TNA as Opposition: Both Right and Wrong

As the self-appointed “yahapalanaya” movement rejoices at Sambandan’s selection as Leader of the Opposition, we cannot forget that we’ve been here once before — with disastrous consequences.

What happened in parliament on September 3, 2015 was a complete disgrace — though it was legally and procedurally correct. The TNA is the largest party outside of the government, and therefore must be the Official Opposition of the country. This has led to a situation that is analagous to the 1970s when Amirthalingam occupied the post that Sambandan has been gifted. Sambandan’s recent installation is however wrong, in the moral sense and also in the democractic context.

The TNA is a regional, chauvinistic, Tamil secessionist front. From 1948 to 2009 and beyond, the TNA in its various mutations were loyal mouthpieces of Tamil superiority, Tamil privilege, Tamil militancy and barbaric Tamil terrorism. Sambandan has consistently praised Prabhakaran, himself a product of the TNA’s hateful mono-ethnic anti-Sinhala, anti-Buddhist chauvinism. Most recently, at the TNA’s first election rally in July 2015, Sambandan and the entire TNA leadership proclaimed that even in death Prabhakaran is still their undisputed leader.

The TNA is therefore neither able nor willing to function as a real democractic Opposition. The TNA, by definition, by its very nature, can only be an “opposition” to the Sinhalese Buddhist core of the country, and not a counter-balance to a UNP-SLFP coalition government (NB. It is a coalition government, and not a national government by any stretch of the imagination!). The very existence of this “government” is anathema to democracy and a flagrant violation of the peoples’ will as expressed on August 17, 2015.

Though technically in the current UNP-SLFP coalition setup the third largest party should be the Opposition, it is wrong for the Opposition to be a narrow-based, mono-ethnic party, from far-flung barren lands, which draws its votes from less than 10% of the population. If the TNA was really a responsible, pluralistic, democratic party, they would have done the decent thing and said “thanks, but no thanks” to the Opposition post. Of course, their appointment to this post is part of a plan to tarnish, vilify and eventually reverse the victory over Tamil terrorism in 2009, and only a fool would give up such a chance.

The disaster of the war period can be traced back to the oppressive and anti-people policies followed by JR Jayawardane in his dictatorial quest to gain revenge for a life of missed opportunities. He was so desperate to be leader, but had to wait till he was in his 70s (how ironic that the same history repeated for his equally ambitious but electorally unpopular nephew, Ranil). It is highly likely that JRJ held a grudge against the Sinhalese masses for delaying his ascension to power by favoring others over him for so many years. And so he began a process of suppression, censorship, and vulture capitalism, enforced by bands of thugs and a Gestapo-style internal police regime — Ranil’s FCID is no doubt modeled on the latter — to fundamentally transform Sri Lanka. The socialist pro-people force was disenfranchised and a rabid right-wing agenda was imposed. He succeeded in transforming the country into a war zone.

A Tamil was leader of the Opposition back then too, again, just as today, for the wrong reasons. The presence of a Tamil from a regional party in that post in the 70s was a bad sign because it meant a complete lack of a broad-based, nation-wide, all-inclusive opposition movement. Amirthalingam’s only interest was more power devolution to Tamil-dominated regions as a precursor to eventual Tamil independence. He did not care about the police state that was terrorizing the Sinhala masses. The Sinhalese Buddhists had no voice in the political space and ended up idiotically and stupidly resorting to the JVP’s marxist terrorism. The presence of a Tamil in the Opposition Leader post today, even coming from essentially the same party that Amirthalingam once led, is a symptom of a complete breakdown of the democratic system of the country. Bad omens indeed.

The current conditions are worse than what happened during JRJ’s era because in that earlier time, JRJ had the legitimacy of a 5/6 majority. That is, the majority of the Sinhalese Buddhists also voted for him. The socialist or left-wing forces were rejected outright. Of course, they came to regret their choice later. But initially, JRJ had a mandate to start his crazy nonsense. Ranil and Sirisena are doing something far worse than JRJ. They are now not only suppressing but actively suffocating the Sinhalese Buddhist polity and their will by preventing their representatives from speaking for them in parliament.

Once again, the political space is closed to the Sinhalese Buddhists. Despite them having done their civic duty by voting for and successfully electing those who would speak for them and represent them. This time however, unlike in the 1970s and 1980s, these voters are mature enough to know that their enemy is not Sambandan or the TNA or the Tamil extremists. It is not even Ranil the traitor. Their enemy is the UPFA in its Sirisena the Madman incarnation: the current president, those UPFA MPs who took ministerial posts, and also those who play a game of being in the opposition but refuse to leave the UPFA.

