Can a united opposition pose a threat to Ranil’s government at this point?
In real terms, did the government win the IMF vote?
Will the switch from pod to opposition take place?
Can Ranil and the government continue to deceive India about provincial councils?
President Ranil Wickramasinghe used the International Monetary Fund debate and voting last week to lay out several plans. One of its main plans was to divide the opposition and hold the IMF debate in a favourable environment for the government when the IMF debate began. As a result, the government had seized control of government-friendly media outlets and began disseminating false information in order to divide the government and the opposition. That’s how they got the word out that many SJB MPs would be joining the government. As a result, steps were taken to disseminate false information about serious conflicts between other SJB party leaders. The President expected the opposition to be in disarray when the debate on the financial fund began, as he had planned.
IMF debate in Parliament
Anyway, Ranil is born to play political games. He is a Champion who can divide the opposing parties, disunite them and launch plans to get his work done. At this time, Ranil planned to launch those plans and come to the parliament in a jolly mood to join the debate on the financial fund.
But as the government did not expect, by the time the debate on the financial fund started, the opposition was not disintegrating, but was gathering due to some activities of the government itself. The basic foundation for that was based on the recently controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill, the Express Pearl incident and the Broadcasting Authority Act. The strong pressure exerted on the opposition by the civil society against these bills said that if the opposition does not face this program together, the country cannot be prevented from falling into a serious crisis.
United to oppose the ATA
Under this situation, last Monday the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa called a special discussion of the opposition political parties in the Parliament. The meeting was so successful that even Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam, representing the North, who had not participated in the opposition meetings so far, attended the meeting. Although Gajendran did not participate in any meeting in which the Tamil Alliance used to participate, this time he joined it because he understood that the unity of the opposition was a necessary task in the face of the repressive program being carried out by the government. On that day, Sajith had been informed that the Tamil National Alliance could not participate in a hartal campaign against the Anti-Terrorism Act in the North and Eastern Provinces.
However, in addition to the Sahab representatives, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Dullas Alahapperuma, G.L. Peiris Many representatives representing the opposition including, Udaya Gammanpila, Charita Herath, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Gevindu Kumaratunga were present. First of all, when discussing the Anti-Terrorism Act, the incident of the Express Pearl Ship, the Broadcasting Authority Act, etc., everyone said in one voice that the opposition should stand together and speak with one voice against all these. Accordingly, it was possible to see certain unanimity among the opposition regarding those three issues.
In this way, after there was unanimity regarding the three main points, Mr. G.L. Peiris took up the topic of the IMF agreements to be debated in Parliament this week. There, many people spoke accusingly about the fact that the government has not yet submitted the agreement regarding the financial fund to the parliament. When Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, who was the Minister of Finance during the previous Gotabhaya Rajapaksa government, reached an agreement with the Financial Fund, then government took steps to hold an all-party conference.
Ranils verbal battle with Basil then
Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe was also present as an opposition MP. Ranil criticized Basil for not presenting the financial fund agreement to the parliament and he said that the government should immediately present the agreement to the parliament. At that time, a heated exchange of words took place between Ranil and Basil, which was also known to the country through the media that day. At that time, many people said that Ranil’s story was true and that the government should have presented the agreement of the financial fund to the parliament for the country to know.
Ranil, who engaged in a heated exchange of words with Basil, demanding the agreement of the financial fund, today became president through the parliament, and the opposition representatives were seen presenting serious criticism for not presenting the agreement to the parliament. As a result, many opposition representatives told Sajith that they couldn’t vote for an agreement they hadn’t even seen.
Chairmanship of Parliamentary committees
In addition to this, the opposition representatives strongly protested against giving the chairmanships of the COPE and COPA committees to the government, as well as not giving the chairmanship of the finance committee to the opposition, which was introduced by Ranil during the implementation of good governance policies. Sajith expressed his opinion in favor of it and said that he is still fighting hard to get those positions for the opposition. However, in the end, Sajith said that the meeting of the SJB MP group and the working committee will be held that evening, where the agreement regarding the financial fund is scheduled to be discussed. Also, Sajith informed the opposition representatives that they can meet again in the Parliament on Tuesday and discuss these agreements further.
Ranil Making use of zombies
Accordingly, the meeting of the Sahab MPs group was held that evening, when an alliance was formed between the opposition against the Financial Fund Agreement and the Anti-Terrorism Act, the incident of the Express Pearl Ship and the Broadcasting Authority Act. However, the government and Ranil did not know the information about this alliance that was being formed within the opposition even then. Since Ranil has been an expert in breaking such alliances since then, it was seen how Ranil used various zombies to break this alliance of the opposition. Accordingly, it was also seen how Ranil had launched a separate operation to break the alliance that was being formed in the opposition by finding two or three zombies who were keeping their feet on both sides.
