Jumbo-jet landed, destination reached, pilot must come out | Sunday Observer

Jumbo-jet landed, destination reached, pilot must come out

8 November, 2020

This article is dedicated to the fourth anniversary of the Podu Jana Peramuna of Sri Lanka, which, saved the Motherland from: (1) destruction by Islamic State terrorists (2) collapse of economic development (3) interference in the judiciary (4) biased commissions (5) deprivation of the President of his executive powers; and established peace and harmony among communities, battling racist politics.

The governance of a government, in popular parlance is like flying in a jumbo jet. The aircraft is huge, the load heavy and the propelling machines are fixed on the left and right sides. The cockpit is in front, and the passengers seated at the back. Nevertheless, the central power, which manages and balances control of the above constituents, is the pilot. Now, the strangest thing is that the pilot of the jumbo jet is not visible.

He flies it following the prescribed aerial route. The passengers enjoy the flight in delight with respect and trust. Yet, the pilot is present only in absence. The travellers are well aware of the presence of the pilot, although he is not visible.

Who is the pilot?

This is a pragmatic resemblance to the gigantic Podu Jana Peramuna (PJP) jumbo jet which carries the colossal weight of the governance of Sri Lanka. Parliament as the cockpit is in front, and the propelling machine is the President. The load is the mission uploaded by the SLPP election manifesto.

The passengers are the voters and the public in general, who mandated the vision via the franchise. Now, who is the pilot? The passengers want to see him, to convey their gratitude to him, so he must come out.

The people are not interested in the name, but in the actual pilot. The pilot of the SLPP jumbo jet differs from the pilots of ordinary aircraft. He is unique, exceptional and exclusive. The SLPP jumbo jet passengers wish to profit further, with more destinations and missions of the pilot, after reaching the first destination. Hence, the passengers demand that the pilot “come out”.

The 2019 Presidential and 2020 General Elections were won and two five-year terms bestowed by the voters to the PJP, cementing the control of the Rajapaksa regime and making clear its formidable popularity.

Not only did the SLPP politics of consensus and nationalism show surprising strength in parts of the country, where it had historically been weaker, but the crushing defeat of the UNP+SLFP+JVP alliance meant there is no real alternative to SLPP rule.

The defeat of the UNP+JVP government was so humiliating that even the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe lost his own seat in Colombo. The winners of a two-thirds majority in Parliament will now have almost five more years to pursue the designed agenda, with even less opposition. All of these achievements did not descend from the sky. There was a hidden power, unfortunately, bathed in all types of blame, which was pragmatically operative, working hard as a workaholic.

That was none other than Basil Rajapaksa-the National Organiser of the Podu Jana Peramuna and the present Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Prosperity Production.

His talents and political wisdom were not known by many. Yet, Basil Rajapaksa has been the empirically operative theorist of the political landscape revolution of Sri Lanka. From the time of the veteran politician, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Basil has been a meticulous planner, brilliant strategist, negotiator and above all a hard worker. He is a patriot, loyal to the country and to the President. He is the unseen force that ensured that no harm would come to Sri Lanka or its people from within and without during trying times.

A person of modesty, a loving father, a trusted brother and a trustworthy friend, his dedication to any task, as a leader of self-reliance is unswerving. These are the events that produced the unique difference.

The vision

The victory was unprecedented. Since independence, I don’t think there has been a mandate which concentrates power in one party to the extent that this mandate does. What is the reason? It was the vision of Basil, a vision augmented with a mission.

The Basil Rajapaksa vision was and will be : “To live in Sri Lanka as Sri Lankans, we must be able to change”. This is the bus which, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena missed. They were confident that SLFPers have blue blood, the UNPers green and the JVPers red.

No qualitative and quantitative mutation is possible. Basil transformed the impossibility of mutation into a possibility. During the governing epochs, the original and the absolute majority community of Sri Lanka, the Sinhala Buddhists, were compelled to live as refugees, though the lip-service of the governing UNP politics was equality.

They had no rights and were not equal before the law. The rulers were in a deep sleep, when the archaeological remains of their religion and ancestry were destroyed by ‘religious’ racists’. Communal segregation was the order of the day in place of ethnic unity.

The people needed a radicalised change where all Sinhala Buddhist, Tamil Hindu, Muslim and other communities could co-exist and live together. The reason so many Sri Lankans adore the Rajapaksa leadership is, because the PJP, structured by Basil transcended their preferred conception to perfection i.e. the ‘State Sri Lankanism’ and the notion of Sri Lankan nation.

SLPP wisdom

Whether one agreed or disagreed with the SLPP vision, the striking fact about the 2020 General Election campaign was how much it concentrated on issues of economic prosperity. The two things that dominated it were, nationalism and the recognition of the original community rights.

Therefore, the PJP self-presentation was clearly the pluralism of ‘Sri Lankanism’, recognising the rights of the original community.

Second, the Sri Lankan economy had been totally destroyed by the UNP governance. Basil played the game on the public trust on the Gotabaya Rajapaksa leadership and Mahinda Rajapaksa popularity.

From 2016 onward, when the PJP started mobilising the doctrine of ‘Sri Lankanism’ with the recognition of original community rights, Sri Lankan politics represented a contest among two different community doctrines: (1) One larger Sri Lankan identity consolidation, not recognising the rights of the original community or recognising such rights only with lip-service (2) Political sub-identities of religious racism and communal terrorism that acted as a bulwark against the consolidation of pluralism.

Basil formulated the third vision, with a mission to structure the doctrine of ‘Sri Lankanism’, respecting and recognising the rights of both, original and minority communities. The people have done their duty and now, it is the responsibility of the pilot to initiate new voyages for the passengers, to reach destinations that they never had been to before.

Intelligent use of UNP blunders

The SLPP campaign was not basically on economic prosperity. Their fulcrum was the Motherland’s defence and the rights of the original majority community, harmoniously blended with the rights of the minorities. The biggest blunder the UNP leadership made was, it underestimated the value and the depth of the above two aspects.

The pilot farsightedly understood that the UNP pushed the voters to a judgment, which was against itself. The pilot of the SLPP jet produced the truth-rooted evidence and caused voters to feel that the UNP order was really crumbling, tagged as corrupt and Buddhism-destroying.

The voters, including the UNP failed to point to anything, as a sign that things are being transformed for an inclusive political ascendance.

Hence, it is wonderful that the PJP Messiah pilot (1) saved the Motherland from the traitors of unpatriotism (2) produced a President, a Prime Minister, Ministers and MPs (3) is actively operative in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and (4) will be full of plans and projects for development and economic prosperity, but now, the backdrop is not his right place.

The majority of the voters of this country are in dire need and well aware of him, of the tremendous service he rendered and can render from today onwards for the country. The jumbo jet has landed, the destination reached, and the pilot must come out.

(The writer is a lawyer on International Treaty Law)