Will President’s APC supersede Steering Committee?

2 November 2017 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The country witnessed a major uproar after the Steering Committee released its interim report outlining proposals for constitutional changes.

The political forces and Maha Sangha, sensitive to the character of the Constitution in the making and the status to be accorded to Buddhism, took up cudgels against the process arguing that the proposed changes, if enacted, would relegate the primacy of Buddhism enshrined in the current Constitution, and give a new lease of life to separatist forces.

Upheaval reached its climax with people taking to the streets at the behest of these political parties, mainly the Joint Opposition.

As things unrolled in this manner, President Maithripala Sirisena, who kept himself aloof from any direct involvement in Constitution making, entered the scene last Monday as he said he would call for an All Party Conference to initiate discussion with all the stakeholders.

It appears that it is his political strategy  that he would not directly become party to any process dealing with controversial matters, yet intervene at the last moment to subdue flaming fires if it spins out of control.

It appears that it is his political strategy that he would not directly become party to any process dealing with controversial matters, yet intervene at the last moment to subdue flaming fires if it spins out of control. More or less, the President acted in the same fashion during the last couple of years in the office when and where such issues, controversial in nature, arise.

 

It was the very same strategy he adopted in regard to the issue involving South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) commonly called the private medical college of Malabe. The protests raged in for months in the country, with university students, backed by their teachers, parents and some trade unions, demonstrating and holding protest marches almost on every single day. The police had to expend a lot of tear-gas canisters in their arsenal to disperse the protesting students, and on occasions, it led to the arrest and incarceration of student leaders. Doctors were striking work constantly over the SAITM issue.

Finally, the President’s committee offered a solution, and it was accepted, though with scepticism, by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA). In that sense, the President subdued the fire to an extent rather than allowing it to snowball further. It is not Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella who could do something about this.
More or less, the President acted in the same fashion during the last couple of years in the office when and where such issues, controversial in nature, arise.

It has created a fear psychosis that the President‘s move would supersede the current process. But, most were unaware of what the President is up in this regard as of now. The fear has gripped those keen to have the new Constitution enacted.

 

His latest intervention in the constitutional making process is looked at seriously by political watchers. The move comes in the wake of heat mounted by Maha Sangha representing all the chapters against the proposed constitution. The intervention would have been meant to cool the heat in this regard. Or else, he would have intended to take over the constitution-making process, leaving out the Steering Committee from the task.

It has created a fear psychosis that the President‘s move would supersede the current process. But, most were unaware of what the President is up in this regard as of now. The fear has gripped those keen to have the new Constitution enacted.


Tight security for MR in Maharashtra

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was an on a visit to India, met with Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis for 40 minutes at his office. Mr. Rajapaksa, accompanied by former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris, was there primarily to attend an International Buddhist Conference in Aurangabad. He also visited Ajanta and Ellora caves in the area. Maharashtra has a population of 11 million, five times the size of Sri Lankan population. Also, more than 15 percent of the population is Buddhists.

Prof. Peiris said, for the Chief Minister, it was a happy occasion because the meeting coincided with his third year in office.

The State Government had assigned tight security for Mr. Rajapaksa with the assignment of 17 vehicles for his escort and a contingent of commandos.


Mahinda Deshapriya cracks jokes with Basil

Ahead of the local authorities’ election, the Elections Commission met with the representatives of the political parties last week to brief them about electioneering under the new system and to seek their views for streamlining the mechanism.

Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who now spearheads Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna under the Flower Bud symbol, attended the meeting and directed a series of questions at Elections Commission‘s Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya.

Mr. Deshapriya was also curious to know why it was only Mr. Basil Rajapaksa raising so many questions. So, he said, “I wonder why you are having so many questions’.
In reply Mr. Rajapaksa, “Mine is a novel political party with no experience in electioneering. As a novice party, we would like to know more.”

Mr. Deshapriya, who burst into laughter upon hearing it, dubbed it as the biggest joke he ever heard during the day.

“I know how you operated electioneering at that time at Temple Trees with the use of a highly advanced computerised system. If you say you do not know electioneering, it will be nothing but a joke for me,” he said in lighter vein.

Laugher reigned in the meeting which was otherwise serious.


President intervenes to secure funds for Champika’s waste project

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, who lamented about of lack of annual grants for some development work in Colombo, was in for a rude shock once again when the Finance Ministry had reservation about an allocation of Rs. 14 billion for his waste management project in Aruwakkalu, Puttalam.

However, President Maithripala Sirisena came to his rescue at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. The President instructed the Finance Ministry to release money without any reservation to execute this project.

“Today, the country is virtually stinking with waste. It has to be addressed. Therefore, Minister Ranawaka should be given a helping hand to deal with the matter,” he said.


 

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