the PM aspirant of the alliance
ever the old proverbial saying 'there is a black sheep in every
family' has been proved right it is in the case of Anura
Bandaranaike. It will indeed be eons before this country is
witness to another saga as the one perpetrated and enacted by
Anura. A well known scrounger, loud mouthed and an alcoholic to
boot, Anura has done little to remove the tag of Jonah from around
his corpulent waist though projecting himself as the prime
minister in waiting under an
he played hopscotch with the SLFP, the UNP and finally the
People's Alliance, Anura fortunately or unfortunately - the matter
is yet to be determined - has always been on the losing
of Anura's bad luck with lady fortune brought shivers down the spines of
those present in Gampaha when Anura last week on nomination day pulled
up in a bullet proof BMW - courtesy of his sister Chandrika - and heaved
himself out of the car. In front of a few hundred PA loyalists, Reggie
Ranatunga bowed as he handed over the nomination papers to Bandaranaike.
But Anura, for reasons best known to himself was hardly in a position to
place his hands with precision timing - and he dropped the papers to the
ground. A silent manthra was said as the crowd watched Bandaranaike
slowly heave his bulk into the Kachcheri. But more bad omens were to
follow. Re-appearing, Anura was bedecked with a garland of orchids. For
some unexplainable reason the garland turned upside down. The saga did
not end there. No sooner had Anura got into his BMW the vehicle refused
to cough. Another had to be summoned as some of the more superstitious
present raised their eyes and crossed their palms uttering silent
prayers to the gods above.
Ranatunga must surely have thought of the time when on nominations day
in the year 2000 Sirimavo Bandaranaike pleaded with Reggie to save Anura,
who was then district leader of the UNP, from a hostile PA mob.
the 2000 general election this mob raided Anura's Horagolla office, put
smashed photographs of SWRD in a coffin and paraded the six foot long
box in Attanagalla before depositing it on the roof of Anura's office.
All this after Anura had convinced the UNP that he carried significant
clout in the Gampaha District, was a man of no mean stature - ahem! -
and that he must lead the campaign in the Gampaha District - only to be
trounced at his own boastings and beaten by Karu Jayasuriya who scored a
massive 237,000 preferential votes in the Gampaha District as against
his measly 99,000.
Wimal Weerawansa of the JVP would do well to study the history of his
messiah and friend before he swallows that next expensive nutritious
substance at the behest of his portly friend and promote him as the
prime ministerial choice under an alliance government. But then the JVP
does not give a jot for history given their own bloody track record,
Weerawansa must believe the likes of Anura are a mere blot on Sri
Lanka's blurred horizons in comparison to their own bloody skyline. What
is it about this country that our sons of the soil have proved to be a
dismal and utter failure?
in the shadow of his two sisters Anura has earned a reputation of not
just being an alcoholic and a political misfit but also continues from
time to time to resort to tantrums he threw from when a wee lad. His
obeisance to his domestics is perhaps a spill over factor from having
been left to the care of servants when his mother entered politics soon
after his father fell victim to the chauvinistic monster he created.
Whenever thwarted, Anura, accustomed to having his own way would throw a
tantrum, reacting aggressively ending in tears.
to enjoy the benefits given to his sisters, Anura demanded equal
opportunity when Sunethra and Chandrika were sent abroad for higher
education. Kicking his heels, shaking his fist and weeping copious tears
to his mother who was at the time prime minister for the second time -
it was finally agreed that Anura be sent to Oxford from where his father
had graduated. He failed the entrance exam at his father's college,
Christchurch and eventually entered the University College in London.
Unable to cope with hostel life Anura was boarded with a high commission
political appointee - Dhanapala. No great student, Anura spent his time
organising demonstrations against Tilak Goonaratne who was at the time
Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to the UK.
of many failures
had a plan - and it was to replace Goonaratne with Guy Amithanayagam,
who had been tasked to monitor Anura's university progress.
Unfortunately for Anura and fortunately for Goonaratne, his mother
refused to bow to pressure and remove Tilak Goonaratne and so failed the
first of Anura's many conspiracies.
London contemporaries recall how Anura had his first brush with the law
when he relieved himself on a posh Belgravia doorstep having had one too
many at Amithanayagam's house. An angry copper told the cowering Anura -
"this is not India" before shouting at him - "off with
in Sri Lanka, Anura eyed the Dompe seat - a hotbed of his pater's
Veyangoda constituency. It was 1977 and election time. Felix Dias, many
times Anura's intellectual superior, refused to budge. This was the only
time fortune chose to smile on Anura and the three member electorate of
Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya brought him into parliament. Otherwise he would
have joined the SLFP debris in J. R. Jayewardene's landslide victory in
July 1977. Amirthalingam's exit in 1983 together with Sirimavo
Bandaranaike, briefly saw Anura as leader of the opposition.
came another conspiracy. By this time he was no longer on talking terms
with his sister Chandrika and brother-in-law Vijaya Kumaratunga. He
therefore sent emissaries to JRJ. A midnight tryst was arranged at H. W.
