Govt. confident of a two-thirds majority- former State Minister Indika Anuruddha | Sunday Observer

Govt. confident of a two-thirds majority- former State Minister Indika Anuruddha

The new SLPP led Government to be formed after the election will launch a number of programs to develop the country, said former State Minister of Housing, Indika Anuruddha.

The Former State Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said that during the tenure of the former Government, even the amendments to the Constitution were used to cater to the interests of certain extremist elements. We have to rectify those grave mistakes by the Yahapalana Government when we move forward as a stable Government to rebuild the country.

Q: Is the Government confident of securing a two-thirds majority?

A. Under the prevailing atmosphere, the Government would definitely secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament. At present, the main Opposition, the UNP, themselves have created that environment due to rifts and infighting within the party.

Q: Do you think the rift between the two UNP factions would be an advantage to the Government?

A. Definitely. At present, the UNPers are at sixes and sevens as to whom they should vote for. Therefore, we don’t think the majority of them would go to polls to cast their vote.

This is the appropriate time for the Government to go for a comfortable majority in Parliament. This kind of situation has never been created in our political history. The 19 th Amendment to the Constitution introduced by the former Yahapalana Government has created a series of issues in the country. Steps have to be taken to amend the Constitution over introduce a new Constitution which would safeguard free education and health, while giving prominence to protect Buddhism and other religions.

The new SLPP led Government to be formed after the election would be able to launch a number of programs for the country. During the tenure of the former Government, even the amendments made to the Constitution were used to cater to the interests of certain extremist elements.

We have to rectify those grave mistakes made by the Yahapalana Government when we move forward as a stable Government to rebuild the country.

Q: Former UNP parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera and two other Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) candidates have withdrawn their candidacy. What led them to resort to such a course of action?

A. We have to be very careful about people such as Mangala Samaraweera. Politicians such as Samaraweera look in a hateful manner at whatever attempts made for the betterment of the country. Samaraweera, together with various international elements always worked to bring disrepute to the country.

He sank himself into a degradable level by insulting Buddhism by saying that Sri Lanka is not a Buddhist country. Therefore, politicians such as Samaraweera have not given up their pro-West sympathies and sentiments.

They talk about the independence of the judiciary but they do completely the opposite. I feel Mangala Samaraweera has launched yet another project to cater to the interests of somebody. The people should be aware of this as Samaraweera may decide to withdraw from contesting the election to hatch another conspiracy against the country. The people have to be alert about these acts. As politicians, it is our responsibility to find out these conspiracies and expose them to the country.

Q: How do you view the President’s remarks to the Central Bank officials for not extending their support for the proposals put forward by the Government to revive the economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic?

A. When we took over the country after the 2019 Presidential Election, industrialists and businessmen had faced a severe setback.

Therefore, a decision was taken to provide some sort of relief to those who had faced severe hardships to settle their loans. Actually, this was discussed about eight months ago.

This responsibility is fully vested with the Central Bank to look into the situation and create a link with the banking network.

The President is aware that even if discussions are held with top Central Bank officials and economic experts, the decisions taken are not implemented. The Central Bank always says that they have informed the relevant authorities.

They should look into whether the instructions given by them are implemented properly. It is mainly the private banks which make mistakes and don’t follow the guidelines issued by the Central Bank properly.

The private banks cannot be allowed to act as they wish and there are laws and rules in the country. If the Central Bank officials engaged in their traditional form of work without extending their support to the Government to revive the economy, it has to be seriously looked into.

How many financial institutions have collapsed in our country? However, the Central Bank didn’t have any follow up on those collapsed financial institutions.

As a result, the depositors and businessmen had to face severe hardships. Actually, that is what even the President said. It is only the President who can openly say that. Otherwise, the ordinary citizens are not in a position to express such views. Therefore, the President directly told the Central Bank officials about the hardships faced by the people. That was not blaming them.

The genuine intention of the President is to provide a proper service to the people through the Central Bank. However, the Opposition attempts to undermine such statements due to their political bankruptcy. When a President and a Government who are very keen to listen to the public grievances are in power, the Opposition can also point out the shortcomings in the banking sector. Without doing so, the Opposition attempts to mislead the people

Q: Do you think there is an environment conducive to conduct a free and fair election giving priority to the healthcare protection of the people?

A. It is the responsibility of the Government to create an environment to conduct a free and fair election. The opportunity to conduct a free and fair election is obstructed when the Government in power misuses state resources for its election campaign. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has already issued clear guidelines for the heads of the state institutions not to engage in political activities or use state resources or vehicles for the Government’s election campaign.

The Government can ensure the conduct of a free and fair election. However, we are highly disappointed with certain decisions by the Election Commission to cater to the interests of some of its members. At present, a huge amount of money has to be spent for the election due to certain restrictions imposed on the election campaign by the Election Commission.

As a result, the candidates who have money can successfully conduct their election campaign via the media. The candidates who genuinely represent the people but lack sufficient money will have to face severe hardships. It would have been more appropriate if the Election Commission introduced a system which is fair to all candidates contesting the election.

Instead of doing so, the Commission has also created the necessary environment only for those who have money and power to face the election.

Q: Government lawmakers and even the TNA have raised concern that the 19 th Amendment to the Constitution should be abolished. Your comments?

A. A series of issues have arisen due to the introduction of the 19 th Amendment to the Constitution. For example, if we take the independent commissions, we can see the situation created in the country. The election is one of the basic fundamental rights of the people. If there is a member in the Election Commission who proposes not to conduct the election, we can see the situation faced by the country.

The ex-TNA MPs such as Sumanthiran were also at the forefront of introducing the 19 th Amendment to the Constitution.

When various people who campaigned for the 19 th Amendment accept that it has led to a series of controversies, then we have nothing to say. What we said at the inception is repeated by them.

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