SJB decided on IMF voting
In the SJB meeting members, expressed view in favour of IMF and against. Both viewpoints were seen expressing on the agreement. Those who were in favor of the agreement said that in view of the current economic crisis, they should go to the International Monetary Fund, so they could not vote against it because it was Samagi Jana Balawegaya who advocated to go to IMF by SJB.
But the party against the agreement said that this IMF said due to the IMF conditions, the country will be in serious trouble, and in the future, trade unions, civil organizations, mass organizations and the people of the country will stand against it, so if they vote in favor of it, the United People’s Force will also have to take responsibility for it. In this way, Sajith decided to take the final decision in an upcoming council meeting due to two opinions regarding the agreement.
Rajitha’s story of crossing ?
However, a special decision was taken in the group meeting. It is related to the disciplinary affairs of the party. The main reason for this was the announcements made by Mr. Rajitha Senaratne over the last few weeks that he would join the government and become a minister, going beyond the party’s opinion. Every time Mr. Rajitha Senaratne made such statements, we published them on our website. Not only that, we also took steps to publish the reactions of SJB MPs on the website. We only published the happenings on the website for the knowledge of the readers.
But in this regard, in the disciplinary committee discussion held at Mr. Ranjith Maddumabandara’s house, Rajitha launched a serious attack on the ‘Mawrata’ newspaper and said that this problem was caused by us. Rajitha also took steps to launch a strong attack against us on his Facebook page. Following media ethics, we have taken steps to publish that news on our website. However, when Rajitha’s incident was being discussed at the MP group meeting, Rajitha was also seen there. The group of MPs decided to put all the party’s disciplinary affairs under a President’s counsel from now on. There they chose Mr. Upul Jayasuriya, a well-known lawyer. Upul Jayasuriya was instructed to take strict action against any member who expressed opinions outside the party opinion.
Rajitha avoids media
After the MP group meeting was over and the MPs came out of the opposition leader’s office, the journalists who were near the gate ask the SJB MPs about the decisions taken in the meeting. There, MPs like Kabir Hashim, Harshana Rajakaruna, Thushara Indunil gave statements to the media. But normally when a microphone was shown Rajitha used to give his comments but this instance he avoided making any statement and ignored the media. Moreover, the next day, when Rajitha came to the court to face a case before the court, the media again asked Rajitha for a statement, but at that time too, Rajitha got into his car and left without giving any statement to the media.
Opposition against IMF
Meanwhile, among many happening in the Parliament last Tuesday the Janata Vimukti Peramuna announcing they would vote against IMF agreement stood out. G.L .Peris too announced their party would vote against the agreement. The group of MPs led by Dullas also announced that they would vote against the agreement. Moreover, the Tamil National Alliance also said that if the opposition takes a decision, their party will also vote against the IMF they said that he was ready to vote against the agreement.
JVP fall in line with Opposition
In addition to this, last week there was a change from the JVP in the parliament which is not seen before. In the past, JVP did not participate in any of the activities prepared by the opposition, and although it did not have good relations with the opposition, in the last week, it was seen that the JVP has somewhat moved away from that position because the opposition had started receiving some messages from the JVP side.
The messages said that the Anti-Terrorism Act, IMF are major matters, the entire opposition should take a joint decision on these. In addition, last week Anura Kumara had a long exchange of views with the main organizer of the opposition Mr. Lakshman Kiriella and the representatives of the Freedom People’s Assembly representing Dullas’ party in the opposition lobby of the Parliament. At that time, many people who saw this said that it would be a very good sign in the future.
President on IMF
However, on Tuesday, the president came to the parliament and spoke about IMF. It confirmed the facts that we had uncovered through the ‘ Inside politics ‘ column for the past few months during the presentation of the facts regarding the agreement. We have a subtle pride in being able to provide the people with true information in advance in a background where no media in Sri Lanka had reported the facts we said.
At the moment when the International Monetary Fund decided to give the first loan instalment to Sri Lanka, the government lit firecrackers and ate milk rice as if it had won over a country, boasting that all the country’s problems are now over and that it will be able to get 7 billion dollars from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank from now on. But at that moment we said that the real problem started now. Even if the Financial Fund decided to release the first instalment to Sri Lanka, none of the problems would be solved.
ADB and World Bank loans ?
We also said there that the amount of 7 billion dollars will not be received from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank as the government says. Also, making some other special revelations, we said that the Financial Fund has decided to send a special team to Sri Lanka next June, and has decided to closely monitor the situation in Sri Lanka by conducting reviews every six months. We also mentioned there that China has put forward serious conditions in the restructuring of foreign debt and that the government will have to restructure even the domestic debt, no matter how much the government claims that it will not restructure the domestic debt.