Jayewardene's house and the President arrived in muffti in his son
Ravi's car. Anura was convinced his 'de-camp' would earn him the post of
foreign minister and as bottle met glass with friends, he was heard
loudly appointing and dismissing ambassadors.
JVP, now trumpeting clean governance will for sure find Anura
Bandaranaike's close associates of interest. His current man Friday in
London, Ramasamy Veerabahu is a classic example. A fugitive fraudster,
Veerabahu owes the state banks over a billion smackers. He ran Hingurana
Sugar to the ground, defrauded on EPF payments and fled the country -
first to California and then to Singapore. Finding the laws too
stringent he finally set up a gold shop in Lewisham - London calling it
Thangamali Jewellers. The shop is believed to be a front - for what?
only the law will find out. Veerabahu lives in London's posh St. John's
Wood Road in Regents Park.
for a return to Sri Lanka, Veerabahu was ready prey for Anura - a born
scrounger. Promising to speak to his sister and ensure Veerabahu's
return to Sri Lanka, Anura continues to milk the former sugar trader for
all his worth. Cartier spectacles at 400 pounds, rent free apartments, a
chauffer driven car and an unending supply of the cup that overfloweth,
Anura has ensured that Veerabahu is a puppet on a string - at least as
long as Chandrika remains in power. Veerabahu is manna from heaven for
Anura who lost an accommodating patron a while back.
from liver failure for the second time, Anura was sent to London for
alcohol addiction counseling. Specialists referred him to the Maudsley
Hospital where the head of the addiction clinic, Shamil Wanigaratne
attempted rehabilitation. A Tamil businessman friend picked up the tab
but not before Anura inflated it to meet some of his other 'expenses.'
Good Samaritan with Bandaranaike however, hardly ever brings any
gratitude. In the last election he turned on many a benefactor but not
before keeping a car and a mobile phone despite their return being
requested. It took some arm twisting before the vehicle was finally
returned with an outstanding fuel bill of over Rs. 35,000. A senior
presidential adviser Lakshman Kadirgamar not so recently publicly
denounced Anura. He described him as living in California, holidaying in
Sri Lanka and not doing a stroke of work anywhere! Going further he
said, Anura nurses a juvenile fantasy that the country owes him a
kingdom and to this end flashes his pedigree. He adds that Anura's
utterances are bovine excrement and should be swept into the gutter.
it is this same blue-blooded human that left a hotel room in Palm
Springs recently in utter disarray. It took the hotel management four
days to clean the room and Bandaranaike, pedigree and all, has been
relegated to no man's land as far as this part of L. A. is concerned.
well, some messiah eh? Perhaps it would do Wimal Weerawansa good to
remember that a man is well known by his friends!
and Ranil's leadership abilities
had the opportunity, during the time past of gaining an intimate
knowledge of the governance of my sister, the present President
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the activities of Mr. Ranil
Wickremesinghe, the leader of UNP. On a comparison of the activities of
these two the foremost thing that I can say boldly and in keeping with
my conscience is that Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the present leader of
the UNP is a more successful administrator than my sister, and that he
has an outstanding capability of administering the country with good
management. This is a fact that I cannot but give vent to. I can claim
the rare good luck of having been able to associate with various
political personages and leaders of people of this country as well as
abroad from my very boyhood up to my taking to politics. That might
perhaps have been possible because I come from a family inheriting a
strong link with politics in this country.
wish to set down the reasons presuppositions, why I consider the UNP
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as one who can rule this country and steer
the economy successfully.
opinion held by many of those who talk about the character of my sister
Chandrika Bandaranaike is she pocesses a charismatic leadership. That is
the view held by many who compare her with Ranil. It is true that she
has a very winning smile and attractive looks. But this gift she has
inherited from birth has been sorely degraded by the endless and
interminable jabbering of hers. But what I can say of Ranil
Wickremesinghe is that he is a person who does not talk too much, but
one who has a very good understanding of the responsibilities cast on
him and who has a clear vision and an objective.
