Ranil’s Dilemma on the timing conundrum of calling elections
Chandrika’s Political Strategy: A Deja Vu of 2015 in the Making?”
Namal’s Official Residence: Speculations Mounting
Presidential or a general election?
President Ranil Wickremesinghe hints at an election year ahead, with uncertainty looming over whether the presidential or general election will take precedence. While presenting the 2024 budget to Parliament on the 13th, the President did not specify the order of the two crucial national elections expected next year. Recent reports, however, reveal that UNP leaders urged the President to prioritize the general election during a meeting two weeks ago, raising strategic concerns. If a presidential election precedes and the UNP faces defeat, it could lead to a challenging scenario. On the other hand, opting for a general election might allow a few UNP representatives to enter Parliament, leveraging their current hold on the presidency for political manoeuvring. The President, as of now, has not provided a definitive response but acknowledged the UNP’s stance during the discussion.”
President’s special discussion
However, the’ inside politics’ column learned that before President left for Dubai to participate in the 28th Conference, he had discussed this with a personal friend who was once in politics and has now distanced himself from politics. It was also learned that in this private meeting, the current situation in the country, the economic crisis, the position of the UNP leaders regarding the holding of elections, the presidential election, the people’s response to the government and the UNP, etc. have been discussed at length. In the discussion between the two,
it is reported that although the UNP leaders and the people around the president initially declared that a general election should be held, there was a discussion about the risks involved. It has been said that no party will get a majority this time after a general election is held and in that case, whoever forms the government, the new government that comes to power will not allow president to remain in office at least for a few days. Therefore, it has been learned that the President thinks that holding the general election in the first place is not a wise act. Accordingly, although the leaders of the UNP and the people around the president said that the general election should be held earlier, it is observed that it has reached a point where it will not be held.
Chandrika back to the scene
However, the information of this discussion also reached the ears of UNP leaders and people around the President by last week. At the same time, the news is that they are also very worried right now. The reason for this is that if a presidential election is held first, they will have to face two big political risks through it. The first one is that these people have realized that if they lose a presidential election, their political career will end immediately.
The second risk is that if a presidential election is called first and Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe does not contest, there is a greater chance that this group will become political orphans. The reason for this is that the opinion that the president will not contest the next presidential election is currently being discussed within the government. Once the former minister Wimal Weerawansa also stated in the parliament that Ranil would not run for the presidential election. Accordingly, what will be done if the president does not run for the next presidential election?
The ‘Inside Politics’ column has heard that a new discussion has emerged within the government regarding this emerging risk situation. The initiative for that has been taken by none other than former President Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga. Earlier, Sri Lankan Freedom Party leader Maithripala did not allow her to initiate plans to seize power for her to return to active politics. As Maithripala succeeded in consolidating his power by setting aside all those loyal to Chandrika, Chandrika retreated from the battle to seize power. But by now, it can be seen that Chandrika’s house on Torrington Mawatha has become a place frequented by political representatives.
It is also said that it has become a place where political discussions are held frequently, not only the Sri Lankan Freedom Party Ministers Nimal Siripala and Mahinda Amaraweera, but also Nimal Lanza and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, who are considered to be friendly members of the President, sit at the discussion table at Chandrika’s house. It has also been learned that several MPs who are sitting independently in the opposition have also participated in these discussions on many occasions.
If not Ranil, then who?
What will be done if Ranil does not contest the presidential election has become the main topic of these discussions. In that case, it has been learned that there has been a long discussion about who is the person who can put all the parties together and present in the presidential election. It was noted that the people representing the ruling party who were sitting at the discussion table said that they have serious doubts about Ranil’s candidacy for the presidential election.
Accordingly, it has been learned that if Ranil does not run for the presidential election, a proposal has been made for the name of a candidate who can be nominated by the ruling party. It is a well-known story in the political field that this political figure has been dreaming of the presidency for a long time. He is also known as a person who talks to all these groups. Accordingly, it should be mentioned that this person has also participated in the discussions held at Chandrika’s house once or twice, but this information has not been confirmed yet. However, it has not been heard that government ministers Nimal Siripala and Mahinda Amaraweera have shown much appreciation for this nomination. Even so, it is clear that they are currently in the position that a political alliance should be formed with Chandrika as its leader to target the presidential election.
