Famous government officers’ lavish wedding in Shangri-la.
What is the next pretext to delay elections?
The commission is one step ahead
The Independent Election Commission took steps to issue the gazette notification regarding the appointment of Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers last Thursday (22) morning. That is according to the powers assigned to the Election Commission by Section 4 (01) of the Local Government Elections Ordinance. Accordingly, while the government is launching various strategies, tactics and subterfuges to somehow postpone the local government election, the Election Commission has taken another step forward regarding the conduct of the vote. The commission says that the gazette notice announcing the election date will be published in the last week of this month and that the local government bodies will be established after the election which would be held before 20th March.
Last excuse to postpone election
Even though the Election Commission is prepared to announce the dates for holding the election in this manner, the government plans to postpone the election after announcing the date, citing a lack of funds and the A-level examination scheduled for January 28. Our extraordinary disclosure in this regard last week, as soon as the election commission issued the mini vote gazette, after the request letter to the Treasury for money is sent, the Treasury will say that there is no money, and thus the government will play the last trump card in this manner.
We also stated there that the government intends to declare that if funds are allocated for the election, it will be unable to pay public servant salaries and pensions. We also stated that the government intends to launch a massive campaign using all forms of media and social media to demonstrate the government’s position to the country.
As a result of this disclosure, many rounds of extraordinary discussions were held last week under the leadership of opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa among the seniors of the Samagi Jana Balavega, other party leaders of the Samagi Jana Alliance, and other opposition parties. Furthermore, these party leaders took steps to hold several rounds of discussions with Sri Lanka’s most senior lawyers as well as foreign ambassadors. Following these discussions, the opposition leaders made some significant decisions. The first decision was to take immediate action to protect the right of citizens to vote and the existence of democracy if the government attempted to postpone the election through any means. For that purpose, the group decided to form a massive democratic alliance.
Many unique decisions have been made
There was a special discussion about the United National Party, Pohottuwa, and JVP during the discussions about the formation of this massive People’s Alliance. The people gathered there unanimously stated that the UNP or Pohottuwa should not join this People’s Alliance if they intend to postpone the elections for any reason. In addition, as an opposition party, the JVP should be invited to join the people’s alliance; however, if they do not respond, everyone agreed that the JVP should be excluded from the alliance. As a result, it was ultimately decided to bring together all political parties, political groups, alliances, trade unions, lawyers’ associations, civil organisations, mass organisations, and so on.
It was also discussed here how the battle should be organised into five stages in order to complete the elections on time. The first stage was identified as resorting to court action against any government action based on postponing elections. In this regard, the opposition representatives, who have already met with a number of the President’s counsels, intend to make history in this case by assembling the largest legal panel in Sri Lankan history. There was also a lengthy debate about the historic court rulings that the courts had delivered that elections should held.
The second stage involves organising a large people’s force outside of parliament and launching a massive democratic struggle. Aside from that, the opposition representatives who participated in these discussions decided to make three other special decisions that will not be made public and will be implemented in specific situations.
The government’s trump card
In this way, while the opposition was planning a massive operation against the government to demand votes, members of the ruling party were seen holding discussions in various locations to determine what other measures could be taken to postpone the vote, aside from the issue of money and A-levels. According to reports, one such discussion included a proposal to declare an emergency and postpone the elections.
However, because of the local and international opposition to the use of emergency law to suppress the struggle in the past, many people believe that if the emergency law is used to postpone the election, they will face dire consequences. Furthermore, if the United States, the European Commission, and Western countries oppose an emergency law at this time, they will react strongly, and possibility of losing subsidies such as the GSP Plus concession, which would be a serious situation in light of the current economic crisis. As a result, it has been discovered that the discussion of postponing the vote by using the emergency law has been lopsided.
Message from the ambassador to Pohottuwa
Despite discussions in some parts of the government about postponing the election, Pohottuwa is currently preparing for it by issuing press releases, publishing advertisements, and selecting candidates. Although Pohottuwa appears to be preparing for the election in this manner, Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, the mastermind of Pohottuwa, was not prepared to face an election. The reason for this was a recent secret poll conducted by Basil. That opinion poll revealed that in the local government elections, SJB received more than 51% of the vote, and that a battle between Pohottua and the JVP would emerge. As a result, in recent days, we have learned that Basil was also of the opinion that the elections should be postponed.
