Range Bandara ends up with egg on his face after failed test ploy

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General Secretary of the UNP, Ranga Bandara has received egg on his face in abundance for trying awfully hard to make history repeat itself by suggesting this year’s presidential elections should be postponed for two years in the same manner the UNP deferred parliamentary elections in 1982.

In a televised broadcast under the party’s ‘Smart’ campaign, Ranga showed just how smart he was when he said on Tuesday: “This is not the time for a Parliamentary or Presidential election. It is appropriate for everyone in Parliament, especially opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, to bring forward this proposal. We believe Anura Kumara Dissanayake and his group should also endorse this initiative.”

“If they cannot commit to a full five-year term,” he continued, “they should at least consider extending the President’s tenure by another two years. Additionally, we propose extending the Parliament’s tenure by two years. This will give more time for MPs to get their duty-free car permits.”

If he had thought his outlandish proposal would be met with all-round approval, he had another thing coming. Even to his own UNP colleagues, this was anathema. They had been out in the wilderness after losing badly at the 2020 elections and desperately yearned for an election which may possibly offer them a chance to return to Parliament.

UNP’s Navin Dissanayake said, “I think it is his personal opinion. I don’t think it is even constitutionally possible.  I don’t think a referendum is suitable at all to postpone elections,” while his colleague Ravi Karunanayake urged people not to make a mockery of the situation. “Instead, we must work to protect the trust of the people. An election will definitely be held. Ranil Wickremesinghe will be our candidate, and he will emerge victorious to set this country on the correct path.”

Range Bandara’s inane proposal was, indeed, capital fodder to the entire opposition. It was unexpected manna from heaven for them to attack the UNP for its awesome fear to face elections.

The SLPP’s Namal Rajapaksa took the moral high road to declare: “The SLPP has never feared elections and has never postponed elections. To do so is totally against the democratic electoral process.” SJB MP Kings Nelson said, “This is said by a party secretary. I do not know whether he has read the Constitution or not, but you can’t postpone a presidential election. They’re running scared. Ranga Bandara is also now stranded.” JVP/NPP Lalkantha said, “For all their big talk, they are shivering with fear.”

Fortunately for the UNP’s shattered credibility, the Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday, the President has come to the rescue and informed UNP members, that he has axed Bandara’s ludicrous proposal right in the bud.

Perhaps, he should use the same axe to chop Range Bandara from his post as the party’s secretary. Having made a complete jackass of himself in public by being ignorant of the people’s pulse, he is liable to open his own sluice gate, and further wreck the President’s chances of winning the forthcoming race. Rash talk costs votes. The intense public opprobrium shown toward Bandara’s stigma, may even cost Ranil Wickremesinghe the next presidency.

With Range Bandara’s announcement on Thursday that he intends to give his reasons to justify his ludicrous proposal next week, perhaps, his removal should be expedited even sooner. Laboured reasons given to meticulously explain outrageous proposals, often have the tendency to end up more lethal to permanently seal the fate of his leader than the original ‘pus vedilla’ fired from Sri Kotha.

JVP will grant power to Gam Sabhas to draft their own constitutions: LalkanthaDespite the JVP’s best efforts throughout the month to soft-peddle JVP strongman Lalkantha’s May Day declaration where he vowed the JVP would devolve judicial power to village sabhas, the JVP’s senior politburo member remains defiant. 

In the immediate aftermath of Lalkantha’s May Day speech where he said, “The JVP will give the right to make laws, the right to enforce them and the judicial authority to every gramiya sabhas,” Anura Kumara made a futile attempt to appease the gathering storm of vehement protest by appearing on Ada Derana’s 360-degree programme.

JVP’S REAL CHANGE: Lalkantha’s revolutionary plan to transform the judicial system

During the course of the long interview, he was played the video clip of Lalkantha’s declaration of giving judicial power to the people, and asked for his comments. Anura Kumara tried to soft-peddle the issue and to explain it by comparing the word ‘judicial authority’ to what Samatha Mandalayas exercise now. He was interrupted by the interviewer who said that Samatha Mandalayas which, as its name implies, are merely there to mutually settle small disputes and have no judicial authority.

Caught badly, Anura could do naught but agree. He said, “although Lalkantha said it, he meant something else.”

