SLFPers complain of step-motherly treatment | Sunday Observer

SLFPers complain of step-motherly treatment

3 January, 2021

Party leaders who met on Monday, December 28 decided to postpone the Provincial Council elections after considering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country and the request by the members of the Maha Sangha.

On Tuesday, December 29, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told the media that as the MPs representing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, they have pointed out that it is not appropriate to hold the Provincial Council elections at this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic problems in the country. He said that the election should be held under a new electoral system.

Minister Amaraweera said there was an opinion in political and social circles that the Provincial Council system should be abolished. However, others say that the country should have Provincial Councils. “It will not be easy to abolish the PC system. Although the PC elections have not been held, the PCs are still functioning. The PCs were set up under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Some countries are watching us closely. Therefore, we cannot forget the world scenario as well. There is no need to start a new war to abolish PCs.”

He said several backbenchers in the SLPP were targeting the SLFP every day. “Our local organisers are being harassed. We also presented facts about this at the party leadership meeting held on December 28. Amaraweera further said prominent leaders of the SLPP will never act in a way that harms the SLFP and all of them respect our party. We are not disappointed. However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and SLPP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa agreed to focus on our problems and provide solutions.”

Warm wishes

Commencing duties in the New Year, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met Ministers, Members of Parliament and his staff at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday, January 1. Mingling with the gathering, President Rajapaksa said that it is necessary to work with optimism, determination and commitment to achieve the aspirations of the people while being conscious about the challenges facing the nation.

Extending his warm wishes to Ministers, MP and his staff, the President engaged in a cordial discussion with them. Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera administered the oath marking the commencement of official duties by public servants for 2021.

Dr. Jayasundera said, “The entire public service should be sincerely committed to an efficient and effective public service as per the Saubhagya Dekma national policy framework.”

He said the country is moving towards professional leadership. He said the President hoped for a public service that would fulfill the aspirations of the people under the “new normal” that has evolved following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Secretary to the President said, “Despite severe financial difficulties, ours is the only Government in the world that has paid salaries and allowances to over 1.5 million public servants and over 600,000 retirees on time without any deductions.”

He said the Government led by President Rajapaksa is committed to protect public servants. He said it is the responsibility of all public servants to commit themselves to render best of their service to the country.


The United National Party (UNP) has planned a series of protests demanding that the Government provides relief to the people who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic downturn in the country.

A UNP senior told the media that the UNP had decided to launch a series of protests against the Government for the sake of people although we were rejected by the people at the last General election.

The party senior said, “The fight against the Government will be taken to the streets as people are facing untold hardships due to the present situation of the country.”

He said the previous Government succeeded in controlling prices of essential items while effectively facing a number of challenges within the country and outside. The present Government has failed to provide relief to the people who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis.

Religious ceremonies

On the eve of the New Year, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa along with Minister Chamal Rajapaksa were present at religious ceremonies in Kataragama to invoke the blessings of the Triple Gem and the Gods. Premier Rajapaksa first paid homage to the Kataragama Kiri Vehera and then proceeded to the Devala premises to pay homage to the historic Ashta Phalabodhiya. Just prior to the dawn of the New year, the Prime Minister visited the Kataragama Devalaya and offered fruits at the God Kataragama Shrine and sought blessings.

No political revenge

Defence Secretary, General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne said the Government will not resort to taking political revenge from anyone. He told the media, after paying homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy on Tuesday, December 29, that if the Government had resorted to political retaliation after coming to power, many would have been in prison today.

He said no arrests have been made for any reason other than those who have been convicted of wrongdoing up to now. He said that the President, the Prime Minister, the Government and Government officials will not resort to political retaliation. The Defence Ministry Secretary also stressed that steps will be taken to rectify any injustice that has taken place after discussing with the Attorney General regarding those who have been subjected to political retaliation in the past.


The UNP announcing its stance on the final rites of those who die due to Covid-19, said that the Government should reach a consensus and take a speedy decision after consulting all communities and religious leaders.

UNP Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene issuing a media release on behalf of his party, stated that Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had placed the matter before the UNP Working Committee at its meeting held on December 23 and the Working Committee had unanimously approved his idea.

According to Wijewardene, UNP Leader Wickremesinghe had suggested that it was the right of the people to decide whether to cremate or bury their dead, and that the Government should consult Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic and Muslim religious leaders before making a decision on the matter.

“We are of the views that all people can be ascertained only if they are represented by responsible religious leaders representing all religions,’’ Wijewardene’s statement added. The UNP while always giving priority to Buddhists has also defended the rights and values of other religions and as such the party looks at this issue from a broader perspective, he said.


Army Commander Shavendra Silva who was promoted as General, visited the Mahanayake of the Asgiri Chapter Most Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera on Tuesday, December 29 to receive his blessings.

