Was Sajith’s ‘three-line whip’ a success?
Will Ranil do the cabinet reshuffle on Dec 8
Mounting crisis in Pohottuwa
The revelation we made in advance
We reported in the ‘Rajya Rahas’ column last week that Mr. Shaurya Doval, the son of Indian Defense Adviser Mr. Ajit Doval, had unexpectedly arrived in Sri Lanka. We also mentioned about a special phone call between India’s Defense Advisor, Mr. Ajit Doval, and former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. As a result, our special disclosure was released to the market last Saturday in the ‘Mawrata’ newspaper (19). However, we receive the most recent news on Saturday afternoon, when the newspaper is released to the market. Mr. Ajit Doval, India’s ‘National Security Adviser,’ has unexpectedly decided to visit Sri Lanka. As a result, we took extraordinary steps to inform the country about this on Saturday itself via our website, ‘mawratanews.lk.’
The news we published is as follows.
Indian Defense Advisor Ajit Doval suddenly comes to Sri Lanka! Stopped for 2 days! Lots of high profile discussions!
It is reported that India’s National Security Adviser Mr. Ajit Doval is suddenly scheduled to visit Sri Lanka tomorrow (19).
Accordingly, it is said that Mr. Doval, who will be in Sri Lanka tomorrow and the day after, has planned to hold several rounds of talks with the President and other high-ranking officials of the government and several other parties.
The discussion with the President is scheduled to be held on the next day (20).
It is not clear whether Mr. Doval is suddenly coming to Sri Lanka with the purpose of delivering a special message from the Indian government, or with the purpose of taking a special message from the Sri Lankan government to India.
Nonetheless, for the past few months, various government parties have attempted to set up a meeting between the President and Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, but have failed because Mr. Modi refused to make time for it.
The President attempted to schedule a meeting through both the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka and Mr. Milind Moragoda, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India, but was unsuccessful.
Later, Mr. Sagala Ratnayake was dispatched to India as the dictator’s special representative, but he too was unable to arrange a meeting between the President and the Prime Minister of India.
The previous week, former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa requested a meeting between the President and the Indian Prime Minister during a telephone conversation with Mr. Ajit Doval, the Indian National Security Advisor. However, this, did not work either.
Nevertheless, political analysts are of the opinion that under such a background, the two-day visit of the Indian Defense Advisor Mr. Ajith Doval to Sri Lanka will be a very decisive one.
Everyone starts searching
As a result, when we published this news on our website as extraordinary news, journalists of various ranks and individuals claiming to be media stars in this country were observed investigating the veracity and falsity of this news through various parties. Some of them directly questioned the representatives of the Indian High Commission regarding the veracity of this report. Some tried it through the Presidential Media Unit and various individuals in charge of the President’s foreign affairs about the veracity of this news. But they were unable to obtain confirmation from anywhere. Many individuals responded, “We have no knowledge of such a thing.” Due to this, some journalists remained silent, not mentioning this issue in their newspapers or on their websites.
However, as we said, Doval did not come to Sri Lanka on the 19th . We were also able to confirm that from a very reliable source. The source said that Doval has suddenly decided to postpone his trip to Sri Lanka by another two days. Accordingly, Doval arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday (21) night. It is from an Indian special jet. As soon as the information was confirmed, we took steps to publish the same news on the next day, Tuesday, as special news on our website.
Websites are up and running again.
Accordingly, the news of Doval’s visit to Sri Lanka this time, as well as the news of Doval’s visit to Sri Lanka, spread like a stone hitting a beehive among the other media outlets that learned of it through our website. Like the previous time, they immediately contacted the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, the Presidential Media Unit, and the President’s friends to inquire about this. Due to the fact that none of them could confirm Doval’s travel to Sri Lanka, it was evident that these journalists remained mute and did not write a single word about it.