Last week, however, Basil was involved in a similar incident. He went to meet with a representative of a certain powerful embassy in Sri Lanka at that time. Almost all embassies conduct regular opinion polls on the situation in the country and send the results to their respective mother countries. As a result, this embassy recently conducted an opinion poll on the outcome of elections, if they were to be held. The overall results have not yet been published, but the embassy has been provided with a brief document containing the results to provide a rough idea.
According to the ‘Rajya rahas’ column, there was an in-depth exchange of views regarding the current political situation during Basil’s friendly meeting with this embassy official last week. During this discussion, the embassy official informed Basil that Samagi Jana Balawega will easily win an election, and it appears that Pohottuva is in a critical position, which is not a good trend. It is also reported that in the event of an election, new political alliances can be formed, votes can be divided, and a wave of voter base is emerging towards SJB at the village level.
The message turned the bud upside down
With this message received from the embassy, it was seen that the heat of the vote inside the pot was gradually decreasing. In the beginning, the Ministers of Pohottuwa said that Pohottuwa is ready for elections at any time and that Pohottuwa is a party that is not afraid of elections, but later the same ministers said that there is no money in the country to hold a vote at this time.
Pohottuwa is currently in a state of shock as a result of how the vote was conducted. The possibility of postponing the election has been discussed within the party, and some have even put forward various proposals in this regard. But, in the current situation, because the opposition has gone to court to demand the election, if the court rules in favour of the opposition, they will face the election with a huge advantage, Pohottuwa representatives have pointed out. They also believe that with such a backdrop, the situation could deteriorate. As a result, they believe that facing an election now, regardless of the unfavourable circumstances, is the best strategy for Pothottu.
Ranil’s proposal to Basil
Meanwhile, it is reported that there was a short conversation between President Ranil Wickramasinghe and Basil Rajapaksa last week about how to contest the local government elections if they have to be held for some reason. The President’s proposal to Basil has been that the UNP is ready to contest 10 municipal councils such as Colombo, Galle, Bandarawela, Nuwara Eliya that are favorable to the UNP, and that the UNP is ready to compete together with Pohottua for other local governments. The ‘Rajya rahas ‘ column has also learned that pohottuwa is already in favour of this proposal.
Why did Ranil go to Nuwara Eliya?
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to spend his Christmas and New Year’s holidays in cold Nuwara Eliya this year. As a result, the President completed all of his work and left for Nuwara Eliya on Thursday morning. Although the President intended to spend these few days relaxing in the cold Nuwara Eliya, he did not forget to schedule several rounds of special meetings in between. This time, we’re revealing via the ‘Rajya rahas ‘ column about another extremely secret meeting that the President used had.
Our previous report indicated that several Indian special agents had visited Sri Lanka in an extremely secretive manner via the’Rajya Rahas ‘ column. We highlighted that the Indian National Security Adviser, Mr. Ajit Doval, was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka. We noted that Mr. Milinda Moragoda, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, had discussed this with Doval, and that Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Ajith Doval had a phone conversation. Furthermore, we learned that the head of India’s Secret Intelligence Service ‘RO’ had visited Sri Lanka.
Who is Ram Madhav?
However, during Gotabaya’s tenure as President, a special relationship was formed with Prakash Nair, a well-known businessman in India. Because of this, Prakash Nair often visited Sri Lanka. (The ‘Rajya Rahas’ column also has information about the person who connected this Prakash Nair to Gotabha.) Accordingly, through this Prakash Nair, Gota managed to establish a close relationship with Ram Madhav, a national secretary of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party. At that time, Ram Madhav was very close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a high-powered figure in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Once when Gota went to India to meet Modi, he had also taken steps to meet and discuss with Ram Madhav. Apart from Prakash Nair, Basil also played a big role behind the scenes to build the relationship between Gota and Ram Madhav. It was based on the friendship between Basil and Ram Madhav. It is also known that Ram Madhav has come to Colombo and met Gota on several occasions based on these friendships.
However, even though Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe came to power after Gota’s departure, the main problem that has arisen so far is that the Indian government has not yet given Ranil an opportunity for a discussion. In the past, the President made various efforts to get that opportunity from Modi, but he was not able to succeed. First, the President tried to meet Modi by leaving a message through the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka.
When there was no favorable response, the President tried to have a discussion with Modi through Milinda Moragoda, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi. But that didn’t work either. After that, the President took steps to send Sagala Ratnayake to India as a special representative of the President. But at that time Sagala was only able to meet the Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs of India. Later, an attempt was made to arrange a meeting with Modi through a telephone call to Ajit Doval, the Indian National Security Adviser, but it also failed at the last minute.