The Mahanayake Thera said the services rendered to the country by Gen. Silva to defeat terrorism and his leadership in heading efforts and guiding the security forces in rescuing the country and the people from the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be underestimated. He said the whole country should appreciate the efforts taken by the Army Commander and his team to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in the country on the instructions of the President and the Prime Minister.

The Mahanayake Thera said exemplary officers such as General Shavendra Silva should be recognised and promoted to the highest ranks, adding that Gen. Silva had not only committed himself and worked for the betterment of Buddhism, but had also worked cordially with other religions.

He said that officers such as Gen. Shavendra Silva are role models for other officers who should follow his example. Thereafter, the Army Commander also visited the Anunayake of the Asgiri Chapter Ven. Wendaruwe Upali Thera. The Thera said that Gen. Shavendra Silva’s actions should be seen as an example that other state officers need to follow.

Later, Gen. Silva visited the Malwathu Vihara and met Anunayake Ven. Dimbulkumbure Wimaladhamma Thera and received his blessings. Ven. Wimaladhamma Thera said, “It is commendable that the President is selecting clever officers and promoting them. The promotion given to you is a joy for the whole country. You are an officer who was caught up in two wars.”

While some SLFP stalwarts have hinted they might consider leaving the Government as they are being given step motherly treatment, SLFP Leader and former President Maithripala Sirisena told a foreign newspaper that his party was ready to contest the coming Provincial Council elections alone if the SLPP doesn’t give it a fair share of candidates.

Former President Sirisena has said that the SLFP was treated unfairly when candidates were selected for the August 2020 Parliamentary Election. He said, “We were treated unfairly when the candidates were picked for the General Elections in August 2020.

Our party didn’t get a slot in either the Kalutara or the Nuwara Eliya districts. In Gampaha, we were given only one. In Kurunegala, we were given only two slots. In the districts we are strong, we were not given a fair number of slots. We asked for 30 candidates. Had we been given 30 slots at the last General Election, we would have got at least 25 MPs in Parliament.”

He said while the SLFP looks forward to contesting the upcoming Provincial Council election with the SLPP, it is also ready to go solo, “If there is no fair treatment. Our party will decide on a solo journey. We are ready for both options.”

Locked horns

TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran and ITAK Leader Mavai Senathirajah have locked horns again over the party’s failure to retain its power in some of the Local Government institutions in the Northern Province.

Former MP Senathirajah had issued a statement absolving ITAK leadership of the blame for failure to win the elections held at the Jaffna Municipal Council and the Nallur Pradeshiya Sabha on Wednesday, December 30 to pick a Mayor and a chairman respectively. The EPDP won in Jaffna and the TNPF in Nallur.

The EPDP is led by Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and TNPF by MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam. Senathirajah in his statement has said the TNA lost the elections due to a conspiracy hatched by two constituents and, therefore the ITAK, which is also a member of the TNA was not responsible for the setbacks.

Senathirajah has said it is the second time MP Sumanthiran has openly criticised TNA policies and its leaders, and he will personally write to Sumanthiran expressing his displeasure at the latter’s conduct.

SLFP CC meets

The Central Committee of the SLFP met at the Party Headquarters on Wednesday, December 30. The meeting chaired by Party Leader Maithripala Sirisena commenced around 7 p.m. The meeting had taken a decisive turn due to several party seniors airing their views on the step-motherly treatment meted out to SLFPers by the Government.

The SLFP’s future political journey and its reorganisation had also been discussed at length during this meeting. However, three party seniors, SLFP General Secretary and State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, UPFA General Secretary Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and SLFP Senior Vice President Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had said that the SLFP will not be hasty in ditching the Government. Jayasekara had said that the SLFP has already sought a meeting with the President to discuss their grievances.

Forty percent

The SJB has called upon the Government to ensure through constitutional means at least 40 percent of youth participation in the national legislature and in other tiers of Government. Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s office, Colombo this week, SJB Parliamentarian Imthiaz Bakeer Markar said that the Government and other political parties should try to increase the participation of the youth in political institutions besides seeking their votes.

He said, “The Prime Minister of Finland is a 35-year-old woman. Malaysia’s Youth Affairs Minister is 26 years old. Recently, a female Mayor 21 years of age was elected in a city in Kerala. We must take into consideration such world trends. He said soon most of the world leaders would be from the younger generation. Therefore, we urge the Government to bring about laws to ensure through constitutional provisions youth participation in Parliament and other administrative bodies.”

He said there was no internal democracy in the UNP during recent times so that they formed the SJB, whose constitution ensures that there could be opportunity for change of leadership of the party every year. “I plan to submit a Private Member’s Motion requesting that laws be brought to ensure youth participation in governance.”