While opposition seeks its Presidential common candidate Parties leaving UPFA shakes Government’s

19 November 2014 07:17 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The opposition, grappling with an arduous task to find a candidate  acceptable to all, received a new lease of life after the Jathika Hela  Urumaya (JHU) broke ranks with the government on Tuesday.


 For the first time after the war victory, the United People’s Freedom  Alliance (UPFA) was shaken by the fact that one of its allies left it, making  somewhat of a  challenge to the unstinted popularity it enjoyed so far at  electorates, particularly in the non-urban areas .


 The JHU took this decision on Monday  after a lengthy evening session of its Central Committee meeting . The  Central Committee analysed the written  response of the  Sri Lanka Freedom  Party (SLFP) to its demands covering 35 points. Finally, JHU theoretician  Patali Champika Ranawaka resigned from his Cabinet post as the  Technology and Research Minister, and the party’s legal advisor from his post as  a minister of the Western Provincial Council. The party announced at a  press conference on Tuesday morning that it would act independently in Parliament .


 The opposition looks happy now as they believe  the JHU’s move will  be the death knell of the government bracing for a presidential election  in early January. On behalf of the main Opposition United National  Party (UNP), Kurunegala district MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha welcomed this  move in his speech during the budget debate. In fact, he even called  other senior ministers,disillusioned with the government, to follow the example of  Mr. Ranawaka  and join hands with the opposition to unseat the  incumbent government. This is the first time when a Cabinet minister  quit the government during the term of the presidential election. It  happened on the birthday of the President. Therefore, some  believing  in astrological powers, consider it as a bad omen.


 Though JHU clearly announced the departure from the government, it did  not specify its next course of action in clear cut terms. This leaves  scope for anyone to interpret their action in different ways. One school  of thought , prevalent among the opposition analysts, is that JHU has  kept open its option ahead of the snap presidential election, and it is  early to conclude on their final strategy. Likewise, it is also believed  that the party will eventually team up to field a candidate acceptable  to all under a common symbol. Or else,  there is another school of thought that it will field its own candidate  aimed at defeating the government in the final count. However, things  will unfold after the announcement of the election today as widely  expected; making clear what direction all these parties will take in  view of the next presidency of the country.

 


JHU still remains open for talks with the Govt.

 

 

"The SLFP agreed to implement some proposals of the JHU forthwith. Yet it had  reservations about the implementation of constitutional reforms proposed  by the JHU."

 


The JHU took this decision after five rounds of meetings with SLFP  starting from October 21. Irrigation and Water Management Minister Nimal  Siripala de Silva, Vocational Training and Skills Development Minister  Dullas Alahapperuma, Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil  Premajayantha and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa  participated in these meetings with the JHU. Besides, JHU also had a round  of discussion with President Mahinda Rajapaksa during that period.

 

 The SLFP agreed to implement some proposals of the JHU forthwith. Yet it had  reservations about the implementation of constitutional reforms proposed  by the JHU. The party asked the SLFP to submit its written response to  these demands outlined under 35 points in writing. The JHU received it  last Friday, and it was discussed by the party’s Central Committee last  Monday. Besides, it was also referred to the forum of local authority  members representing the party on the same day. After much deliberations  coupled with views for and against, it was finally decided to  relinquish all the responsibilities held with the government as an  initial step.


 Mr. Ranawaka meanwhile said the JHU still remained open for talks with the government.


 “We have not decided whether to field our candidate to support the  government or to join hands with the common opposition ,” he said.
 After quitting the government, the JHU is now planning to initiate a public  awareness campaigning alongside engagements with various Buddhist  movements. Also, it is planning to make representations to the  Mahanayake Theras.

 


Respite in opposition talks

 

"It is learnt that Ven. Sobhitha Thera discussed all the  matters pertaining to the election, and stressed the need to shed all  differences for a common exercise aimed at ending the present rule"

 


There was a respite in the  series of negotiations undertaken by the  parties in the opposition to reach understanding on the common candidate  after Ven. Maduluwave Sobitha Thera , the convener of the National  Movement for Social Intergration was hospitalized  and Opposition Leader Ranil  Wickremesinghe left the country for a brief visit.


 Ven. Sobitha Thera was discharged from  hospital on Tuesday and  Mr. Wickremesinghe returned to the country . The parties in the  opposition are now poised to resume their dialogues and even to  accelerate the process once the election is declared. Prior to his  departure from the country, Mr. Wickremesinghe convened a meeting of its  G 20, and asked its MPs to refrain from making individual  comments on  the possible common candidate as it is a matter to be taken up at party  level.


 “We can take our stand as a party and put it forward  for other parties.  After that, a decision can be arrived at. These are matters solely to be  taken up at party level.Therefore, MPs should not make individual comments,” he reportedly told the meeting.