Uproar after meeting with Doval
Accordingly, the latest plan of the President is to use the existing relationship between Gota and Ram Madhav to create an opportunity to meet Modi. According to the news, Gota Ram Madhav has been given a phone call and an opportunity to hold talks with the President has been arranged. Accordingly, it is reported that Ram Madhav is scheduled to come to Sri Lanka this weekend.
However, on an earlier occasion, we had reported through the ‘State Secrets’ channel that Shaurya Doval, the son of India’s National Security Adviser Mr. Ajit Doval, came to Sri Lanka and held a discussion with the President. This was such a secret meeting that no information about it was revealed by any media at that time. But only we reported the incident and said that this Shaurya Doval also came to Sri Lanka with Prakash Nair, a well-known businessman, and the people who were behind the bringing of this Ram Madhav to Sri Lanka intervened to organize the meeting. In this meeting, we said that Shaurya Doval had gifted the president a very valuable reclining Buddha statue. However, when this information was not reported by any media, there was a great controversy at that time with our disclosure.
Madhav’s journey by helicopter
That is why this time the President has used the cold Nuwara Eliya Presidential Palace to meet Ram Madhav. According to this, Ram Madhav, who is coming to Colombo, has already planned to leave for Nuwara Eliya in a special helicopter. The aim of this discussion is to somehow get Ram Madhav to succeed in the Ranil-Modi meeting, which has failed on many occasions.
A leadership board for the new alliance
Last week, through the ‘Rajya Rahas’ column, we made a special revelation about the new alliance to be formed targeting the upcoming local government elections. There, we said that Sajabaya is ready to face the election alone and the SLFP is ready to form an alliance with Dallas and Wimal. Also, we said there that the UNP and Pohottuwa will hold talks to face the small vote together.
SLFP factor in the alliance
However, as of this week, the ‘Rajya Rahas’column has heard that some problematic areas have emerged in these discussions. The main issue is about the leadership of the political alliance that is emerging based on the SLFP. The talks are going on successfully, but other party leaders have strongly pointed out that since this is a new alliance, a new leader should emerge.
Especially since the Sri Lankan Freedom Party leader Maithripala Sirisena has been accused of the Easter attacks as well as many other accusations, the proposal of the Dullas team is that a new person should be nominated. The news is that after several rounds of discussions on this, the SLFP has also given a good response. Accordingly, it is said that it has been proposed to appoint a leadership board for the new alliance that will be formed while Maithri is working as the leader of the SLFP.
Vimall omitted Chandimal to SJB
Apart from this, it is said that a crucial discussion has taken place regarding Wimal and Gammanpila. There, many people have pointed out that Wimall is overrated, so it is not possible to work in alliance with them. Accordingly, it is known that it has been decided to remove the Wimal team from the new alliance.
Meanwhile, last week we revealed through this column that Anura Yapa – Chandima Veerakkodi and others who are separate from the government and are independent, are contesting under an alliance formed under the leadership of former President Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike. But the information we have now says that the former president is planning to present this group to face the next election under Samagi Jana Balawega. The news is that the former president has decided to meet and discuss with Sajith within the next few days.
Grand wedding at the Shangri-La Hotel
It is not incorrect to say that the Shangri-La Hotel in Gall face has been a source of contention in this country’s politics since its inception. This Shangri-La Hotel was formerly the army headquarters. That land is also known as the most expensive in Sri Lanka. However, Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Defense Secretary at the time, handed over this army headquarters to then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa in order to sell the land to a powerful businessman.
At the time, the opposition claimed that Rajapaksa had taken steps to give this land away for free for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history. That is the untold story behind the construction of the Shangri-La Hotel in Galle face . As a result, Shangri-La was a location that sparked numerous political debates and changes from the past to the present. The Shangri-La Hotel was prominent in several incidents, particularly those involving Rajapaksa.
This time, the ‘Rajya Rahas’ column abruptly reminded us of the Shangri-La Hotel because several powerful families held ceremonies there last week. One of them was a massive ceremony attended by nearly a thousand lawyers to commemorate President Ranil Wickramasinghe’s 50th year as a lawyer. The other was to hold two wedding ceremonies here for a powerful government official’s son and a powerful businessman’s daughter.
Who is this Gamini Senerath
The powerful government official who conducted the first ceremony was none other than Gamini Senarath. Gamini Senarath is the former presidential secretary of Mahinda and Gotabaya. But Gamini’s political arrival did not happen with the Rajapaksas. Gamini came to the top of the public service in 2001 when the UNP government came to power.
