- Parties state that invitation for all ex MPs since 1970’s a joke
- Parliament must reconvene to decide critical issues
- Opposition MPs say their proposals criticised by govt.
By JAMILA HUSAIN
Almost all opposition parties will boycott the meeting with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today and have reiterated their call for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to reconvene Parliament as soon as possible to discuss all critical issues over COVID-19, the Daily Mirror learns.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa, had last week invited all former parliamentarians, including those who had at least served one parliamentary term since 1970 to attend the meeting which will be held at Temple Trees at 10.00 am today.
The decision to have the meeting had surfaced after the Prime Minister had sought the approval of the Cabinet last week. Some of the items on the agenda which will be taken up for discussion at the meeting are the current progress regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic challenges, the path forward, why the Parliament is not being reconvened and all queries and concerns of the opposition.
However, with almost all opposition parties expected to be absent, the topic of discussions are likely to stick to COVID-19 and the challenges only. Although earlier, the United National Party had decided to attend the discussions, a senior official from the UNP told the Daily Mirror yesterday that the Prime Minister’s invitation for all former parliamentarians to attend since 1970 was a ‘mere joke’.
“I do not know what the government is trying to gain by inviting those who were not present in the former parliament. This meeting is a joke and we have decided not to attend,” the senior UNPer said.
Tamil Progressive Alliance Member, Mano Ganesan said that his party would also boycott the meeting today as this was a collective decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, an alliance which the TPA joined hands with in February. He said all SJB members reiterated their call for President Rajapaksa to reconvene Parliament as soon as possible.
The Daily Mirror learns that although the Tamil National Alliance had initially decided to attend the meeting, they too were now likely to stay away. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said the TNA will release a statement on the matter today. The SJB and JVP have already released statements confirming they will boycott today’s meeting.