Talatha accompanies Sajith to meet Ven. Sobhita Thera


UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa firmly held  the view that  Mr. Wickremesinghe should be the candidate this time. There was no  relenting in this stand. Finally, his colleague MP Talatha Atukorale  intervened to take him to the temple of Ven. Sobhita Thera in Kotte  early this week. It is learnt that Ven. Sobhitha Thera discussed all the  matters pertaining to the election, and stressed the need to shed all  differences for a common exercise aimed at ending the present rule .

 


CBK rigorously engaged

 

"Yet, it is now apparent that CBK will  play a prominent and public role during the campaign of the opposition,  possibly engineering a defection within the SLFP which is the key ally  of the government. "

 

 


It is learnt that he also met with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga on Monday for another round of discussion aimed at wooing her support for this exercise by the opposition.


 Earlier, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R.Sampanthan also had  a one to one meeting with her in Colombo.  It is learnt that the TNA has  assured the Tamil votes from the North and the East overwhelmingly for  her if she is ready to contest. Despite such engagements, it is unlikely  that she will contest this year. Yet, it is now apparent that she will  play a prominent and public role during the campaign of the opposition,  possibly engineering a defection within the SLFP which is the key ally  of the government. The opposition fears that there will be legal  implications if Ms.Kumaratunga is fielded as the candidate because  of certain court rulings involving her. Therefore, the possibility is high  for her involvement in the campaign trail only, rather than opposing  President Rajapaksa as the common candidate.

 


Mano asks TNA to drop party politics

 

"Mano Ganeshan, who is in the forefront  of uniting the opposition for a common approach at the presidential  election, has asked the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to drop regional  politics in view of this election"

 


Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganeshan, who is in the forefront  of uniting the opposition for a common approach at the presidential  election, has asked the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to drop regional  politics in view of this election, and instead to rally around a  national cause.


 In this case, Mr. Ganeshan has asked the TNA leadership not to dwell too  much on their long standing demands such as demilitarisation of the North, power sharing on federal lines and the implementation of the 13th  Amendment to the Constitution in full.

 


SLMC holds talks with leftist parties

 

"The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), as part of its political meetings, held talks with the three leftist allies of the government on Tuesday  in the parliamentary complex. The party briefed these leftist allies of  the problems confronting the Muslim community"

 


The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), as part of its political meetings, held talks with the three leftist allies of the government on Tuesday  in the parliamentary complex. The party briefed these leftist allies of  the problems confronting the Muslim community . Besides they discussed  the current political developments .  Communist Party leader. D.E.W. Gunasekara, Lanka Sama Samaja Party leader  Prof. Tissa Vitarana and Democratic Left Front leader Vasudeva  Nanayakkara attended this meeting with SLMC leader Justice Minister  Rauff Hakeem and other party officials. 

 

 

Sumanthiran’s entry to Jaffna politics creates rumblings 


TNA National List MP, M.A. Sumanthiran is planning to contest the next  parliamentary election from the Jaffna district. Yet, his entry into  Jaffna politics is however not to the liking of many in the area, as  they feel threatened by his move. Mr. Sumanthitan is now laying  groundwork for contesting from the area.  Also, it is learnt that none  of the alliance partners of the TNA is ready to give nomination to its  member of the Northern Provincial Council Ananthi  Sasitharan, the widow  of LTTE leader Elilan. In such an eventuality, it is learnt that she is  planning to join hands with the All Ceylon Tamil Congress of Gajendra Kumar  Ponnambalam. It is an ultra nationalist Tamil party toeing a separatist  line. 


In fact, this party declined to contest the election of the  Northern Provincial Council claiming that  the provincial council  system falls far short of its political demands .

 


Mervin to personally mutter something to MP Handunnetti’s ear

 

"‘‘You were able to close down a liquor shop in Kelaniya within 11 hours.  You claim to be so powerful. Yet,  there is no bail for your son despite  it being a bailable offence’’"

 


During the committee stage of the budget on Wednesday,  Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Sunil Handunnetti asked why Public  Relations Minister Mervin Silva could not secure bail for his son Malaka  Silva accused of assaulting a foreign national. “You were able to close down a liquor shop in Kelaniya within 11 hours.  You claim to be so powerful. Yet,  there is no bail for your son despite  it being a bailable offence. Why are you helpless in this matter?”he  asked.


 The Minister replied,”I cannot comment on a matter pending in court.  Yet, if you meet me personally, I will tell you everything by murmuring  to your ear,” he said.

 


Arjuna loses political  support from his brothers


The million dollar question asked by many is about the common candidate .  Those, interested in politics, are confused as to who will be the next candidate .  Against this backdrop, some elements have set off speculation that MP  Arjuna Ranatunga will take the baton as the common candidate with the  blessing of all. This speculation irked his two brothers serving with the  government. One of them is Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna  Ranatunga and the other MP Ruwan Ranatunga.


 Mr. Prasanna Ranatunga was quick to remark  ,”Whoever contests from the  opposition, we will back the government. We will follow in the footsteps of  out father the late Mr. Regi Ranatunga who forever remained with the SLFP. We do  not miss Arjuna being in the opposition,”

 

 

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