Not just the Sri Lankan media, but also the Indian media have remained mute on Doval’s surprise journey to Sri Lanka. If Doval goes on a foreign trip, the Indian media will typically release the information first. During the former administration of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Doval visited Sri Lanka on multiple occasions for official meetings and conversations with Gota and other high-level politicians. The Indian media had laboured to include photographs of each of them in their news coverage. This time, though, it was remarkable that neither news nor photographs of Doval’s journey appeared in the Indian media. Possibly due to the extraordinary secrecy surrounding Doval’s visit to Sri Lanka. Consequently, we were the only media outlet to report on Doval’s travel to Sri Lanka.
We did, however, inform that Doval would visit Sri Lanka and speak with high-level politicians. Consequently, during the few hours that Doval spent in Sri Lanka, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa, who arrived in Sri Lanka last week, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, as well as Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan, met and had discussions. In each of these instances, however, it was noteworthy that Doval took extraordinary care to maintain the strictest confidentiality regarding his travels.
Was the airspace closed?
However, a few hours after Doval left Sri Lanka, Newswave, a Sri Lankan website, took steps to report a special story. It contained that almost suddenly India took steps to close a part of the airspace belonging to Sri Lanka. The closure of that airspace belonging to Sri Lanka was so strictly implemented that at least a security forces plane or even a commercial plane coming to or leaving Sri Lanka was prohibited from entering the closed airspace of Sri Lanka.
A military exercise in India
However, while searching for information about it, we found that India has conducted a huge military exercise in the last few days in a secret place in Sri Ganaka Nagar, Rajasthan, India. In this military exercise jointly conducted by the Indian Air Force and the Army, which was called ‘Enemy Suppression’ or ‘Shatru Nashq’, it was seen how the Indian Air Force practiced attacking land targets using laser technology for the first time in the history of India. For this, they had taken steps to use India’s latest high-tech fighter jets. Attacks on enemy targets were also carried out using the latest war attack helicopters. We have even got footage of it and watching them, we could clearly observe how India has acquired an unimaginable war technology.
America has also come to India
In addition to this, it was reported to us that an American special security team is also coming to India. It is for India and America to conduct a massive war exercise that has not happened so far. It was also reported to us that the operation was planned to be held in Uttarkhand region of the Himalayas near the Indo-China border. Accordingly, it can be seen from these events that India and America are ready to take tough decisions in order to suppress the Chinese influence in this region in the future.
Given this context, unofficial sources say it’s doubtful that India’s ‘National Security Adviser’ Ajit Doval visited Sri Lanka in a covert manner to brief the country on the military operation.
The diplomatic crisis we disclosed
We reported on numerous occasions in the ‘Rajya rahas’ column that allowing the Chinese Yuan Wang 5 ship to enter the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka despite opposition from India and the US would lead to a serious diplomatic conflict in the future. Looking at India’s and America’s reactions to Sri Lanka, it appears that what we said then has become a reality today.
Because it has been more than four months since President Ranil Wickremesinghe took office, India has yet to allow Ranil to meet with their Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Ranil attempted to obtain this opportunity through the Indian High Commission in this country, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda, and by unexpectedly dispatching Sagala Ratnayake, the President’s private secretary to India, but he was unable to do so. Many people believe that the reason Ranil was denied this opportunity was because he allowed the Chinese ship to visit Sri Lanka despite India’s objections.
On the other hand, we previously reported in this column about a story that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told a friend about Ranil after he fled and returned to Sri Lanka. There, Gota told his friend that India had repeatedly demanded that Ranil not be appointed President after he informed high-ranking Indian government officials of his intention to resign.
They desired that, in accordance with the decision of the party leaders in Parliament, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena be appointed to the office of President, and that an election be held at a specific time and a President be chosen. We also mentioned that Gota had told his friend that he had to break the promise he made to India, and that India is not very fond of him as a result. According to that story, India has had a problem with Ranil since the beginning, and that problem has been exacerbated by the Chinese ship issue. It is clear that no meeting between Modi and Ranil has occurred yet.
