Former President Maithripala Sirisena and Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage were engaged in verbal confrontation today.
The argument triggered when Minister Aluthgamage responded to remarks made by State Minister Dayasiri Jayaskera earlier. “Mr. Jayaskera had criticized me earlier when I was out of chambers. He mentioned that if one digs into my conduct it would stink. I would like to state here that accepting cheques from Arjun Aloysius, if one digs into conducts,” he said.
“Mr. Jaysekera was referring to a speech I made the other day comparing the expenditure connected with the former President and the incumbent President. I only said the incumbent President had set an example by saving a total of Rs 1.7 billion. I said the former President had spent Rs. 335 million for fuel while the incumbent President has spent only Rs 90 million. Former President had spent Rs. 16 million for domestic traveling while the incumbent President had spent only Rs. 5 million for this purpose. We have a right to come up with this comparison. If the former President wants to confront us, we are ready,” he said.
Mr. Sirisena who responded said his expenditure as the President was much lesser compared to his predecessors. “I also set an example by cutting down expenditure. I won’t confront the way Mr. Aluthgamage wants me to. We confront each other in a different way,” he said.
“Mr. Aluthgamage should remember what happened to the governments of Late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaiake who confronted her allies. I also came out of the government in 2014 and what happened to the government which I formed later? Remember that this government is also a coalition,” he said. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)