After winning the 2015 presidential election, Maithripala Sirisena assumed leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and formed a national government with the SLFP and the UNP, becoming the first head of state in Sri Lanka to face no attacks from either the government or the opposition after forming a national government. The Rajapaksas were also wary of attacking him. Wimall and Udayala said ‘hitang hutang’ at first, and then set up with Maithri. No UNP minister had the courage to respond to Maithri’s attack on Prime Minister Ranil on Central Bank Robbery.
Only a few people, such as Sarath Fonseka, dared to criticise Maithri without fear of repercussions from the U.N.P. But there was one MP from Maithri’s own party who stood up to him without fear. Roshan Ranasinghe is the United People’s Freedom Alliance representative for Polonnaruwa. When the Rajapakse family infiltrated the presidential palace and struck a deal with Maithrie, he remained in Maithrie’s stronghold and clashed with Maithrie fearlessly. He raised a privilege issue against Maithripala in 2015. Maithripala ruled the government and the opposition like a king at the time. Because he did not receive an answer to that privilege question, Roshan raised it again on July 13, 2019.
This is his privilege question.
‘Four years ago I raised a privilege issue in this Parliament. But no action was taken to solve it. I have been a critic of President Maithripala’s ideology. I did this for the good of the people of the country. Because of this, I was harassed by the President. The president and his family started attacking me from all sides. Polonnaruwa police did not take any action on my complaints. The police of Polonnaruwa were controlled by the President’s family. He implicated me in a false case. If you want, ask the U.N.P. Polonnaru MPs organizers. They would swear in affirmation. In 2016, an unknown gang tried to endanger my life. I was attacked with a grenade in Welikande in 2017. In August 2017, one of my business establishments in Colombo was burnt down. This president was the defence minister. His brother Dudley Sirisena threatened me three times. I complained to the police in Polonnaruwa. But no action was taken. I wrote to the CID the CID said it was not their concern…
‘This is how Roshan Ranasinghe fearlessly encounter Maithripala. Roshan first came to Parliament from Polonnaruwa in 2010. In 2015, he won the most votes in Polonnaruwa. In 2010, Roshan Ranasinghe competing for Parliament for the first time polled 56,223 votes while Maithripala polled 90,118 as party secretary and district leader. In the 2020 general election, Roshan Ranasinghe thought that Podujana Peramuna would not nominate Maithripala. He challenged if possible to contest in SLFP and come to Parliament. But even then, Roshan did not know that the Rajapaksas had made a deal with Maithri and were to nominate Maithri from Polonnaruwa. Maithripala came to the general election using the privileges of the former president. But he got only 111,137 votes. Roshan Ranasinghe polled 90,615 votes. The difference is 20,522 votes.
Gota did not consider Roshan who fearlessly clashed with Maithri during the presidency of Maithri. He kept the Roshan away to keep Maithripala happy. The reason for this is that Maithrie helped to save Gotabhaya from going to jail during the presidential term and Maithrie got Sri Lankan Freedom Party support to win Gota in the 2019 presidential election. The biggest act of gratitude Gota did for Maithrie was not giving a ministerial position to Roshan Ranasinghe. Gota gave the position of Minister of State to Roshan due to the influence of the party and the family.
Roshan held this position of Minister of State with great difficulty. The reason for that is the order given to use organic fertilizers by Gota for farming. The most affected by this order were the people of Polonnaru whose main livelihood was farming.
On April 2, 2022, before the ‘Aragalaya’ started in Colombo Galle Face, he wrote a letter to Gota and resigned from the position of Minister of State. He resigned not only from the post of Minister of State but also from the post of Polonnaruwa Constituency Organiser. In his resignation letter, he requested Gota to compensate the farmers who lost their crops due to the use of organic fertilizers.
During the ‘Aragalaya’, his house and vehicles were also attacked. Gotabhaya asked Prime Minister Mahinda and the Cabinet to step down but made Roshan Sports Minister when Ranil was made Prime Minister. When Ranil became the Prime Minister, there were not even three members of the Podujana Peramuna to support Ranil. At that time, it was Roshan Ranasinghe who gathered MPs to support Ranil.
When Gota stepped down from the presidency and Ranil ran for the presidential election in Parliament as acting president, neither Rajapaksas nor Nimal Lansa could get votes for Ranil. Members of the Podujana Peramuna were stunned. There was no place or anyone to organize a meeting of the MPs to canvas votes for Ranil except the MPs were talking indoors. The Rajapaksas hid and called the MPs on the phone and asked them to vote for Ranil and were afraid to come out. Roshan fearlessly gathered the members of the Podujana Peramuna in his house and publicly stated that they should support Ranil.
‘Why then Roshan, opposing Ranil today…?’
Ranil did not change Gota’s Cabinet not out of love for the ministers in the cabinet, but knowing that the ministers in that cabinet were ‘signal poles’ who raise their hands for any proposal. Even in 2002 or 2015, in the UNP cabinet, Ranil has not come across such Ministers. This is called the ‘yes sir ‘ cabinet and does not oppose anything that Ranil says. But Ranil misread one of the ministers in this cabinet.
He is Roshan Ranasinghe.
Ranil forgot that Roshan was the man who insulted Sri Lanka’s most powerful president who was not attacked by the former government or the opposition. As Ranil controlled all the other ministries as he wanted, he started controlling the sports ministry as he wanted. The sports ministry was previously in the hands of Namal Rajapaksa, the crown prince of the Rajapaksa family. Gotabaya did not interfere in Namal’s work. Mahinda Rajapaksa didn’t even poke a finger. The crown of the Sports Ministry was Namal’s crown. When Gota removed Namal and appointed Roshan as Sports Minister, Namal thought that Roshan could be made to dance as he wanted. But Roshan did not comply with that. Earlier, Roshan was Namal’s well-wisher, but after becoming Sports Minister, Roshan did not do what he wanted, and when Ranil tried to do what he wanted, he did not allow Ranil for that. Ranil’s empire was built not by public votes but by the votes of members of Pohottuwa.
Ranil was also mingling with the MPs of Samagi Jana Balavegaya, making Sajith Premadasa helpless. When the court ruled that the local government elections should be held immediately, Ranil also shut the mouth of the court. Everyone thought that Ranil was omnipotent. But Roshan showed the world that he was not the dust on Ranil’s feet by appointing the Interim Cricket Committee after sneaking out through Ranil’s ear. He opened the eyes of the ‘ yes sir’ ministers without a backbone.
Sajith, who kept his back straight after escaping Ranil’s games with Samagi Jana Balawegaya, took up the battle where Roshan had left off and threw the ministry into the ditch. He blew up Ranil’s game plan aimed at demolishing Roshan’s interim committee. From 1994 to 2019, Ranil led the opposition. However, neither Chandrika nor Mahinda’s president has been able to bring the government and opposition together in support of a minister who makes independent policy decisions. In such a situation, Dudley, who led the opposition before Ranil, Mrs. B, JR, or Anura, was not been able to do such a thing. It always happens that the minister who comes out against the power of the president loses his ministry and sits in the opposition. But Sajith gathered the entire government and the opposition around the minister.
Last week, what happened in the parliament was a huge revolution that went beyond the 1964 government revolution to the 2001 government revolution. Roshan is the man of the match. But Sajith won the match.