Curse of Northwest
Many complaints have been submitted by Pohottu councillors representing Kurunegala and Puttalam to Mr. Basil Rajapaksa who is considered to be the head of Pohottuwa for the past few days regarding Mr Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, the current North-West Governor,. There they had pointed out to Basil that Lakshman Yapa is currently working closely with Mr. Nimal Lanza, who is considered to be a very friendly Pohottu member of Parliament to the President, and that Nimal Lanza is a person who is on the mission of bringing Pohottu MPs to the President, and Lakshman Yapa is currently joining the new alliance that Lanza is trying to build . Apart from this, the Pohottu councillors in the North-West Province had also taken steps to submit several other complaints to Basil regarding Lakshman Yapa.
Generally, Lakshman Yapa is considered to be a very pro-Basil figure. Lakshman Yapa was Basil’s deputy minister during Basil’s tenure as Minister of Economic Affairs. Even though Lakshman was defeated in the general election, Basil had worked to keep Lakshman Yapa close to him as an advisor to the Finance Minister. Also, it was Basil who proposed the name of Lakshman Yapa to the North-West in the appointment of governors. Accordingly, when there were continuous complaints regarding Lakshman Yapa, Lakshman Yapa’s son Pasanda Yapa discuss this matter with Yapa Abeywardena. Pasanda Yapa is currently serving as the chairman of the Sathosa.
Calls his son
I have received many complaints from our MPs in the North West against my father. They tried to give me these in writing. I said I will settle this issue. When talking about the post of North West governorship, I recommended my father for it. Everyone says that now Father is dealing closely with Nimal Lanza. I have received many more complaints. Basil took steps to inform Lakshman’s son in this discussion that you should talk to his father and solve this problem as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, it has been learned that Lakshman Yapa, who has been accused of having a strong friendship with Lanza, who is engaged in the work of breaking the bud, has got his hands in a big political work not only in the North West but also in the South. That is through planning to participate in a new political alliance event in Matara. The news is that the Minister of State Geeta Kumarasinghe is also is to join it. Generally, Gita is considered as an anti-Basil political figure. She had criticized Basil on many occasions in the past and took steps to comment to the media. Accordingly, it has been learned that there is currently a big talk emerging in Pohottua about Laxman Yapa, who works together with Lanza in the North West, joining the work of the new alliance with Geetha in Matara.
Lanza to Puttalam
In the midst of all this, Lanza is ready for a new political leap. That is because Lanza has decided to leave his familiar Gampaha and choose Puttalam district. Accordingly, it has been learned that Lanza has decided to contest from Puttalam in the upcoming general election. The main reason for this shift of Lanza is his close political friendship with North West Governor Lakshman Yapa. Accordingly, Lanza plans to use Lakshman Yapa’s political connections in Puttalam to win the general election and return to parliament from Puttalam.
However, there is great doubt whether State Minister Sanath Nishantha, the Puttalam stalwart of Pohottuwa, will allow Lanza to take political advantage from Puttalam. It is an open secret that there is already a big political issue between Lanza and Sanath Nishantha. In the past, it was reported how the two scolded each other on the phone which was also circulated in the media. Accordingly, it is believed by many that the Lanza, Sanath Nishanta conflict will be brought back to the arena in Puttalam in the future.
On the other hand, looking at the past, it can be seen that the North West governorship is one that brought bad luck to many people. Former Navy Commander Wasantha Karnagoda was the North West Governor during Gota’s time. At that time, Johnston Fernando, the North West political strongman, had launched an open battle against Wasantha. The result was that Wasantha lost the governorship of North West. It has been seen that there has been a big protest against Lakshman Yapa, who will become the governor of North West. Accordingly, it is still too early to say whether what happened to Karnagoda will happen to Lakshman Yapa.
Sajit was surrounded
Two weeks ago, after the President came to the Parliament and made accusations about the Legislative Council, the conflict that broke out with the reply speech given by the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa to the President’s face has now gone too far. After Sajith gave such a strong response to the President, many people said that Sajith made a big leap as an opposition leader in Parliament. After that, Sajith managed to create another big crisis within the government by exposing the alleged fraud and corruption in the cricket establishment.
The crisis that emerged ended temporarily when the President took steps to remove Mr. Roshan Ranasinghe, who served as a cabinet minister. Also, after the order given by the Supreme Court that the Rajapaksa’s had worked to bankrupt the country’s economy, Sajith managed to create a big conflict not only with the President but also with the Pohottuwa government by presenting a resolution against that group. The result of this was that last week, a big smear campaign was launched by the government targeting the opposition leader Sajith.