The President had taken steps to confirm all these things that we said one by one in his speech. The President said that the financial fund will conduct a review every six months, and if necessary, it will be possible to change certain matters. And so far, the government has not been able to get a single dollar from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank. Instead, during the cabinet meeting held last Monday, the president himself had forwarded a cabinet paper to obtain a loan of 350 million dollars from the Asian Development Bank. In addition, it is also a noteworthy that China has not participated in any discussions related to debt restructuring so far. A few weeks ago, there was a discussion on foreign debt restructuring, and China did not participate in it. Instead, only India, Japan and the Paris Club joined it.
Bloomberg and Standard & Poor reports
And the government is saying these days that the country’s economy is now on the right track and moving towards economic growth. Although the government said so, the extent of our country’s economy was exposed by foreign media on two occasions last week. One of the reports was presented by Bloomberg, a world-famous economic website. The other report was presented by an international rating agency, Standard & Poor’s.
The Bloomberg website revealed that Sri Lanka’s economy will not grow as previously predicted, and that the economy can expect further decline.
According to that, although the website had earlier predicted that there will be an economic growth of 2.4% in the year 2023, they are now saying that there will be a growth of 0.7%.
And although they had initially predicted that there will be a growth of 3.9% in the second quarter of 2023, it has been stated that it will be 1% by now.
In addition, they have shown that economic growth will decrease by 4.4% in the first quarter of 2023, but it will be a decrease of 9.9% by now.
Also, they have emphasized that there will be no reserve growth in 2023.
In addition to this, Standard and Poor’s Company issued a special announcement saying that it has taken steps to place Sri Lanka’s credit rating in the CC- category. Accordingly, it is clear through these facts that Sri Lanka has not yet embarked on a path of economic growth to the extent that the government says.
However, SJB met again on Friday to discuss the final decision to be taken in the debate regarding the Financial Fund Agreement. Many people pointed out to Sajith that the government should take a small decision here. Generally, in a poll, MPs either vote in favor of it. If not, vote against. If not, sit in the lobby and refrain from voting. But after a long discussion, SJB decided to boycott the opportunity to vote on the IMF debate and leave the assembly at that time of voting. In that way, it was the decision of the SJB MPs that they should object to the terms of the agreement of the financial fund.
Although the government decided to postpone the local government elections indefinitely, the government has already made a promise to the International Monetary Fund and India that they will take steps to hold both these elections immediately. The government had given a guarantee to the financial fund and said that the local government elections will be held by next August and September. Due to the demand of holding provincial council elections by India till then, the government had informed India that it would somehow take steps to hold provincial council elections before the end of this year.
Provincial council elections
However, the government has postponed the holding of the provincial council elections until now, hiding behind the problem of delimitation. But now the Committee on Delimitation has taken steps to give the final report last week, TNA Member of Parliament Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran took steps to bring a private member’s proposal to the Parliament regarding the holding of the provincial council election. He said that arrangements should be made to hold the provincial council elections in the same old way. Accordingly, the government is now stuck in a trap.
Because, if Sumanthiran’s proposal is passed, the government will definitely have to hold the provincial council election. Then the outcome will not be good for the government. On the other hand, if the government defeats Sumanthiran’s proposal, India will realize that the government does not want to hold the provincial council elections. It will also not be a very favorable situation for the government. Accordingly, the government is now in a situation where ‘if you go home, your wife will die, and if you stay away, you will die’.
An election before end of the year
Also, the government has given some assurance regarding the local government elections before the first review of the International Monetary Fund to be held next September. Therefore, it should be mentioned that within this year, the people will have an opportunity to make a decision regarding the government.
Tale of Chamara Gunasekara
Chamara Gunasekara was one of the most controversial names that was mentioned in Parliament last week. Even though there is no Member of Parliament with that name, the name became famous in the country because of the disclosure of this name in Parliament by the Minister of Justice Vijayadasa Rajapaksa. The minister made the revelation by stating that 250 million dollars has been credited to the account of Mr. Chamara Gunasekara after the incident of the Express Pearl ship. Accordingly, many people had tried to find out who this Chamara Gunasekara was through various methods. Some people who searched for that name on the internet, and there came the photos of Mr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa and Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa related to that name.
However, along with the 250 million dollar bribe, Wijayadasa also made a serious accusation against the then former minister Nalaka Godaheva. It is about the New Diamond ship. At that time, Wijayadasa alleged that when the New Diamond ship caught fire on the coast of Sri Lanka, it was Godaheva who gave permission to release the ship. Wijayadasa told the Parliament that he had asked former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa about this and he also confirmed it.
Along with this statement, Godahewada made a phone call to former President Gota and asked him about it. But Gota told Godaheva that he had never made such a statement to Wijayadasa.
