Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was left out entirely in the 2020 Cabinet of Ministers after working tirelessly in favour of SLPP candidates. His constituents in Maharagama electorate were disappointed. Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha is a forceful voice in any Cabinet of Ministers and a true patriot. He was one of the few ministers who had the guts to stand by his convictions and to take correct decisions according to his conscience. Once he resigned as the Minister of Justice because he realised it was against his conscience. Many of his supporters felt that he should have been in the new cabinet when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa plans to build a new country by eradicating poverty.
Usually, disputes and differences within political parties take place before an Election. It is an extraordinary situation in the 2020 General Elections (GE) that almost all the major political parties are still engaged in backbiting over the ‘nominated’ lists, and party leadership in the UNP.
Despite criticisms and insults by the opposition before the General Election held on 8 August 2020, voters gave the thumbs up to Rajapaksa brothers. They led the SLPP to victory with a two-thirds majority in the new Parliament. It is a rare occurrence in Sri Lankan politics, after the landslide victory for the MEP led by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in 1956.
However, people disremembered the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and the Sri Lanka Freedom party after sixty-one years. The reasons being due to either the generation gap or as the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga Bandaranaike blasted all those who were responsible for the fading off the SLFP.
On 21 November 2014, Maithripala Sirisena who was the Minister of Health in the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime defected to the opposition. He announced that he would be the ‘common candidate’ to contest the 2014 Presidential Election against Mahinda Rajapaksa. His Election campaign slogan was: “If Mahinda Rajapaksa Government came to power again, he would be six feet under the ground!” After his defection, the senior members of the SLFP stripped off Maithripala Sirisena’s name with all other MPs who held ministerial positions of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
The UNP backed up Maithripala Sirisena at that time by forming a New Democratic Front with 36 opposition parties and civic groups. The Alliance won the Presidential Election.
Within hours of Maithripala Sirisena becoming the new President of Sri Lanka, he appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of a National Government, what he named as the Yahapalanaya. Later he realised the horse had bolted the stable and the door was wide open when he became a victim of a plot worked out by Ranil Wickremesinghe. It later became crystal clear to the Nation as the Executive and the Prime Minister were pulling apart.
During the ‘100-day programme’ the Yahapalana regime introduced the 19th Amendment (19A) to the Constitution of Sri Lanka with 215 voting in favour, one against, one abstained, and seven were absent, on 28 April 2015. The Amendment envisaged the weakening of many powers of the Executive President- Maithripala Sirisena.
The SLFP turned to new paths in January 2015. Maithripala Sirisena was re-appointed as leader of the SLFP. After many arguments and confusion over the years, Maithripala Sirisena formed a new alliance with the SLPP to contest the 2020 General Election under the SLPP. In doing so, the former President of Sri Lanka, Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena contested the General Election in 2020 from the SLPP ticket as an ordinary candidate from Polonnaruwa Electorate and managed to poll the highest number of preferential votes.
Everyone who held respectable positions in past SLFP-Allied Coalition Governments did not get any ministerial posts in the new Government after the glorious win by the SLPP, neither did Maithripala Sirisena. Susil Premjajantha, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Ranjith Dissanayake, W.J.D. Wijewardena, Ranjith Siyabalapititya, S.B. Dissanayake, W.J.D. Seneviratne, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Dilan Perera, Chandima Weerakkody and Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe were left behind. The SLFP after the Election invited Kadar Masthan, who contested the Vanni District on the SLPP ticket and won, to join the SLFP still, he politely declined the offer on 9 August 2020.
SLFP members Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Ranjith Siyabalapititya were appointed as the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Ninth Parliament respectively. Vice-Chairman of the SLFP Nimal Siripala de Silva, and Mahinda Amaraweera (General Secretary) received the Labour and Environment portfolios separately. Still, a dispute is brewing up in the SLFP to include another member into the National List.
Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was left out entirely in the 2020 Cabinet of Ministers after working tirelessly in favour of SLPP candidates. His constituents in the Maharagama electorate were disappointed. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe is a forceful voice in any Cabinet of Ministers and a true patriot. He was one of the few Ministers who had the guts to stand by his convictions and to take correct decisions according to his conscience. Once he resigned as the Minister of Justice because he realised it was against his conscience. Many of his supporters felt that he should have been in the new Cabinet when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa plans to build a new disciplined country by eradicating poverty.
Right throughout the Election campaign, the SLPP requested the voter to be sensible and to appoint a new Government with a two-thirds majority to repeal the 19th Amendment, which stood as an obstacle to the progress of the country. The new Minister of Justice is drafting the legal framework to revoke the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and table the 20th Amendment with a unique tailor-made draft Constitution suitable to Sri Lanka.
The 2020 General Election is over and done with. However, some of the political parties are still playing musical chairs being unable to nominate their National List members. The Election Commission gave all political parties an ultimatum till the 14 August 2020 to submit their lists of members to the National List. However, the UNP after hitting the dust in the recent General Election by not winning a single parliamentary seat its members are still fighting to nominate its only member for the National List.
UNP created history because after 73 years this giant party, which ruled the country alternatively during the past 72 years was a dominant absentee in the new Parliamentary session held on the 20 August 2020
The problem is made complex by UNP members involved in post-Election infighting by not being able to name their only member for the National List along with the replacement of the party leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe. The majority of the UNP members, after the humiliating defeat are coming forward to lead the party with a new outlook. The consensus, however, suggests that Ranil Wickremesinghe should retire from politics for the good from the UNP. The latest is that Ranil Wickremesinghe is cunningly planning to enter the legislature once again through the National List! He was in politics for the last 43 years as a Member of Parliament, Minister and the Prime Minister several times.
SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa, after discussions with leaders of the minority alliance, managed to submit 6 members to the National List. Ape Janabala Party seems to engage in a never-ending swirl in deciding whom to nominate their single candidate to Parliament from the National List. Involvement of three monks, in this connection, makes the situation extremely embarrassing for Buddhists. In the meanwhile, Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thera declares that “not a single Buddhist Monk should represent Ape Janabala Party from the National List.”
Righteous Society – Prosperous Nation
The first act of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was to cancel all car permit allocations to members of Parliament. It was an open secret how some of the MPs sold their imported luxury vehicle car permits to make a profit of over Rs 250,000. Although, the car permit saga is over yet an MP’s salary plus all other allowances (particularly Rs 50,000/- for telephone use alone) will undoubtedly boost MP’s income. It must have been the reason why there is so much quarrelling among party members on the issue of National List members.
The new Government policy should be to concentrate on MP’s pension after four years of being a Member of Parliament. The ordinary citizens have to work until they reach a pensionable age of 55! In such circumstances, one wonders whether peoples’ representatives are committed to helping the society’s needs, particularly when one gets elected to Parliament from the National List! President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes to convert the afflicted present situation in Sri Lanka and fulfil his ambition to transform the society into a righteous and a prosperous nation.
Politics in Sri Lanka for the past 72 years was akin to a dog’s tail because whatever efforts were taken to straighten it, the tail was impossible to uncurl!
Pic. Credit: Google and Firefox photos; Ceylon Today newspaper.