The beginning of this was marked last week when the members of the government signed a letter against Sajith. Sajith also received information about this from the government at the beginning of last week. Also, a member of the government had arranged to give a copy of that letter to Sajith. While giving a copy of this letter to Sajith, this ruling party member told Sajith that despite receiving this type of letter, many members refused to sign it, and that the letter has no validity. Accordingly, it is said that in the letter that was in Sajith’s hands, the opposition leader is violating the privileges of the government ministers in the parliament and threatening the members of the government. The letter also stated that strict action should be taken against the leader of the opposition as he has violated the privilege of the members.
Where the letter originated
However, Sajith and the opposition were able to find a bigger story behind the letter rather than certain facts in the letter. Sajith and his group were able to reveal many special secrets such as in which office this letter was prepared, who was the officer who raised the privilege issues and prepared the letter, who was the officer of that office who spoke to the MPs, etc. In addition, it was revealed that another official who should be independent had gathered all the information and drafted a letter against the opposition leader. Upon learning that this official has great political connections, Sajith also took steps to find out information about the official. Accordingly, Sajith was able to find a lot of information about the concerned officer within a few moments.
However, as soon as they saw this letter, many people said that the letter had no basis. It is said that there is no possibility of implementing any of the facts. It has been learned that many senior ministers of the ruling party have refused to sign the relevant letter after being informed of this, and have mentioned that if they sign such a letter, they may be ridiculed by the people. However, Sajith and the opposition had received information that the government was choosing various strategies to stop Sajith’s criticism of the government.
The second trump card
Accordingly, when the action taken to shut Sajith’s mouth through this letter went wrong, the government next planned to launch a strong attack on Sajith on the budget day of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. It was alleged that Sajith had misused the funds of the Central Cultural Fund when he was the Minister in charge of Housing and Cultural Affairs. The task was completely handed over to former minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. However, as before, Sajith and the opposition group had received the information about this strategy of the government. Accordingly, Sajith took steps to prepare in advance for this attack by the government by collecting all related documents.
Among those files, Sajith took steps to bring the audit report, the report of the Bribery Commission, and the Jinadasa report, which confirmed that no financial irregularities had occurred in the Central Cultural Fund, before the budget debate day. Accordingly, when the government groups including Mahindananda accused Sajith in this regard, Sajith took steps to prove his innocence by submitting all the related articles. Apart from this, Sajith, who claimed that he was exonerated by the Jinadasa report, said that the government has not taken steps to submit this report to the COPE committee for this reason. But there, Minister Vidura Wickramanayake said that the report of that committee has been submitted to the COPE committee. However, Sajith took steps to table the information contained in the committee’s report amid the shouts of the ruling party.
The third trump
After the failure of the second strategy upside down, the government took steps to bring the third trump card against Sajith before the Parliament by stating that the employees of the company were employed in the company of Sajith’s wife by an internal audit report of the State Engineering Corporation. It was entrusted to Mahindananda to present the accusation against Sajith. As soon as this accusation was presented, Sajith denied it and said that such a false report was prepared by using an unqualified trade union member in Pohottuwa, and it was done by the government to smear him. Sajith, who did not stop denying it, took steps to table the entire history of the person who said that he prepared the internal audit report in Parliament the very next day.
Who is this Dhammika?
According to that revelation, this report was prepared by N.V.T. A Dhammika. This NVT Dhammika has been a committee member of the Commercial Industries and Services Progressive Association affiliated to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna since February 03, 2020, and through another letter dated February 18, 2020, the Poduperamuna Vocational Society requested the vice president of the State Engineering Corporation to appoint this person to the position of acting internal auditor. The opposition leader said.
Accordingly, Sajith said that a fake report had been prepared using trade union members of Pohottuwa, claiming to be an internal auditor’s report. The audit report was written by N. V. T. Dhammika, although he should have a basic degree in the relevant subject and 12 years of experience to hold such a position, he is not qualified to hold such an audit position.
Also, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa revealed that this person has been re-appointed even though he left the service through a letter, and he has even been promoted.
At the beginning of the government’s tenure, it was said that there had been a fraud of 11 billion through the cultural fund, and a committee was appointed to look into it, and Harigupta Rohanadhira, who was on the committee, was a lawyer of former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and a candidate of the alliance who contested the 2010 election. Sajith also said that even though no member signed the investigation report, the report was used to gain political advantages in the 2020 general election.
After this report was forwarded to the Bribery Commission, the Bribery Commission said that there were not enough facts to act under the Bribery Act, after that the Cope Committee brought the officials of the relevant ministries and appointed a new committee, and the report of the said committee has not been disclosed yet, and the reason for that is The opposition leader said that no person including Sajith Premadasa has been found guilty of the charges.
