Nepotism. Is it the preserve of the SLFP? Firstly, it was Dudley succeeding his father as Prime Minister when the former died in an accident. Was Dudley the most senior? No. Was he the most suitable? No. Then he groomed his nephew for the party leader’s post. There was a time when people thought Rukman will inherit the party. The UNP stood for ‘Uncle-Nephew Party’, it was said at the time. JR Jayewardene was the victim of all that. He survived.
When JR took over after Dudley died in 1973, he fought the SLFP on a strong anti-nepotism platform. He won. He then began to groom his nephew, Ranil Wickremesinghe to take over the party leadership one day. Ranasinghe Premadasa would have none of it. He took over in 1988. He had said, ‘My father was not a politician and my son will not be one either’. He didn’t get to groom his son Sajith, but here we have him fighting Ranil for the UNP leadership. And now Ranil has brought in his nephew, Ruwan Wijewardena, some say to groom him to take over once Ranil retires.
It’s all about ‘Gene Right’, apparently.