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Brawls, Boycotts, Blasts and Batty Buffoonery; Remnants of Yesteryear’s “Full-serials”?

13 December 2021 12:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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MP, Manusha Nanayakkara was allegedly roughed up by a government member last Friday. The SLPP, in denying the allegation, made a counter allegation against Nanayakkara of threatening the Speaker. Disregarding their sacred duties by the people, the two sides were accusing each other and boycotting sessions

 

A glorious performance by royal jesters, ably emulated by Diyawanna comedians; complete with brawls, boycotts, blasts and ‘batty’ buffoonery, has become the order of the day.  The timely intervention of the Sergeant-at-Arms, prevented fisticuffs— No Show: gallery disappointed! Filmgoers of my vintage will remember the 1950s/60s comic book movies of South Indian and Sinhala extraction -, for they flocked to Capitol, Plaza,  New Olympia, Sellamahal, Gaiety, Empire, Sapphire, Kingsley and Navah, to name a few [Some are now gone, being torched by our racist ‘heroes’ during the 1983 riots].  


With swords drawn, punches thrown, or bullets sprayed, an abundance of fight scenes to cogitate about for days and months— the ‘breathing soul’ of adolescent school children, pavement hawkers and market vendors who patronized them at the lowest rated ‘Gallery’, for 55 cents, can now be witnessed at the highest echelons of State. The difference? Tickets would cost you millions, irrespective of your choice to buy them or not and performed with added melodrama, ‘Great State Robberies’; since the beginning of the last decade, with two films already screened and now forgotten. The third, obviously ‘Now Showing’, along with trailers of ‘Coming soon’, replete with snippets of ‘brigades’ and ‘Weles’, playing villains. 


MP, Manusha Nanayakkara was allegedly roughed up by a government member last Friday. The SLPP, in denying the allegation, made a counter allegation against Nanayakkara of threatening the Speaker. Disregarding their sacred duties by the people, the two sides were accusing each other and boycotting sessions.  They were wasting state funds while most of the poorer sections are managing with one square meal a day; and essential services are experiencing immense difficulties, due to lack of funds. Nanayakkara is considered as a respected representatives returned by the Galle’s voters; though he needs time to beat mercurial Wijayananda Dahanayake, who revolutionized the Parliament for over four decades, representing eight different political parties from 1947 to 1989, with two short breaks [3 months in 1960 and two years from 1977 to 79]. The parties that he represented, included, Bolshevik–Leninist Party, Lanka Sama Samaja Party, Basha Peramuna, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, Lanka Prajathanthravadi Pakshaya, Sri Lanka Freedom Socialist Party, Nationalities Unity Organisation and United National Party.


Manusha, the journalist who was initially selected to parliament on the United National Party nominations, won in 2010. When the UPFA swept the board, the ambitious young man did not waste time in opposition but crossed the floor to serve his people. Subsequently, during the regime of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he switched sides again, an act many saw as deserting or disappointing his UNP supporters in Galle. The clever young man read the pulse of the voter, made a U-turn, abandoned Mahinda, joined the Maithri-Ranil ‘Yahapalanaya’ and claimed a Deputy Minister’s post.  The ‘52-day conspiracy’ led by the Rajapaksas and President Maithripala Sirisena, in November 2018, made Nanayakkara, the ‘democrat’, to resign his Deputy Minister’s position and go back to the UNP. 


‘Daha’, as he was affectionately known, ‘gained’ notoriety when he attempted to enter Parliament wearing a loin cloth (an ‘Amude’ in Sinhala parlance) and was prohibited from entering parliament chambers. He made a record six-hour speech, illustrated with anecdotes and quoting 19th C poets. Daha became Prime Minister for five months, [Oct 1959 –March 1960] when he sacked the cabinet overnight and formed his own new party, only to be punished by the Galle voters, losing his home base in March 1960, by 400 votes. 
The SJB said it would move the Supreme Court in quest of justice, if the Speaker delayed taking action on this grave incident. Chief Opposition Whip, said the Speaker was under the strong arm of the government. Nanayakkara was excessively interrupted by Minister Johnston Fernando, who also vehemently objected to granting additional time for him, according to Kiriella. “When Manusha proceeded to the Speaker’s Chair in order to discuss with the Speaker, requesting for a few more minutes, [perhaps the standing orders were suspended?], the Chief Government Whip and the State Minister Fisheries, moved towards Nanayakkara uttering obscenities and even used physical force” he said. ‘Fearing for life’, they decided to stay away and only patronized the restaurant for sharing breakfast. The whole affair was ridiculous, but amusing. 


Parliamentary scuffles have shocked the democratic world in recent times: in May, 2012, a brawl broke out in the Ukrainian parliament over a bill giving the Russian language equal status to Ukrainian. In December 2011, in Somalian parliament a crash erupted over the election of a new speaker; members stabbed each other with pens, with some legislators ending up in hospital. In Taiwan’s parliament in May, 2007, fisticuffs erupted in the house between members of the ruling Party over questions about why the budget had been delayed. A mass fist fight erupted in the Bolivian parliament during a debate in August 2007, over trying judges on corruption charges. Objects were thrown into the melee injuring some MPs.  
  Ill-founded, though a brilliant effort by CBK in analysis, assessment and attempt, to present her ‘Devolution Proposals’- in August, 2000, proved a disaster. The product was the result of a strenuous dialogue with all concerned and drafted over a period of six years from June 1994, by Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Constitutional Affairs, along with late Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam [Who was assassinated by the LTTE for this ‘purported crime’]. 


The document spoke about a united country, with maximum power devolution. The UNP did not give the seven votes needed for a 2/3rd majority, accusing Prof. G.L. of sneaking in a clause to extend CBK’s term. There was no such attempt; in fact it contained a clause to abolish the Executive Presidency entirely, at the end of the Incumbent’s term. Ranil was not keen on the abolition, thinking that he could win in 2005. She personally presented the Bill, when the UNP MPs misbehaved inside the chamber, which reminds one of how the SLPP behaved last week.  Presenting her draft, CBK said, “Today is indeed an historic day. Mr. Speaker, this Constitution is designed to end the ethnic war which totally destroyed the lives of the people of this country. If the opposition howl here today, like a pack of jackals, it is a huge difficulty to me, Mr. Speaker”. CBK was heckled and continuously interrupted with cat-calls by the opposition UNPers. Some threw copies of the draft constitution onto government benches, while others tore up and burnt them inside the chambers. At one point, the Speaker’s patience was sorely tried. An infuriated Speaker was heard to cry “I say leader, do something!”
Nothing like, “Istard to Ent, Pyte & Comit Machang …”

 


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