Attack through the media
In this way, while targeting the opposition leader inside the parliament, another program was seen last week to attack the opposition leader by using the media. That is the publication of another similar story targeting Sajith and SJB in two-weekend newspapers. In the news, it was said that there has been a strong attack from within the party regarding Sajith’s comments in the Parliament and that this happened in a meeting chaired by the party’s general secretary Mr. Ranjith Maddumabandara.
Below is how the weekly ‘Aruna’ newspaper reported the news.
‘The MPs of the Samagi Jana Balavega have strongly objected to the opposition leader Sajith Premadasa expressing his opinion in the parliament without consulting the party’s parliamentary group’.
‘The party MPs have protested in this way in the group meeting in the Parliament chaired by party secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara’.
‘The Samagi Jana Balawega MP group met in Parliament under the chairmanship of Party General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara’.
The government is putting a big weight on the leader of the opposition. He is our leader. With the statement made by the party general secretary at the beginning of the meeting that there is no one else, the protest has started.
Member of Parliament Kabir Hashim has mentioned that this kind of situation has arisen because the opposition leader is talking about what he wants and what he doesn’t want. Here, the SJB MPs further pointed out that although it is good for the opposition leader to clash with the government leaders, it is not good for his situation to clash with MPs like Sanath Nishantha and Prasanna Ranaweera.
Another group of MPs have said that when the leader of the opposition is speaking in Parliament, it should not be necessary to seek publicity by asking for microphones, cameras and screens.’
‘Desaya’ newspaper had reported the news as follows.
‘Recently, the parliamentary group of Samagi Jana Balawega held a meeting without the participation of opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa. It was presided over by Sajaba General Secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara. Only a small group of eighteen people have participated in this.
‘We cannot be satisfied with the participation of the MPs.’
According to sources, such a story was told by the General Secretary. After that, it is said that the group of members of the assembly without the party leader has started to express their frustrations.
There is nothing to do, Secretary. Even if there is a group meeting every day, they talk about the same thing. That’s just the boss. We listen and get up every now and then.’
According to media reports, the objection was filed by several young MPs.
Not only in the group, only has the leader been speaking since the beginning of the parliament. Now this has become a joke for others.’
When these issues arise, several seniors have also mentioned that the leader informed them about this. But they have mentioned that there was no result. As reported, this conversation has been held for a long time.
Many problems have come to the fore here, such as wasting time in Parliament, the opposition leader’s entanglement with unnecessary MPs, and the lack of opportunity for young MPs. However, several people are said to have tried to protect the opposition leader.
As mentioned in the political arena, Mr. Ranjith Maddumabandara, who has heard everything, has realized that the situation is getting serious.
‘Alright, I will inform the leader about all this.’
Accordingly, this year’s SJB group meeting has ended, paving the way for many new crises.’
That is also a lie
However, there was such a discussion, but nothing of that kind had happened outside. Although this meeting was supposed to be chaired by Sajith, the meeting was chaired by Ranjith because Sajith had an essential duty that day. About 20 MPs participated in this discussion, where the most talked about was how the budget debate should be conducted. However, in the end, as usual, Rajitha Senaratne only spoke and said that Sajith should only speak on national issues in Parliament and that speaking once every two weeks is enough. Based on that story, the following newspapers had taken steps to publish this false news in the same way.
Accordingly, on Monday itself, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara sent a letter of correction to the editors of both these newspapers. It said something like this.
Disapproval of sajith’s parliamentary behaviour
Re the Front page news reported in your newspaper written by Mr Aslam on 3rd Sunday 2023.
I emphatically state that as mentioned in the news, a meeting of the members of the Samagi Jana Balavega was not held under my chairmanship in the parliament.
The news was created and published based on political necessity.
I kindly request that this erroneous news be corrected and republished, giving the same space and priority given to that news report.
United People’s Force.
A problem for Namal
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 78th birthday was on the 17th, and on that day, the President and the sons of the Rajapaksa family cut a cake for Mahinda and wished him a happy birthday. Although the cake-cutting with the president is not a new story, after that story, another new story that no one knows about was revealed to the country. It is about the house where this birthday party was organized. The media had reported that this party was held at the official residence of the government where MP Namal Rajapaksa lives. The media reports revealed that the official residence is located on Malalasekara Mawatha and that Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena lived in that official residence during his tenure as Minister. Later, Dinesh left the official residence after assuming the post of Prime Minister, and it was later used by Namal as a residence.
Can an MP?
But the question is about how Namal, who is a member of the government, can use an official house belonging to the government. Government houses can only be used by a minister of the government. Accordingly, it is known that this topic is likely to be a hot topic in the political arena in the future.