The decline of the GOP
naturally may be exulting on the unprecedented electoral
victories it has notched up under President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The overwhelming endorsement received in the South was only to
be expected after the runaway victories that began with the
Eastern Provincial poll. What is more, if all these victories
were to be reflected in a General Election the Government would
have achieved the two-thirds majority and more in Parliament.
The present trend suggests that this would indeed be a
reality in the upcoming national elections. It is clear to all
that the Government is today virtually unchallenged. The closest
comparison in terms of popularity is that enjoyed by the MEP in
the heady days of 1956.
But even then the party could not muster such overwhelming
majorities. In that sense the recent victories could be termed
unprecedented. All this indicate that the UPFA is set for a long
innings - no small thanks to an emasculated opposition which is
today groping in the dark. Today, it is plain that there is no
worthwhile challenge to the Government from the main opposition
The grand old party has suffered yet another debacle to
follow in the string of electoral reversals it has suffered in
recent times. True, the liberation of the country from terrorism
after a bitter 30-year-old war by a Government would have given
any opposition nightmares. But, it should be accepted that the
UNP too had contributed to its own plight in no small measure.
Chief of this being its anti-national conduct that has
alienated vast swathes of its support base among the majority
community. Its leaders are fond of harping on the theory that
the party always rose from the ashes and cites the rise of the
party after the 1956 rout. But that was a time when the UNP was
possessed imaginative leadership who won the trust and
confidence of the masses.
The main feature that separates the present UNP from the past
is that the past leaders of the party were attuned to sentiments
of the electorate and where the party was possed of a patriotic
Though branded as a capitalist party, its former leaders
moved with the masses and felt the heart beat of common man.
That is why even though defeated at the hustings, the party was
not humiliated as is the case today and had what it takes to
make a comeback. UNP leaders of yore always put the interests of
the country forward and never acted in a way that was inimical
to the country when out of power. That is why whatever its
ideology and party philosophy, it invariably won the confidence
of the masses.
This is in contrast to the Jekyll and Hyde act of the present
leadership who while making pious pronouncements here, denigrate
the country abroad in an attempt to deny it international aid
and humiliate it in other ways. All acts of the present
leadership is designed at taking a short cut to power
irrespective of the harm and damage caused to the country. This
the large mass of the people have understood and given the party
a fitting reply at consecutive elections.
For, as we have mentioned all lines of party politics have
become blurred today with the people rallying under a single
patriotic banner. Therefore, all those who are working against
the interest of the country are looked upon as traitors who have
no love for the Motherland. This sentiment the UNP leadership
has managed to attract towards itself and the party by its
conduct and it has only itself to blame for its electoral
What the party needs today is a radical transformation that
would help shed its image as a party working in cahoots with
foreign elements out to cause harm to the country. It should
strive to convince the masses that it is truly a national
patriotic party with love for the country. It should go back to
its roots and cultivate its rural base that was its main
strength in the past.
True, it is uphill task at the present juncture with the
Government on a roll. But, it behoves on the main Opposition
political party in the country to acquit itself with the
realities and perform the responsibilities it is entrusted with
of functioning as a democratic opposition without carrying out
insidious campaigns against the Government.
It is unthinkable that a party which ruled the country for
several decades is only a pale shadow of its glory days, today,
with no prospects of a return to power in the foreseeable
Even a change in leadership may not be sufficient to effect a
turnaround. It may be a long wait therefore for the genuine
supporters of the party who are steeped in the original ideals
of the grand old party. All due to the blundering follies and
lack of foresight of the present leadership.