Sunday, June 16, 2024

President inaugurates Political Office

by malinga
June 9, 2024 1:20 am 0 comment 579 views

President Ranil Wickremesinghe was the chief guest at the felicitation ceremony for veteran actor Ravindra Randeniya at the BMICH on Wednesday. Here the President being greeted on arrival. Pic: Courtesy PMD

President Ranil Wickremesinghe went to ‘Sirikotha’ on Sunday and made several positions at the UNP Working Committee meeting including posts related to the election. The membership of Ranjith Madduma Bandara, who had been suspended, was reinstated during the meeting.

A Political Office was also opened marking another milestone. President Wickremesinghe went to the ‘Sirikotha’ party headquarters on Sunday morning to chair the Working Committee meeting. On that day, the proposal to reinstate the membership of SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara was approved and he was also appointed to the Parliamentary Committee on political cooperation of the party.

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe informed the Working Committee, that Wajira Abeywardena, Harin Fernando, Manusha Nanayakkara, Vadivel Suresh and Ranjith Madduma Bandara will be appointed as members of the Parliamentary Committee of the party.

The UNP appointed Minister Harin Fernando as the National Elections Organiser and Ronald Perera PC was appointed as the National Elections Deputy Secretary. Ravi Karunanayake was appointed as the National Secretary and Firoz Shabdeen was appointed as the Treasurer. Misbah Sattar, who worked as Treasurer, was appointed as a party Vice President. Krishan Theodore was appointed as Deputy General Secretary of the party.

The Working Committee approved the appointment of the remaining office-bearers of the party as before and also approved the appointment of new zonal organisers of the party. Party General Secretary Range Bandara had arranged to present appointment letters to all the zonal organisers by President Wickremesinghe.

Bad weather

Director General of Government Information Dinith Chinthaka Karunaratne informed the President about the bad weather.

The President spoke to the Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka and State Minister Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon and instructed them to look into this immediately.

They immediately went to the Disaster Management Centre and gave instructions. Later, Ratnayaka went to Matara and Seethawaka to inquire about the disaster victims and took steps to provide them relief.

Sagala Ratnayaka, who went to Kolonnawa early on Monday morning, along with SJB MP S.M. Marikkar and SLPP MP Sarath Weerasekara, contacted the Tri Forces and the police and worked to provide facilities to the people.

In the meantime, he also informed the President about these activities and the President told him that he would come to check on the well-being of his neighbours in the Sedawatta village where his mother’s relatives lived.

The President, who went to Kolonnawa, first went to the temple where he discussed with officials and public representatives to find a permanent solution to the flood issue. There it was decided to bring strict laws to check unauthorised constructions and filling up low-lying lands.

President visits flood victims

After that, the President went to meet the affected people and comforted them. It was also decided to present the particular Cabinet paper to the Cabinet that evening and approve it.

That morning, before the meeting of the Political Cabinet chaired by President Wickremesinghe, the group met in the office of Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka. There, matters to be discussed with the President were summarised.

Birthday cake

During the discussion, Director General of Government Information Dinith Chinthaka called the President and said that it was Minister Tiran Alles birthday that day. A plan was implemented and when the Political Cabinet met under the patronage of the President, Tiran was surprised to see a cake with candles aglow. After the cake was cut and congratulating Tiran, the Political Cabinet met. A cake was cut at the Presidential Secretariat for Tiran that morning as well as in the evening. It was at the Government parliamentary group meeting.

In the evening, the Government parliamentary group meeting was held at the Presidential Secretariat. There was talk about the bad weather and the Doppler euipment.

At the end of the parliamentarians’ speeches, President Wickremesinghe said, “It is useless to talk about that equipment now. Let us first look at the relief work for the people. We will go to the people and find out the deficiencies and provide solutions,” the Present said.

The President went to Ruwanwella on Tuesday morning to award the ‘Urumaya’ title deeds. Then he went to the Meedeniya Walauwa, where he has a relative, and on his way back from where he stopped for a while and went to inquire about the well-being of the people displaced by the floods.

