOT ON concerning all issues. The only thing I can add is the US really is behind all of this maneuvering by Ranil and the UNP to gain power in Sri Lanka, and their chief interest is to use Sri Lanka’s strategic location near key shipping lanes to “contain” China’s rise and influence in support of US hegemony.


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