A bottle of the best bubbly is in order to the new Wayamba Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera who ditched the jinxed Jonah driven UNP jalopy to hitch his wagon to the UPFA star. And didn’t he come up roses? What glorious change of fortune to a man who not even two months ago was destined [...]

Sunday Times 2

The Pipe Piper of Wayamba


A bottle of the best bubbly is in order to the new Wayamba Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera who ditched the jinxed Jonah driven UNP jalopy to hitch his wagon to the UPFA star. And didn’t he come up roses?

What glorious change of fortune to a man who not even two months ago was destined to remain an impotent flunkey in the opposition camp more engaged in attending inquiries held against him by the leadership than in campaigning at the grassroots for his party. His crossover to the UPFA ranks, hatched in great secrecy and delivered with great betrayal, serious cloak and dagger stuff that no word breathed from the plotters’ pursed lips till he turned coat, had catapulted him to heights he himself may have never dreamt possible. Overnight he became the man of the moment, hailed as the man who had dared to cross the Rubicon not alone but with a battalion of UNP deserters. And having crossed to the winning side, won.

Dayasiri Jayasekera

Yet now, in the midst of the celebrations, at the height of his euphoria isn’t there any blot on the landscape to besmirch his triumph? To dull the lustre of his gains, rob the magic of the moment? Does not a gnawing doubt naggingly prick; does not an anxious tinge brush his forehead; is his whole being not etched with worry and doubt each time the magnitude of what he has achieved strikes home?
Not that I wish to put a damper on his elated spirits but will it not be wise for him to discern the dark clouds ominously hovering over the horizon threatening to blow his way and eclipse his sunshine?

Take the provincial councils, one of which he now heads. Created under the decried 13th Amendment they were inflicted upon helpless Lanka through Indian gunboat and ‘parrippu- drops’ diplomacy. A Made-in-India device serving Indian interest. A crafty scheme that, whilst it attempts to satisfy demands for devolution of power from the centre, also places Lanka on the brink of breaking up. Even the powerful Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently pledged to abolish it lock, stock and barrel and it was only immense Indian pressure that stayed the execution.

But now with the TNA lording over the Northern Provincial Council and strutting as if there will soon be a de facto Eelam, the day may not be far off when the Government is forced to risk India’s wrath, ignore Indian threats, and repeal the 13th Amendment that was thrust upon Lanka by a foreign power in the midst of raging opposition. Then what will be the plight of the throne-less new chief minister without his provincial fiefdom? Will he find a readymade seat reserved for him in Parliament or a House Full board hung on the UPFA benches?

Or take the general elections, expected to be held in the new year. Would he opt to remain stagnant in the boonies exercising petty power locally whilst the heavyweights hug the spotlight on the centre stage where the action is? Can he afford to languish in the wilderness when he knows that if he wishes to be in line for the top most post he must return to the mainstream of politics and stake his claim in Parliament? Or be sidelined and miss the bus.

But if he wishes to return to Parliament no doubt he will remember his resignation speech two months ago when he said “I am making this great personal sacrifice and resigning from my seat in Parliament to contest the Wayamba Provincial Council elections so that I will be able to serve the people of Wayamba better.” If he so decides to contest is he to go to his people in Wayamba one year later and beg them to elect him to Parliament so that he could serve them lesser?

No doubt the President’s words said soon after the crossover that he, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had never crossed sides but had remained within the party and fought his battles and that this principle was the hallmark of his success would ring with a shrill when he considers his own track record of pole vaulting. Would his principle of placing self before party be the badge of his opportunist character?
He had left the UPFA in 2001 after four years as a member because it neglected and ignored him. He had left the UNP in 2013 after twelve years because it neglected and ignored him. If he was again neglected and ignored by the UPFA where could he jump next? He has left a trail of bitterness, of broken bonds and the question will resurface whether he could be trusted beyond his own self interest.
He must also ponder whether his seduction away from the UNP had been a diabolic plot born of Machiavellian machinations to cut the sod under his feet and to keep him isolated and far removed from the seat of real power: to nip in the bud the potential threat he may pose to the smooth succession of the anointed one. Is that why, he must ask himself, he wasn’t offered a cabinet post but was sweet talked with flattery heaped by the shovel into accepting the challenge of contesting the provincial elections with the chief ministerial carrot dangled tantalizingly before him? Had he been lured with the prospect of present instant glory only to be starkly blinded to his future blight?

Will the Pipe Piper of Wayamba who, in an act of one-upmanship, wooed the voters to follow him, then discover to his chagrin that the rocky door that had opened so welcomingly to lead them through to greener pastures on the other side of the hill, remains firmly sealed to bar his return, with the magic that slept in his pipe long dissipated?

Does he not wonder this Sunday morn whether it is all too good to be true, whether Heaven’s malice has granted his ambition’s prayers?

Falling into TNA trap

On Thursday, Sarath Ekanayake and Dayasiri Jayasekera were sworn in as the Chief Ministers of the Central and North Western Provincial Councils respectively before President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Both are Sinhalese and both represent Sinhala dominated provinces.

The TNA made an appeal last week for the former Supreme Court Judge Wigneswaran, a Tamil, to be sworn in as Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, the Tamil dominated province, before the President. This was brushed aside. He was, instead, given the appointment letter by the Northern Governor on October 1st.

What made the Government to go out of its way to deliver this inane snub and thus fall into the TNA trap? No doubt the excuse will be trotted out that the President was abroad. But what was the rush to have Wigneswaran appointed in the President’s absence? Wouldn’t Wigneswaran gladly have waited another couple of days to be sworn in by the President with all fanfare as accorded to his Sinhala brethren? Now to atone for making a pig’s breakfast of it, a special swearing-in ceremony will have to be extended to the Northern Chief.

Next time the International Community raise this as another instance of the Government meting second class treatment toward the minority, don’t be surprised to find Weerawansa drawn in to issue a statement attributing it all to an international conspiracy to tar the Lankan Government as racist.

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