President Wickremesinghe, who inspected the floods from a helicopter, gave instructions to officials over the phone.

World Environment Day

After the presentation of credentials by a group of new Ambassadors and High Commissioners on Wednesday, the President symbolically awarded medals to eight students from four school pioneer brigades and certificates and gifts to ten best green railway stations at the World Environment Day celebrations at the Presidential Secretariat.

In the evening, the President went to the BMICH to attend the ceremony ‘Ravi-Self-Reflection on Half-Century in Cinema’ organised in recognition of veteran actor Ravindra Randeniya’s outstanding contributions to Sri Lankan cinema.

There, President Wickremesinghe recalled how he met Ravindra Randeniya’s family as the Kelaniya Organiser in 1975.

After that, President Wickremesinghe congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Indian Prime Minister invited President Wickremesinghe to attend his swearing-in ceremony.

On Thursday morning, President Wickremesinghe inaugurated his Political Office at Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha, Colombo at the auspicious time. The ceremony included religious rites and blessings performed by prominent religious leaders.

UNP Chairman Wajira Abeywardena had played a major role in setting up this office.

After the blessings of the Maha Sangha and other religious patrons, the first thing the President entered in a notebook caught everyone’s attention. The people who came could see that the President had written the note in two languages as ‘Arambaya – The Start’ and also signed in Sinhala and English. The President’s ability to note down the correct words at the right place in any situation was a matter of admiration for everyone.

The President also held a discussion with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Ministers Nimal Siripala, Bandula Gunawardena, Ramesh Pathirana and MP Nimal Lanza.

When the group said that they should present facts about the 75-year curse raised by the Opposition, President Wickremesinghe said to inform the people about the work that the Government has done for two years. The President told Dr. Samaratunga to give the information to the Ministers about the work done to restore the country by taking over the Government at a difficult time.

After opening the Political Office, the President came to the Ministry of Finance and a group of Ministers were there to discuss future work with the President. The opening of the President’s Political Office as well as the flood disaster were also discussed.

“The President opened a Political Office today. He went to ‘Sirikotha’ on Sunday and changed the work of the party. Discussions are going on with other political parties. On the other hand, there are proposals to postpone the election. Like the people, we also have questions about this.” When Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said this, everyone nodded and the President smiled but said nothing.

“During the floods, the President also went among the people. The Prime Minister and the ruling party MPs also went. But there were no Opposition members. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa had gone after the water receded,” Prof. Ashu Marasinghe said, pointing out that it is a historical record.

President Wickremesinghe was due to leave for India during the weekend to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, June 9.

The President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka joined to watch the movie ‘Sri Siddha’ produced by MP Sarath Weerasekera about Panakaduwa Tamba Sannas and everybody was surprised by his conversation with Mawbima Janata Party Leader Dilith Jayaweera, who was present.

Same platform

Ratnayaka went to Matara to organise a public rally to be held in Matara under the patronage of President Wickremesinghe and he also met Minister Kanchana Wijesekara and SLPP members in the hall adjacent to the meeting place of the UNP members.

Minister Kanchana who heard about Sagala’s presence came there and addressed the UNP meeting. Then he accompanied Sagala to the SLPP meeting. It was a matter of surprise for everyone to see the two political opponents standing on the same platform with the President.

Debate

A letter released by the Chairman of Independent Television Network (ITN) on June 4 revealed an incident that explains the politics of the attempt of the National People’s Power (NPP) to hold a debate between the Economic Committees of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the NPP as a leadership debate. It was with the campaign launched on June 6 that the ITN was ready for a debate between Sajith and Anura.

During the discussion on this, the debate coordinator of the SJB, MP Nalin Bandara said, “How did the ITN take a decision on this without discussing with us? I sent several letters to Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, who was the coordinator of the NPP debate, about how this debate should be conducted. Each of those letters stated that the debate should be conducted on the basis of the economic committee debate first and the leadership debate second.”

Joining the discussion, MP Thushara Indunil said, “Has the ITN Chairman sent the letter saying that he is ready to hold the debate on June 6, after discussing with Nalin?”

