Minister Rajitha comments on Vasudeva’s parliamentary behaviour
Minister of Health Rajitha Senarathna was interviewed recently regarding the present political scenario.Excerpts:
By Priyantha Kodippili
Q : Good governance has run into much turmoil.
It is natural for any government attempting to install good governance to go through a period of turmoil. Like society politics too has degraded. When action is taken against the degraded politicians , some are trying to frame it as an issue. Even Bandaranaike’s Cabinet faced such issues. There were boycotting Cabinet meetings and in the end Bandaranaike was assassinated. These were done not by the opposition but by his own party men. Somarama was an active member of the ,SLFP so were Buddharakhitha, Ananda Jayawardene and Wimala Wijayawardene. Similar characters are there in Maithripala’s government, but wearing different faces. Like the earlier crowd, the present one is also blocking Maithripala Sirisena.
Q : Do you say that the conspiracy is from within?
Yes. This is a repetition of the history of the SLFP. Those who were with Bandaranaike ridiculed him; in a similar manner those who are with Maithripala Sirisena find fault with him.
Q : It appears that unity among several civil societies during the presidential election has run into trouble..
Active forces rally round when there is a fight. After a victory everybody lays down arms and tends to rest. The enemy we defeated on January 8th seems to be awakening again, and forces that battled them have teamed up. We are rallying round more than 15000 activists in Colombo by the middle of next month. With them we are going to form a force to protect the good governance..
Q : Some charge that the government has failed to complete the tasks promised during the presidential elections, and that it has no moral right to continue as a government.
There was much debate in bringing in the 100- day programme. The UNP opposed our suggestions for six months. But they never shifted from their stand. It is evident to any person that implementing these proposals within 100 days was not possible, and no one would have objected to taking even three hundred days.Without allowing us to complete the 100 days programme those who carried red and green flags and shouted would end as traitors in history.
Q : Are you hinting at those in the JVP and UNP who supported you?
A- It appears now that they have put aside Yahapalanaya and are thinking of their own party agendas.
Q : What about the elections?
Elections will be held at the proper time. First we will honour our pledges and then go for elections.The UNP was keen on the 19A, but not so keen on the 20A . They are weighing the pros and cons of the matter. The president had said that a new government would be in office by September. Now we have time to resolve these issues permanently. What is more important is how the election would be conducted and whether the next Parliament paves the way for rogues, corrupt people, ethanol dealers and drug lords.
Q : Isn’t there a tug-o- war about the premiership?
To whom it goes doesn’t matter as there will be a national government. The president is on our side.
Q : If Mahinda Rajapkasa gets elected?
I do not think he will be so foolish to become the PM. But he would not be happy to be an opposition member either. He may prefer to be an MP with two security guards. His problem is how best he can escape from the charges levelled against him and members of his family. He first told the media, ‘hit anyone but not the Rajapaksas,’ now he thinks anyone and not a Rajapaksa should go to jail either. After falling from power it is natural for him to think of offering flowers at temples.
Q : Dinesh says there’s no looking back until Mahinda is made the prime minister.
Though he says that now, he used to scold Mahinda in our midst then.
Q : Those who ridiculed Maithripala later came and accepted organisers’ posts from him. Aren’t you ashamed to be with them?
We have no issues. It was they who accepted such posts.
Q : How is the prosecution of corrupt politicians proceeding?
We cannot act like in the days of Mahinda, when Sarath Fonseka was dragged and put in jail. Today the courts are taking decisions, and there’s no-one to interfere. You can see how one by one offenders are getting caught.
Q : It is noted now that foul language is used in Parliament during debates.
I was not in the Parliament when this incident took place. I was shocked on hearing of it. This only proved the low levels into which a leftist politician like Vasudeva has fallen. He had been the minister of official languages. He has authority over three languages; he has started using a fourth language. He is not only a dry pumpkin but a stinking durian as well.
Q : When will the Arjuna Mahendran matter end?
We have presented this matter to COPE. It was the biggest blow to good governance.
Q : Is it true that your son is contesting at the next election?
He has his own political programme and would be contesting from Colombo. He did a great job in defeating the former government candidate.