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When reading the pulse of the people is vital

27 December 2018 12:00 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Xmas spirit in Sri Lanka was dampened somewhat due to both manmade and natural disasters. Much of the north is affected by adverse weather which had left 26,314 families and over 80,000 people displaced by Wednesday(December 26) morning. We heard Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Perera appealing to the people to provide aid to these displaced people. He said that it was the duty of the people to do so and to focus on this responsibility even though the country was celebrating Christmas. The Cardinal, it seems, is quick to respond when the country is effected by a natural or political disaster. 

The manmade disaster was the 52-day chaos that the country plunged into. Normalcy was restored when the Supreme Court ruled that the decision taken by President Sirisena to dissolve parliament before the completion of a four and half year period  was unconstitutional. The new Cabinet sworn in on December 20 (Thursday) has a herculean task at hand to resurrect the economy which is burdened by heavy foreign debt. 


  • Maheswaran’s appointment as a state minister raises eyebrows
  • But Sri Lankan politics is such that the bad reigns over good
  • The Government has hinted that there would be many surprises in the 2019 Budget
  • Though the UNP won its battle within parliament it is set to face mounting challenges outside it in the future

But the challenge for the new Cabinet under President Sirisena would be to work along with the Executive, who is ill-disposed towards its ministers. Premier Wickremesinghe has to continue wearing his thinking cap given that the president rejected a request made by the UNP Leader to reactivate the previous national government. The UNP’s motive in making this request was to team up with the SLFP and strengthen the Cabinet. 

The UNP has its concerns about the future because as many as 15 government ministers were absent when the last ‘Vote on Account’ took place. This is very serious and amounts to a breach of trust because the UNP’s political future depends on the support of several minority parties. For the record there were several TNA parliamentarians among the 116 who were absent during the voting for the ‘Vote on Account’. 

He has warned that the Muslims have lost this power to bargain because they have accepted ministerial posts in the new government. This is food for thought for the UNP which is hell-bent on tapping the minority parties

The end of the Christmas celebrations leaves us counting the days till we usher in the new year. But the country’s citizens, focused on 31st Night celebrations are also watchful because among the newly appointed ministers are the names of those who are associated with so much controversy and negativity. Some of the individuals who we would least wish to see as lawmakers are Ravi Karunanayake, Arjuna Ranatunga, John Amaratunga (Cabinet Ministers), Vijeyakala Maheswaran (State Minister) and Palitha Thewarapperuma (Deputy Minister). 

Karunanayake was forced to resign as Finance Minister over a controversial Penthouse issue while Ranatunga was time and again embroiled in disputes with the employees of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development during his tenure as its minister. 

Good and the bad in politics 

Maheswaran’s appointment as a state minister raises eyebrows because she is a lawmaker who almost brought curtains down on her career as a politician after making the controversial statement that the LTTE should be resurrected in the north. Karunanayake too ran the risk of being eliminated from politics due to his alleged involvement in the Penthouse issue. But Sri Lankan politics is such that the bad reigns over good. In other words those who walk straight are destined to be ousted while those who walk crooked generally enter parliament.  

This is why Cabinet Minister and Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Ajith P. Perera has stressed that the UNP should play the second innings it has got very cautiously. Perera is of the opinion that the Green Party must serve the people within the limited time it has to ensure it gets a third innings to play in politics.
Despite the UNP getting set to deliver during the upcoming 2019 new year, all eyes are on the new Budget to be presented by the Wickremesinghe government. The Government has hinted that there would be many surprises in the 2019 Budget. But what’s inauspicious is that the UNP controlled Kandy Municipal Council Budget for 2019 was defeated a few days ago.

The UNP has its concerns about the future because as many as 15 government ministers were absent when the last ‘Vote on Account’ took place. This is very serious and amounts to a breach of trust

The UNP led government has to pick up these signals if it is to read the pulse of the people and make necessary adjustments. Another disturbing news is that as many as six provincial councils have gone public in saying that they would not support the new government. Though the UNP won its battle within parliament it is set to face mounting challenges outside it in the future. 

The TNA for now offers its support to the UNP. But it has put down many conditions for the support it extends. The UNP might not be able to meet all these demands. In this wake there is another minority party, the United Peace Alliance, which has made a very strong point. Its Chairman and former minister Basheer Segu Dawood has affirmed that the Muslims have bargaining power only till they remain in the opposition. He has warned that the Muslims have lost this power to bargain because they have accepted ministerial posts in the new government. This is food for thought for the UNP which is hell-bent on tapping the minority parties by offering them ministerial posts for its survival. 

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  Comments - 1

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  • gamini Thursday, 27 December 2018 06:38 AM

    What ver said and done what Sirisena said about ranil wickremasinghe is 100% correct,it is the Gospel truth no doubt,what he did to dismiss the PM may be wrong\Ranil is guilty without a doubtIf he has 15 dignity and self respect would would even now resign after the Presidents speech to the cabinet that took nearly 40 minute to describe Ranil wickrema singhe and his currupt administrationHe is cold blooded calculated thief of the first orderIn saudi arabia he would be hung on a pole ahot dead by a hale of bullets


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