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SJB NPP public debate becoming a non-event?

09 Apr 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana   
The proposed public debate between Samagi Jana Balawegaya  (SJB) and National Peoples Power (NPP) seemed to be becoming a non-event  with the former sending mixed signals whilst the latter says its  economic specialists are ready for a debate if Opposition Leader Sajith  Premadasa avoids its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.   
SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva told the media that two separate  debates should take place. “Myself, MPs Kabir Hashim and Earn  Wickramaratne are ready for a debate with NPP economic expert team led  by Sunil Handunnetti. Let the NPP economic expert team talk of debt  restructuring and the agreement with the IMF with us. The two party  leaders, Premadasa and Dissanayake can have their debate separately,” Dr.  de Silva said.   



“NPP can tell us about its policy on debt restructuring, and we can come out with our stand as well. Let’s not mix up this  debate with the debate on the two leaders,” he added.   
Dr. de Silva said the public debate between the economic  expert teams can take place in open areas and can be telecast live  on all TV channels.   
SJB MP J. C. Alawathuwala came up with a different idea at a  press briefing, saying there should be one debate where the economic  expert teams of both parties and two party leaders can participate.   
“The only thing that has to be done is to fix up a date for  the debate. Then the two party leaders and economic expert teams can  debate,” he said.   
NPP MP Harini Amarasuriya said it was better to debate with  the two leaders who are contesting the presidential election and said  if SJB leader Sajith Premadasa was not ready for it, the NPP’s economic  council was ready for the debate.”We have not refused the debate. We  proposed to hold the debate between the two leaders as a presidential  election is around the corner, If their leader is not ready, we will go  to the next step. We will have the debate between their economic experts  and our economic experts,” she said.  
The two parties have been challenging each other for a public debate but are yet to fix a date and a venue for it.