I see it, the outstanding characteristic of his leadership is the
ability he has of taking decisions at the right time. He is in no hurry
or impatient for the realisation of an objective. What I find is that
many have not properly understood the ability he possesses of biding his
time to arrive at a correct decision. I think that he decides at the
correct time and that is a potent factor in arriving at proper
decisions. It must be said that one of the most outstanding
characteristics of Ranil's leadership is his ability to look at any
question before from all angles and in a balanced manner, understand it
well and then come to a decision. Ranil does not have the habit unlike
many others, of taking a decision on anything impulsively.
thing that I have been always saying boldly in that my sister's
governance of the country is very unsuccessful. Good governance and
charismatic leadership are not one and the same. What is happening today
is that a charismatic leader is all the time giving first place to that
inborn charisma and giving lesser importance to good governance. It must
be said that we now have to suffer the ill effects of such short sighted
rule and that it might be worse in the future.
Chandrika has no notion whatever of governance, it is not possible to
assess the damage done to the country. She who had given many hopes to
the people is today utterly helpless without being able to fulfil any of
them. It must be said that Chandrika Bandaranaike is today faced with
the deplorable fate that confronts a leader who solely relies on her
charisma without any knowledge of the complex methodology needed for
governance. When compared with these, Ranil's ways are quite the
contrary. He has a clear grasp of his political vision.
has very good experience in the act of governing a country. He acts
about his political activities making use of the principle of persuasion
and common sense. His decisions are not based on wrong data. He has the
understanding that the correct thing is to be very subtle and what
procedure he must adopt to realise it. He never pretends to be an all
knowing sage. He likes to learn something he doesn't understand from
someone who does and have it clarified. He would patiently listen to the
views and opining of others and then entrust the work to those endowered
with skill and ability. Ranil thus has a good sense of management in
getting work done properly and in good time.
the course of an interview my sister recently gave to the Hindu magazine
she had said that by virtue of the training she had had she was now an
is a very amazing statement. As for myself, I am no economic specialist.
When her statement above is compared with the state of decline of the
economy of this country at the end of her regime, I can only say this,
it is thousand times better for a person well-versed in economics to be
entrusted with the governance of a country than to one who has become an
economic expert by mere training. I feel that the truth of my statement
above will be acknowledged by everyone who considers the state's decline
and boast of things she doesn't know.
strongest point in Ranil's character is his honesty. His hands have not
been soiled. Till recently I thought the same of my sister. But I think
now the time has come to verify the accuracy of my decision above. But I
don't say that she is directly involved in corruption and fraud. But I
am amazed at her silence on the face of the allegations levelled against
the corrupt ones crowding around her. Although allegations of corruption
have been directly made against
persons such as Sanath Gunatillake, she is tight lipped. But what can be
said about Ranil Wickremesinghe is that he is a person who would never
show sympathy to those who are involved in corruption. I have no doubt
that he would mete out proper punishment to the guilty whether they be
his friends or opponents. As compared with the conduct of my sister,
Ranil has this outstanding characteristic.
has the unprecedented virtue of being practical in his activities. It is
the normal trait of his character to arrive at a place at least a few
minutes earlier than the appointed time. This must be recognised as an
excellent virtue of successful leadership. Chandrika Bandaranaike is
quite the contrary. It is now her routine to arrive very very late for
everything. She sometimes boasts of these qualities of hers.
greater part of her daily routine is taken up with time consuming
gossip. It is now established practice that important state officers who
have to meet her daily in the course of their duties are constrained to
waste their time owing to this habit of hers. Her activities are like
those of a person desperately trying to extinguish a sudden fire. She
has no sense of importance of the future. She has no time to organise.
But Ranil's activities are quite the opposite. He sets about
systematically as to the future. There is an uncommon management style
in Ranil in taking on probable future events and structuring them
usefully in keeping with his objective.
contrary to this, Ranil has clearly shown that he is a person bestowed
with the ability of taking crucial decisions at the opportune time.
Although he earned disfavour of the old guard of the UNP in his decision
to streamline the party, yet he did not hesitate to bring out the
necessary changes, in a proper manner. Why Neil Kinnock, the former
Leader of the British Labour Party was reputed was because he had the
courage to carry out the necessary reforms within the party. It was Tony
Blair who brought about what Neil Kinnock failed to do. Accordingly
Blair was able to steer the party to victory with the label, "New
does not give promises to the people that he cannot fulfil. His message
for the future governance of the country is straight, simpler and
acceptable. In the meantime my sister is living in a world full of
promises. While she has not carried out any of the promises she had
offered to the people, she is not reluctant to make yet more and more
promises to them.
of December 20, 1999)