7 thoughts on “TNA as Opposition: Both Right and Wrong

  1. Pingback: TNA as Opposition: Both Right and Wrong | සතුටු වැස්ස බ්ලොග් කියවනය

  2. S B Lokuge

    No doubt Ranil is following JR’s foot steps to please the west and suppress the Sinhala Buddhist. But can we only blame Ranil for that? Did not My3 promised Yahapalanaya and most of us fell for it?


    1. I agree. If anything, ever since his first backstab in November 2014, Sirisena has been very honest and open about his anti-SLFP, and more importantly, his anti-Sinhala, anti-Buddhist agenda. He has consistently and proudly acted as a national traitor.


  3. Korale

    What you said is true. This is the lowest we could get as Sinhala Buddhist Nation , even probably worst than having divided and given Ealam. How did we end up here ?

    As you said , I agree we should not blame Ranil and UNP. Here is our disagreement. I will not blame even Sirisena or Choura Regina. Nor India, USA , the world.

    I blame Rajapakse. It is JR who is to be blamed for 1989 JVP uprising have given a 5/6 mandate in 1977.
    Throughout his Presidency MR had no firm attitude towards fighting Ealam. Rather than being firm on principles being honest and upright, he tried to fool the world. He gave various promises to India and the west.
    This best performance as president came when we were under enormous pressure form the world around Jan-May 2009. We all shall be extremely grateful for that. But immediately after the war , the slide began. From “MHARAJANENI” song to huge “SADAAM” like cut-outs he took everything for granted and started to go against advice of those who supported him.

    He could still correct the mistakes had he agreed to JHU in September last year and did not call Presidential Election’s. He had more than enough time to make Sri Lanka a true paradise.

    Just imagine being a senior minister yourself, helping him to come to power and getting discarded in the end due to no reason but wanting to establish family empire. No we can’t blame anyone else. He had no right to call Presidential Elections.
    If we had him for another 10 years with the same mindset, there would be no Sinhala Buddhist values left anyway. He was destroying our values and the core of Buddhism slowly but surely. Look at his latest Wesak Message – “Buddha’s Message of Peace” ! Not only that he was spending so much on minorities and neglecting Sinhala people. OK one can argue about UNP lies, exaggeration’s but people can see and feel the truth.

    Rather than being gradually eliminated, we must now think it is better to face the devil face to face. A true leader to be found. There is a vacancy. It will happen in 1 – 2 years.


    1. Though I agree that Mahinda had many flaws, and that a better more principle-based leader is required, I do not think that the solution was bringing in an openly anti-Sinhala anti-Buddhist UNP-Sirisena government. Also, over the last few months we have seen that the JHU is a complete fraud and artificial front organization to provide cover for and prop up the anti-Buddhist NGO movement.


  4. Korale

    No doubt there no excuse for Sirisena or JHU to join with Ranil. I don’t like the idea of NGO’s ,, USA and all these conspiracy theories, whether they are true or not but any upright leader is duty bound to protect oneself from wrong doing and also to protect the land and its people.

    We must look at a way forward, there is no point blaming enemies be them within or be them external.
    After January 8 debacle what happened ? UFPA manifesto promises full implementation of LLRC nonsense in just 1 year. It means National Song in two languages, all schools teaching two languages and maximum possible devolution. So what is the difference from UNP , except we would like to hang on to the past records and have some hope these promises are not genuine.

    Even after the elections MR and Sirisena smiling together while we cry! Noone to pretest jumbo cabinet is disguise of a Sabhaga Government. Most bigwigs are absent, letting those small gang of die hard MR supporters to fight the devil.
    I have given up on SLFP. Zero faith there.


  5. Korale

    Are we to trust someone who doesn’t have a vision to see what is happening in two weeks ? Surely either cunning Sirisena has easily outsmarted MR or he is being blackmailed. Either way we don’t need cunning political manipulators or dishonest “girly boy” leaders any more, we must search for a new leader.
    Wayforward’s conclusion of blaming Sirisena is fair enough, but that will not pull us out of the mess. Who is to be trusted to do that is the question. Unless we drop MR completely, we are going to loose all matches by an innings and more. We can’t blame the opposition all the time, we should get the team lean and mean and straight with proper strategy. Hang on to the same captain and perish.


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