“Meant something else?”  Meant what? His words were unequivocally clear.  Have the people now to decipher what Lalkantha truly meant?

It was on the 7th of May that the brewing storm of protest finally made landfall in Parliament. Amid the many denunciations made over Lalkantha’s revealing May Day speech, JVP/NPP National List MP Harini Amarasuriya flatly denied in parliament that Lalkantha had made that pledge. She told the House: “Nowhere has anyone said that judicial power will be given to village JVP or NPP members. Former MP Lalkantha never made such a declaration.”

Her denial in Parliament was made despite JVP’s own propaganda videos containing ample proof of Lalkantha pledging to give judicial authority to all village councils, SJB MP Harshana Rajakaruna then played a tape recording of Lalkantha’s infamous declaration made in his May Day speech.

As Lalkantha’s controversial pledge enjoyed wide currency among JVP supporters, a bunch of JVP lawyers also extended their support, on May 13, to the idea of giving judicial power to the village councils. Some saw it as a means of simplifying access to justice, some saw it as a way of beating the law’s delay in existing courts but none saw or chose not to see the incongruities that will obviously arise when an equal law is enforced by diverse village kangaroo courts, each empowered—as Lalkantha pledged—with the right to make their own laws, the right to enforce them and the right to exercise judicial authority.

Through all the criticisms levelled by his opponents, Lalkantha remained unruffled, defiant against pleas to water down his explosive statements, and unrepentant of the damage he had caused to the JVP’s new look image, geared in the NPP’s Kashmiri lambs wool.

Evidently emboldened by numerous JVP platitudes, Lalkantha told TV news reporters on Wednesday that, in addition to vesting in village councils the right to make their laws and enforce them with judicial power, “the JVP intends to empower all village councils, the right to draft their own constitutions.”

What a bold idea wrought on the anvil of change by the man tipped to be JVP’s Minister of Justice. In the event of assuming power, they will transform the entire judicial system, eliminate the law’s delay, give easy access to justice by legally arming every village council to be supreme lawgivers, law enforcers, judges and executioners for its own village division. A one-stop centre for speedier access to justice, with the magistrates’ courts, the district courts, the appeal courts, and the Supreme Court all rolled into one to give instant justice.

What do you think of empowering the people to this absurd extent? Need more be said?

But the nation must thank the JVP’s Lalkantha for boldly revealing the true face of the JVP, and affirming the truth of an old Sinhala maxim: A leopard may change its forest but it never changes its spots.



Harsha renews call to JVP to come for economic debateSJB’s Harsha de Silva renewed his call to the JVP to join his economic team for a televised debate which the JVP has fought shy of attending so far, claiming, instead, a debate between the two leaders will suffice.He said that a recent comment made by a JVP leader they needed no other ‘nonsense’ debates but one between the two presidential candidates, revealed the JVP was hopelessly bereft of an economic plan that will pass muster. 

COME DEBATE WITH US: SJB’s economic team comprising Harsha, Eran and Kabir

While pleading with the JVP not to dismiss debates on debt restructuring as ‘nonsensical’ or a ‘vikarayak’, he challenged the JVP’s team to meet him and his team at the debating table and present to the nation each other’s economic solution to emerge from the country’s economic beggary.

Harsha challenged JVP’s Professor Anil Jayantha of the Sri Jayewardenepura University—one of the JVP’s economic team—who had said that international sovereign bondholders (ISB) had met him and asked how the JVP would restructure the debt.

He had told them, the JVP was ready to pay the debt but only after the JVP had devised a system to repay ISB debt. This will be done after increasing production, increasing revenue and eliminating corruption and wastage. In that instance, with the country on a better footing, the JVP will be ready to pay international sovereign bondholders their debt. To a great extent they had agreed, Anil Jayantha had said.

“Agreed to what?” Dr. Harsha de Silva asked, and sarcastically said, “Enough of breaking pots in an empty house’, and dared the JVP’s top economic brass to come and tell him and his team straight, in an open debate, just what exactly was the solution put forward to the ISB delegation, how long will the period be for repayment, and exactly to what the ISB team had agreed.”

But had Harsha asked the impossible? Seems it’s easier to build castles in the air to enthral a gullible audience than to build them on solid earth amidst harsh ground realities.