President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week met with candidates from the Mullaitivu District contesting under the Citizen’s Front and said that there was no SLFP present in the District.
The President had asked the candidates to work closely with the government, as the SLFP is not represented in the Mullaitivu District.
It was the first meeting Rajapaksa had with candidates contesting the local government elections after it was declared.
The President on Thursday (3) at 4.30 p.m. met the candidates who were led by UNP Parliamentarian and Citizen’s Front Secretary Jaya Sri Ranga at Temple Trees.
The President’s meeting with the Citizen’s Front candidates came as a shock to many government members as the UPFA is also contesting in the Mullaitivu District.
Several senior government ministers have discussed among themselves the President’s meeting with the candidates of another party when the UPFA was also contesting in the District.
During the discussion with the candidates, the President had said that he would ask the authorities to expedite the resettlement programme and the road development programme in the District.
The President has asked the people in Mullaitivu to work closely with Sri Ranga and said that he would ask his son Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa to work in the District.
In lighter vein, he had also asked Sri Ranga to join the government by telling the candidates that he should rightfully be part of the government.
When the people had explained the difficulties in carrying out fishing in the area, the President had said he would ask the Fisheries Minister to immediately address the issues.
The Difference Between Mubarak And RW
Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has been at the receiving end of many jokes following the Hosni Mubarak saga in Egypt.
A few weeks back, parliamentarians and the visiting speakers from parliaments in the South Asian region were hosted to a sailing trip on the Jetliner.
UNP and governing party parliamentarians were all engaged in friendly chatter.
Suddenly everyone started to focus on the situation in Egypt, which was the main issue at the time.
Wickremesinghe had said that given the opposition raised by the people against Mubarak, he should have stepped down earlier.
Hearing the comment, UNP Colombo District Parliamentarian Sujeewa Senasinghe said that at least Mubarak got the message and stepped down in 15 days, whereas Wickremesinghe has remained in the UNP without budging an inch for 15 years.
“Sir, at least Mubarak stepped down in 15 days, you have been here for 15 years,” Senasinghe had said to the amusement of everyone around him including governing party members.
Even President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a similar statement when he posed a question to his ministers whether it was he or Wickremesinghe who was like Mubarak in Sri Lanka.
More Conspiracy Theories
Media Minister and Government Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella has found yet another international conspiracy.
Rambukwella last week decided to make a comment to local media personnel where he charged that there was a conspiracy to tarnish the government’s image in the international arena with the assassination of journalists and the suppression of the media including attacks on media institutions.
When a journalist asked as to how this could be, the Minister stated that the attacks on the media were part of a conspiracy to tarnish the government’s image before even carrying out proper investigations. Rambukwella said that he had the right to make such comments.
He has said that that was what democracy was all about.
Displeasure Among Govt. Supporters
Governing party members are gradually beginning to voice their displeasure at the government and how they are being treated in it.
UNP Parliamentarian Prabha Ganesan who crossed over to the government last year has openly stated that despite being promised Rs. 20 million to carry out welfare measures for the Tamil community, the promise has yet to be fulfilled. Ganesan has even told the media last week that Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa had promised Rs. 20 million to him and another UNP cross over, Parliamentarian P. Digambaram.
He has added that the monies allocated through several state institutions to Ganesan have also not been given to him. According to Ganesan, the monies were to be utilised for development work.
However, Ganesan has now sought a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the issues faced by the Tamil community and the need to implement specific development projects targeting them. Ganesan and Digambaram showed the first signs of displeasure during the Cabinet reshuffle last year.
The disgruntled duo were promised portfolios this year by Rajapaksa. These crossers-over to the government are now the latest additions to the long list of disgruntled governing party members ranging from senior to junior members.
Paba’s Move Affects Ranjan
Actress turned politician, Parliamentarian Upeksha Swarnamali also known as Paba has decided to move into her official quarters at the MPs’ housing complex in Madiwela.
Swarnamali decided to separate from her husband and file for divorce after she was brutally assaulted last month over a domestic dispute.
Swarnamali, who entered parliament from the UNP crossed over to the government last year to support the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
Following the assault, the Parliamentarian was initially treated at the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital and later at a private hospital for her injuries.
Soon after she decided to separate from her husband, several government ministers expressed their willingness to provide Swarnamali with a fully furnished apartment for her to move into after receiving her treatment in hospital. Following reports in the media of the move by several government ministers to provide the wounded Parliamentarian with a luxury abode, they decided to shelve the idea.
Swarnamali has now decided to move into the quarters allocated to her as a Member of Parliament in the Madiwela housing complex.
Interestingly, UNP Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake had occupied her quarters, as she opted to reside in her private residence after entering parliament.
Ramanayake had taken Swarnamali’s quarters on rent.
Ramanayake it is learnt had used the quarters for his security personnel to reside in. Soon after Swarnamali had decided to move into her quarters, Ramanayake was faced with the problem of finding a suitable abode for his security personnel.
In his search for another quarters, Ramanayake last week had made several telephone calls to parliamentarians who were not using their official quarters saying he wanted to find a place fast for his security personnel.