Through his political connections in the south, Gamini had built a close friendship with Vajira Abeywardena, a minister who represented Galle in the UNP at that time. Also, Gamini had close relations with Mr. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, who was the strongman of Matara UNP at that time. Through this friendship, Vajira took steps to appoint Gamini Senarath as an Acting Commissioner of the Motor Transport Department which was under the then Tilak Marapana Minister. At that time, Gamini Senarath also had a small business. It is a small press. While engaged in government service, Gamini continued the activities of this printing industry.
Kinship with Rajapaksas
However, Gamini, who worked very closely with the UNP, suddenly came close to the Rajapaksa family after the 2005 presidential election. With Mahinda’s victory there, Gamini became Mahinda’s additional secretary as well as his chief of staff. For that, Gamini had a great advantage because of his kinship with the Rajapaksa family. But neither Vajira nor Lakshman Yapa knew of this kinship between Gamini and the Rajapakses at that time. However, the relationship with Vajirala and Lakshman as well as the UNP was very useful for Gamini when he worked as Mahinda’s additional secretary. Gaminiya acted as the main mediator especially in conveying messages between Mahinda and Ranil. Vajira also played a big role in it. Accordingly, by 2015, Gamini had also received the position of Mahinda’s presidential secretary.
Gamini Charged for financial misappropriation
However, after Mahinda’s defeat in 2015, Gamini Senarath was also charged with financial charges by the Yahapalana government. But later the court took steps to acquit Gamini. After that, in 2017, after Gotabhaya became president, Gamini Senarath worked as his secretary. There we once uncovered a fact through the Rajya Rahas column that when Mahinda stepped down from the post of Prime Minister due to the struggle, Gamini and Vajira did a lot of work behind the scenes to appoint Ranil as the Prime Minister.
Also, Gamini and Vajira played a big political game behind the scenes to bring Ranil from the post of Prime Minister to the post of President. The ‘Rajya Rahas, column has a large amount of information about it that has not been revealed by any media so far and we are ready to reveal all the information about that operation through this channel in the future.
Gamini’s son’s Wedding
However, after Ranil became President, Gamini was given the position of Presidential Advisor, even though he was expected to be the President’s Secretary again. According to this, the ‘Rajya rahas column has the news that Gamini is mostly resting these days. It can also be seen that Gamini’s printing industry, which has existed since 2005, has now become a huge business with latest technology.
The wedding of Gamini Senarath’s son was held at Shangri-La Hotel last week. Although Gamini was from a political background, Gamini’s son married a daughter of a powerful businessman in Ratnapura. Due to political connections on both sides, the Shangri-La was full of politicians that day. In particular, three presidents were present at the same time. They are former presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and current president Ranil Wickremesinghe. Tissa Attanayake, Talatha Athukorala and one other SJB MP also attended the wedding representing the bride’s side.
The biggest wedding in recent history
However, sources said that Gamini Senarath’s son’s wedding will go down in the record books as the most expensive wedding in recent history. Also, the food menu that had been selected had become the best dining experience in Shangri-La recently. Flower decorations were also the talk of the town.
When Ranil came to the ceremony, Mahinda, Gota and Basil were also present in the ceremony. When Ranil exchanged ideas with Basil, there were also some powerful businessmen there. After Basil introduced the businessmen to Ranil, they asked Ranil about the progress of the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. There, Ranil said that China and India have now unofficially agreed to restructure their debt, and accordingly, they will receive loan assistance from the financial fund at the beginning of next year. However, Ranil was seen leaving the event saying that he had to attend an event at the Water’s Edge Hotel. Also, the second journey of this marriage is scheduled to be held at the Shangri-La Hotel on January 08, and it has been planned in a unique way, according to rajya rahas column.
Secret discussion in the VIP room
In addition, the day after Gamini Senarath’s son’s wedding, another powerful businessman’s daughter’s wedding was also held at Shangri-La Hotel. Since this businessman also had political connections, many powerful political faces could be seen attending the event that day as well. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Johnston Fernando, Pohottu Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, State Minister Piyal Nishantha and Presidential Adviser Sagala Ratnayake took center stage.
However, it is not clear whether it was a request of these people or whether it was done deliberately by the businessman, but there was also a separate locker room for these five people, adjacent to the festival hall, for other elite people. Accordingly, these five people stayed in this room for more than one and a half hours and it was also seen how they were served various food and drinks by the employees. According to that, many say that this discussion had become a special one where the current political situation was discussed.
By Special Corrospondent