UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe called Co Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa for a discussion last week.
The meeting between the two was held last Monday afternoon at the parliamentary complex.
Wickremesinghe has discussed the appointments of the National Organiser and the new Working Committee scheduled to take place this week. The party’s consultative committee is to meet on Monday (2) to discuss the appointments as well.
During the discussion, Premadasa has pointed out that the appointment of the National Organiser should have been done by the interim Working Committee, since the rest of the office bearers were appointed by it.
He has said that assigning the appointment of a National Organiser to the new Working Committee would create some legal issues. The Party Leader has noted that the appointment of the National Organiser could be assigned to the new Working Committee as an urgent matter. However, no specifications have been given as to why it would be considered as an urgent matter.
Wickremesinghe had then summoned senior UNP Parliamentarian Joseph Michael Perera, who also headed the party’s reforms committee, to the discussion.
However, Wickremesinghe had not made any positive response to the issues raised by Premadasa.
Wickremesinghe still seems determined to appoint UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake as the Party’s National Organiser ignoring the proposal of Parliamentarian Ranjith Madduma Bandara’s name to the post in the interim Working Committee.
Be that as it may, Premadasa has assured the pro-reforms group in the party that he was firm in his decision to call for the appointment of senior party members and people’s representatives to the new Working Committee and to acknowledge Madduma Bandara’s name to the post of National Organiser.
Meanwhile, several senior UNP members have decided to propose the name of one of the party’s financiers, Daya Gamage, to the post of National Organiser in order to resolve cold war that has commenced over the matter.
The party seniors have said that Gamage would be a neutral candidate who would have the support of a majority of the Working Committee members. They have said that in the event of an election for the post, Gamage would win the vote.
The pro-reforms members of the party have nevertheless said it was unethical of the party leadership to ignore Madduma Bandara’s name as it was officially proposed and seconded in the interim Working Committee when Wickremesinghe decided to postpone the matter and later dissolve the Committee.
Premadasa has said that Wickremesinghe would not be allowed to flout the party constitution and make arbitrary decisions. He has threatened to resign from all posts and take his battle to the party membership if the party leadership fails to abide by the new constitution.
MR Asks Ministers To Find Solutions
The issue of the rising cost of living has also hit the government again with the threat of a possible milk powder shortage in the country due to the non-increasing of prices keeping with increasing global prices.
Milk powder importers last week warned of a shortage with several companies stopping the importing of milk powder to the country.
The issues of milk powder and fuel prices were among the key issues discussed by the subcommittee on Food Protection and Cost of Living headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa that met at Temple Trees last week.
The ministers have observed that it was not easy to maintain prices in the local market given the increases recorded in the global prices.
Not pleased to hear the ministers say there was no solution to the issue, Rajapaksa however has informed the ministers in the committee to formulate a strategy to prevent an increase in the local market prices.
The ministers have then pointed out that the government had managed to maintain prices during the New Year season without allowing them to increase, but that it was not going to be easy to continue in such a manner.
Meanwhile, Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne had said fish production had increased to 4,000 metric tonnes during the first three months when compared with the fish production during the same period last year.
Ministers Johnston Fernando, Nimal Siripala De Silva, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, C.B. Ratnayake, Rajitha Senaratne, Deputy Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena, and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga had attended the meeting at Temple Trees.
Ranil Shifts Office To Sirikotha
The Opposition Leader’s Office that was located at Cambridge Terrace has been shut and Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has shifted his official work to the party headquarters, Sirikotha and the office at No.30 Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha.
Wickremesinghe’s Cambridge Terrace office has played an important role in the country’s political history where many key decisions have been made.
UNP sources said the office at Cambridge Terrace was maintained at a cost of several lakhs of rupees every month.
Apart from saving money, Wickremesinghe’s move to shift his work to the two main party offices would help him keep a close watch on party activities.
Mervyn’s Acting Career Begins
The usually loud Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister Mervyn Silva has taken a step back in the government’s protest campaign against the report by the panel of experts appointed by the UN Secretary General on Sri Lanka.
Silva takes the lead in any government protest and is also known to make loud statements on such matters to the media.
However, when the government announced its decision to launch a protest campaign against the UN panel report, Silva was a notable absentee in the scene.
It is now learnt that Silva’s political career has taken a back seat to his newly launched acting career.
Silva has commenced shooting in his maiden film role in the movie, Sihina Lovin Avilla and has therefore temporarily moved out from the political limelight.
In the movie, the loud-mouthed minister plays the role of King Dutugemunu, whom he claims to be descendant of.
He has committed himself to the role of King Dutugemunu saying he would do justice to it.
KP To Be Used To Counter UN Allegations
KP, the one time LTTE leader is now to be used by the government to respond to allegations leveled against it by the international community.
Former LTTE international wing leader and chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP is to be used by the government to counter the UN Secretary General’s panel report on Sri Lanka if required.
Cabinet Spokesperson and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella made the comment at the Cabinet press briefing last week.
Pathmanathan was arrested after the conclusion of the war in May 2009 in Malaysia. Since he was brought to Colombo, KP has been working with the government to bridge the gap with the Tamil Diaspora.
He even initiated the visit of several members of the diaspora to the country and organised visits to the North.
The government later informed parliament that KP had formed an NGO called the North East Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (NERDO).