MP Nalin Bandara replied, “I know that a letter has been received on June 5. On the other hand, if there is such a debate, the basic facts about that debate should be discussed and organised with the coordinators of both sides. It is a serious problem that the ITN acts as required by the JVP, which tries to avoid the economic committee debate and only come for the leadership debate.

“Why has Nalin sent a copy of that letter to the Director General of Government Information? Why is the Director General of Government Information involved in this debate? He was not involved in any of the discussions regarding this debate,” MP Thushara Indunil said.

“The other is that the political discussions in the ITN are held after informing the Director General of Government Information? This clearly shows a deal between President Wickremesinghe and Anura Kumara Dissanayake,” he said.

Indunil said Anura Dissanayake goes to the Sri Dalada Maligawa and also to meet the Maha Nayaka Theras along with Malik Samarawickrama.

MP Nalin Bandara said, “Before the debate, I presented all these details to the ITN Chairman and our proposals in writing. In that letter, I also mentioned that our priority in this regard is the economic committee debate and secondly the leadership debate and both these debates should be conducted in a public place through a neutral person after discussing with the electronic and print media.

“It is a tragedy that the ITN Chairman who has a reputation as a professional forgot that the organisational work in a debate like this should be done at a professional level,’’ he said.

“The word ‘level playing’, which the ITN Chairman has socialised, will have to be given a new meaning by using empty chairs to show that it is the real level playing field, without even explaining about the letter sent by Nalin Bandara,” MP Indunil said.

MP Mujibur Rahuman said, “The fact that the Government channel is giving an opportunity to Anura Kumara for more than two hours is a deal. This deal is what we need to understand.’’

Bad relationship

The Government parliamentary group meeting was held at the Presidential Secretariat last Monday. Before starting the meeting, there was a heated exchange of words between MPs Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Gunathilaka Rajapaksa about several development projects in the Kandy district.

The reason for this conflict is that MP Gunathilaka Rajapaksa had rejected a proposal of MP Mahindananda. MP Rajapakse is also the Chairman of the Kandy District Coordinating Committee. Mahindananda and Gunathilaka Rajapaksa had had a bad relationship for a long time and serious arguments were seen on several occasions.

The same thing happened this time before the Government parliamentary group meeting started. Although the clash was settled with the arrival of the President, it started again after the meeting ended. “What are you saying now?” Mahindananda asked MP Gunathilaka Rajapaksa while leaving the meeting. “Why did you say?” replied MP Gunathilaka Rajapaksa not ready to give in.

The verbal duel between the two MPs was turning into a confrontation. MP Rajapaksa came towards Mahindananda. Mahindananda went straight. The fallen MP Rajapaksa shouted saying “Mahindananda hit me”. At that moment, the MPs who were there separated the two and settled the incident. MP Gunathilaka Rajapaksa was admitted to the Army hospital.

As soon as MP Namal Rajapaksa heard about the brawl, he came to the Army Hospital in Narahenpita to see Gunathilaka Rajapaksa. He did not attend the Government parliamentary group meeting that day. When he went to the Army Hospital, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa, Polonnaruwa District MP Jagath Samarawickrama and several other MPs were there. “How did you hear about the incident at the Presidential Secretariat? Jagath Samarawickrama asked Namal.

Namal said with a smile that we can hear about things happening anywhere instantly . After that, Namal came out after asking about the health of MP Rajapaksa.

Meeting at Malalasekara Mawatha

The next day, about thirty MPs came to Namal’s residence at Malalasekara Mawatha to talk about the series of electoral level meetings to be held. Here the MPs discussed the brawl between Aluthgamage and Gunathilaka Rajapaksa that took place the day before. Namal said that they should have acted more intelligently.

A meeting of Ministers and Parliamentarians who support the new alliance took place last Thursday morning at Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva’s office in Parliament.

Mahinda Amaraweera, Nalin Fernando, Jagath Pushpakumara, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Nimal Lanza, Duminda Dissanayake and other ministers attended this meeting.

It is also significant that Minister Nimal Siripala and MP Nimal Lanza came to this meeting after attending President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Colombo District Election Office inauguration.

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