Thu, 18 Apr 2024 Today's Paper

SLPP reaping what it sowed

4 November 2023 08:05 am - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

  • The SLPP leaders are unlikely to accept this challenge as it is very clear to anybody conversant with the relevant Constitutional provisions that defeating the budget would be counterproductive to the SLPP
  • President Ranil Wickremesinghe has been attempting or pretending to be attempting to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, apparently keeping the Tamil votes in mind 
  • While speaking to the media on Monday, Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr Bandula Gunawardena who is also an economist ruled out any possibility of meeting the trade union demand, unless taxes are further imposed or increased 

Are we witnessing another Yahapalana Government, not in its literal sense, but in its political sense? One would recollect that the Yahapalana Government was a cart pulled back and forth by two horses.   
President Maithripala Sirisena ran one government while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was running another. Ultimately, one sacked the other in 2018, but the Supreme Court saved the latter.  
However, there is a difference between then and now; the two leaders of the Yahapalana Government were digging each other’s graves whereas leaders of the two parties of the current government do not seem to go to that extent, they are just each other’s throat, really or ostensibly.  


President Ranil Wickremesinghe has been attempting or pretending to be attempting to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, apparently keeping the Tamil votes in mind. 
However, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the real political strength of the President within the government is not in favour of it. Some of its leaders have been agitating against the idea arguing that Wickremesinghe has been appointed just to run the office for the remaining period of the term of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who did not have any mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment.  
After the President made various promises from resolving the ethnic problem before the 75th Independence Day to fully implementing the 13 A within two years and convening all-party conferences and negotiations with the Tamil political parties since November last year, the ethnic problem now seems to have been put on the backburner again.  
Now the government is attempting to shift the attention of the people from the ethnic problem to electoral reforms, though it had come to the fore intermittently after Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office as President in 2019. In the latest move in this regard, President Wickremesinghe has appointed a nine-member commission under the chairmanship of former Chief Justice Priyasath Dep on
October 16.   
However, our sister paper The Sunday Times reported that Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had got to know about the Commission only while he was presiding over a discussion two days later with Opposition political parties for the same purpose.  
Interestingly, the same paper had also reported that Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe at the time had submitted a concept paper to the Cabinet on amending the Parliamentary Election Law in order to elect 160 members under the First-Past-the-Post system while appointing another 65 members as per the district and national proportion of votes each political party gets.   
Things seem to be not planned in one place and thus
haphazardly handled.  
The divisive approach of the two groups within the government, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and the United National Party (UNP) towards important issues concerning governance is manifested again in their response to the agitations by the public sector trade unions for Rs 20,000 salary hike.  


While speaking to the media on Monday, Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr Bandula Gunawardena who is also an economist ruled out any possibility of meeting the trade union demand, unless taxes are further imposed or increased. 
State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya also on the same day had stated that a huge amount of money would be needed if the government is to increase the salaries of 1.4 million State workers and payments for 600,000 pensioners, at least by Rs 100.  
Both the Minister and the State Minister, particularly the Mass Media Minister who is supposed to inform the masses of the government’s plans, mainly those that were politically gainful to the ruling parties must have been flabbergasted later in the same day evening when President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Cabinet that government workers’ salaries would be increased through the
upcoming budget.   
The Mass Media Minister who previously argued against a pay hike had to inform the people about the President’s announcement the next day. What an irony!  
These differences between the President and the ruling party turned into an open conflict as the President in a surprising move made a mini-Cabinet reshuffle involving only three Ministers and a State Minister on October 23.
The health portfolio was removed from Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who faced a no-confidence motion in Parliament last month over allegations of corruption, mismanagement and deaths of patients purportedly caused by substandard drugs and offered to Dr. Ramesh Pathirana in addition to the industries portfolio he has
been holding.   


The responsibility of plantation industries which was under Dr. Pathirana was given to Mahinda Amaraweera who would also retain the Agriculture Ministry that was already under him. State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya was appointed as non-Cabinet minister of Plantation Enterprises in addition to what he had been earlier.  
Despite the removal of the Health Ministry from Rambukwella being the issue that drew the interest of most of the people, the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was concerned most about Amaraweera being entrusted with the plantation industries portfolio.   
They do not see the appropriateness of two similar subjects – Agriculture and plantation industries - coming under the purview of one minister but angrily protesting against a subject that was under a member of their party being assigned to a Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) member.  
Some of the infuriated SLPP leaders, such as its General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam and Namal Rajapaksa had gone to the extent of making veiled threats to defeat the budget that is to be passed next month. 
Some young SLPP leaders had questioned the President’s knowledge about coalition politics. The mini-cabinet reshuffle might have irked the SLPP leaders for another reason as well. The President had ignored their demand to include more of their members in the Cabinet for the past year. They seem to be of the view that their demand should have been met at least to some extent with this latest Cabinet reshuffle.  
A group of SLPP dissidents are organizing themselves as separate faction under the leadership of Nimal Lanza MP who is maintaining a close relationship with the President.   
The group, it was rumoured was functioning from the Presidential Secretariat, until they found a separate office outside. It is natural for the SLPP leaders to consider this as the President encouraging dissidence within their party.  
Adding fuel to the fire, Lanza, on October 26 threw a challenge at Kariyawasam and Namal Rajapaksa to defeat the budget, if they can. In fact, the SLPP leaders are unlikely to accept this challenge as it is very clear to anybody conversant with the relevant Constitutional provisions that defeating the budget would be counterproductive to the SLPP.   


The Constitution provides for the President to appoint a new Prime Minister and a Cabinet if a budget is defeated. A hostile President is likely to offer more room for the SLPP dissidents in the Cabinet in such an event, while repeated defeats of the budget by the SLPP at a time when the country is reeling under an unprecedented economic crisis would also politically serve the President.  
The current situation may be somewhat humiliating for the SLPP, but it would continue to offer them - at least a section of them - opportunities for corruption and protection as well as perks and privileges as a ruling party until at least the next Presidential election is held in 2024. After all, it was the SLPP that voted Wickremesinghe into power.  

 


Order Gifts and Flowers to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Kids Toys, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,Astrology, Courier/Delivery, Medicine Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka

  Comments - 3

Order Gifts and Flowers to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Kids Toys, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,Astrology, Courier/Delivery, Medicine Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka
  • ANNECUNT Monday, 06 November 2023 02:40 PM

    you barstards your family ruined my country and put 22 million into hunger

    Suhada malli Tuesday, 07 November 2023 11:30 AM

    The easiest thing to do is to blame the leaders. However if the country is to pick up, it is the adventurous risk takers, industrialists, technologists and innovators who should be actually taking the plunge to increase productivity and exports. Governments are there to facilitate.

    ANNECUNT Wednesday, 08 November 2023 01:39 PM

    you only sowed the seed of corruption please keep away from politics,the land belongs to our children


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment





Order Gifts and Flowers to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Kids Toys, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,Astrology, Courier/Delivery, Medicine Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka

MIRROR CRICKET

More