Godahewa’s Press briefing
In addition, Godaheva had also inquired about this from Mr. Jayanath Colombage, who was the secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at that time. Jayanath Colomboge is known as a secretary who had super power during Gota’s government. Jayanath told Godaheva there that Godaheva was not involved in the incident of the ship and that Godaheva was of the position that further action should be taken regarding the ship under the recommendations of the Attorney General. It was informed by Godaheva to the Parliament last week, and then a special press conference was held to inform the country about this fact.
According to that, who is this Chamara Gunasekara really? How could 250 million dollars be credited to the account of such an unknown person? Who was the strong man who led Chamara Gunasekara? All these questions are still unanswered questions.
Mahinda – Ranil meeting
Last week we revealed that there was a secret meeting between former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Ranil Wickremesinghe through the ‘ Inside Politics ‘ column. We reported there that Mahinda had given this notice to the President before the New Year, and since the President was in Nuwara Eliya on those days, this meeting took place after the new year. Accordingly, the meeting took place on the 18th. In this meeting, we mentioned that Mahinda gave the official notice to the President that he wanted the Prime Minister ship.
Basil – Ranil Meeting
This time we are ready to reveal through the ‘ Inside Politics ‘ column about an extremely secret meeting between the President and another strongman of the Rajapaksa family. This stalwart of the Rajapaksa family who met the President after Mahinda is none other than Basil Rajapaksa. In this meeting which took place last Saturday 22nd, the current political situation of the country was also discussed at length and it is reported that Basil has also put forward many proposals about UNP and Pohottuwa going on a political journey together.
Ranil Pohottuwa candidate for presidential election
However, after this meeting, Basil had told his closest friends that the President had responded favorably to the proposal of UNP and Pohottua to go on a political journey together. Accordingly, Basil had informed his friends that he proposed to nominate Ranil as the candidate of Pohottuwa in the upcoming presidential election, and to form a new government by bringing the senior members of the UNP to the parliament and giving them ministers.
In the recent past, news that has been published from time to time by pro-government media as well as social media networks was the news that ‘MPs are crossing over to government from the SJB and all are getting ministries. This news was so popular in those days that in the end it was reported by the media that 40 people joined the government but no one from SJB joined the government, in the end, not only that news but also the media organizations that published that news were proven wrong.
Government MPs in discussion with Sajith
Even though the media gave a lot of publicity to this false news, a group of MPs were exchanging messages with the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa during last few days without any media publicity. The ‘ Inside Politics ‘ column reported information about it from the beginning, but we kept it a secret because we cannot report the relevant discussions until they reach a definite end, and we cannot be fooled like the other media by publishing false news. However, this time we decided to report on this because the relevant discussions are now reaching a successful conclusion.
15 confirmed to cross over
Accordingly, we are revealing for the first time through the ‘ Inside Plitics ‘ column that there are 15 members of parliament who are ready to join the SJB from the bud. Representing those 15, four MPs from Pohottuwa joined Sajith in a special discussion last week. This special discussion was held at the residence of a person who is said to know Sajith and the four members of that constituency very well. A dinner was also prepared for these five guests in that house that day. But even though the four MPs from Pohottuwa enjoyed dinner after the discussion, Sajith was seen sipping green tea throughout the discussion.
Forth coming election ?
Something special needs to be mentioned about these four MPs. That is, these MPs are not MPs who are currently separate from Pohottuwa and are independent. They are still work together with the bud. Accordingly, when the discussion started, these MPs informed Sajith that they had come here representing a group of 15 MPs. There they pointed out to Sajith that they felt that an election was coming very soon, and because of that a big crisis had arisen inside the pod. The four MPs informed Sajith that in recent days, Namal Rajapakse started going around the country addressing the Pohottu Balamandala, but it failed, Namal did not get a good response from the party members, and even so, Namal did not understand it.
Dilith Jayaweera as president
They also informed, former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa also had spoken to his team in recent days and informed that Mr. Dilith Jayaweera is ready to stand as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election and asked them to support him. In addition, they pointed out to Sajith that Pohottuwa is now in disarray due to the fact that Basil had called and asked for his support, and that another group of Pohottuwa had decided to support Ranil. Under this background, these MPs further informed Sajith that since several elections are to be held next year, they can no longer contest from Pohottuwa and they cannot join the government.
A positive outcome
Accordingly, Sajith asked them if they are ready to do politics directly with SJB, or if they are ready to join SJB as an alliance. Sajith also informed them to discuss it with the 15 MPs who are with them and take a final decision.
This discussion, which lasted for about one and a half hours in a very friendly manner, ended after allotting dates for the next discussion. After finishing the discussion, Sajith left the house at Rosmid Place, but the four members of Pohottuwa left after enjoying the dinner and spending a lot of time there.