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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 74

Chandrika and Anura – are they Bandaranaikes or Blunderer-na

[b]Chandrika and Anura – are they Bandaranaikes or Blunderer-naikes? [/b]

H. L. D. Mahindapala

When S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike formed the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), he laid the foundations for an alternative to the UNP. He mobilized the grassroots forces and joined hands with the left-wing to score his historic victory in 1956. Electoral statistics prove consistently that it was the centre-left alliance that returned the Bandaranaikes into power time and again. Tragically, his children who climbed to power on his coffin are making all the noises and the moves to get back to the right-wing UNP.

Both Chandrika Kumaratunga and Anura Bandaranaike argue that they are teaming up with the UNP to save the party. But right now it looks as if the party has to be saved from the last of the Bandaranaikes. Even a cursory glance at the history of the SLFP will reveal that the party has survived without both of them in the past. Chandrika left her parent’s party and joined her husband’s break-away party. She even fled the country and was ensconced in bosom of her buddies like Ronnie Peiris in London. And Anura too left the party and joined the UNP when his mother decided to hand over the SLFP throne to his sister. Frustrated by this move, he blasted his mother calling her names and yelled at her, decrying her decision to hand over power to the sister as a thutcha, neecha, balu act.

So who ran the party when these two Bandaranaikes were not there? It is the party loyalists who worked tirelessly and selflessly at the grassroots level to save the party, facing the brunt of the attacks of their UNP opponents. The Bandaranaikes now cry their hearts out as if only the Bandaranaikes had sacrificed their lives to the party. But have they forgotten so soon how the ordinary man in the streets and villages sacrificed their lives without receiving rewards in return like the Bandaranaikes who were the beneficiaries of the perks of office they held at various times?

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