She couldn’t even deliver the Attanagalle electorate to all the parties/coalitions she’s supported since Maithripala Sirisena became president.
Chandrika Kumaratunga is aggrieved. She is distraught, apparently, by the fate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). This is not surprising. Any card carrying SLFPer wouldn’t exactly be in a celebratory mood over the party securing just one seat at the recently concluded general election. Even long time supporters who have lately switched loyalties to the SLFP’s new version, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) might feel nostalgic for the glory days of the party that Chandrika’s father helped form.
Chandrika, to her credit, has had the humility to accept responsibility, in a way: ‘Sometimes, I think I am also responsible for what has happened to the SLFP today.’ Sometimes, did she say? As in, ‘most times I don’t feel guilty’? Well, she would know best.
The reasons offered are interesting: ‘it is not because of what I did, but because of what I did not do.’ What she did not do she hasn’t elaborated on.
What DID Chandrika do for/to the SLFP though? Well, she helped engineer a split in the party in late 2014, paving the way for Maithripala Sirisena to become President in an arrangement which helped the SLFP’s arch political enemy, the United National Party (UNP) the power to hold Sirisena hostage.
She blames Sirisena: ‘[he] completely destroyed the program of the then government.’ Perhaps she’s referring to the ill-fated adventure in late 2018 that caused a brief parliamentary crisis. The SLFP, by that time, had been reduced to a shadow of its former self; it had been well and truly routed at the local government elections in February that year. As for the ‘program’ it was ill-conceived and went dead against the sentiments of the people (as evidenced by the rout of its architects and engineers in November 2019 and again in August 2020).
The SLFP didn’t die though. If a party is membership and loyalists, well then the SLFP simply underwent a rebranding. Chandrika claims she will rebuild the party. Strange, since no one has asked her to do so. She couldn’t even deliver the Attanagalle electorate to all the parties/coalitions she’s supported since Maithripala Sirisena became president. Good luck with revamping the SLFP nationwide!