America is still silent
On the other hand, it has become a major issue that US President Joe Biden’s administration has yet to congratulate Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe, who has been elected as the new president. The President took the initiative the day after taking office to spark a serious conflict with Mrs. Julie Chang, the American Ambassador to Sri Lanka, by attacking Galle face activists and ordering security forces to remove them. It was also seen how the conflict that began with Juli Chung became personal and escalated to the point of complaining to the US State Department.
At the time, we reported in this column that having unnecessary conflicts with such diplomatic officials causes more harm to the country and its people than to its rulers. When we look at India’s and America’s actions today, the story we told then appears to have been confirmed. As a result, the US State Department has yet to send a congratulatory message to the President, despite India’s refusal to meet him today. And India is conducting military exercises almost unexpectedly, and as a result, America and India are conducting joint military exercises
Basil’s hair is gray
Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, who is considered to be the mastermind of Pohottuwa, returned to Sri Lanka last Monday after spending several months in America. During Basil’s trip to Sri Lanka, several special events were witnessed. The first was that Basil could have come to Sri Lanka from his home city of Los Angeles by a direct flight, but he did not do so and came to Sri Lanka after spending a day in Washington. Basil was accompanied by his wife Mrs. Pushpa Rajapakse on that trip. However, after arriving at Katunayake Airport, Basil came out through the ‘Gold Route’ terminal, which anyone can use by paying $200. As only VIPs can travel there, the group came to meet Basil and stayed in the ‘V.I.P’ lounge that is reserved for VIPs.
Here, more than Basil’s arrival, several issues that were questioned by the media in this country could be seen. The first one was that Basil Rajapaksa, who is not a Member of Parliament, or at least not a member of the local council, was given VIP status at the airport. Who is authorized to use the terminal? The media even questioned whether Basil had the right to do so. The next question raised by the media was whether Basil had paid the $200 to use the Gold Route terminal.
The media mostly questioned about the people who came to greet Basil . It was specifically questioned whether the presence of the Chairman of the Police Commission, Mr. Chandra Fernando, a former Inspector General of Police, and another member of the Police Commission in that location and how ethical was their presence . The next big question was how Basil, who doesn’t even a MP , was given police protection and a security procession of motorcycles from Katunayake to Colombo.
All this was seen by the people who came to welcome Basil and the media, but another group of people who were there got to see something special that many did not get to see. That is when we look at how Basil came to Sri Lanka. Usually, Basil comes to Sri Lanka from America at a time when Sri Lankan politics is upside down with some political plan in mind. Everyone got to see Basil’s personality when he arrived. But looking at the way Basil came this time, it is doubtful whether he came as a political personality with such a political plan.
We say this based on one incident that only a few people who were there got to see. It is nothing but Basil came to Sri Lanka without dyeing and blackening his hair and keeping it in its true form. Therefore, no one who was there today could see the freshness that was seen from Basil. Therefore, many people thought that Basil came to Sri Lanka with a lot of unanswered questions in his head rather than coming with political answers in his head.
Problems Basil had to solve
However, when Basil came to Sri Lanka, he had to solve several major problems. The first one was Johnston, Rohitha, Pavitra, SM who were the stalwarts representing their team and to get them into the cabinet. Through that, Basil’s first goal was to reassert the power of Pohottuwa within the government.
Some media had already reported that Basil’s next plan was to get a two-thirds vote for the budget. Although the government actually has a majority of 118 MPs, Vajira Abeywardena made a statement on behalf of the government and said that the government will have 135 members in the second reading of the budget this year. Accordingly, Basil also came from America with the intention of giving the budget an amount of votes that exceeded that amount.
Did he meet Ranil in the middle of the night?
Accordingly, Basil took steps to discuss this with several of his loyal MPs the very night he arrived. Apart from this, unofficial sources mentioned that a very short meeting was held between Basil and Ranil that night. Those unofficial sources further mentioned that Ranil has been informed that the new cabinet should be appointed on December 8th when the vote for the third reading of the budget will be held. But the president’s answer is that this is not the time to reshuffle the cabinet and that it can be done around next January. Saying so, it has been learned from the unofficial news that the President has postponed the cabinet reshuffle. But so far it is not known that Basil has said this to his group of MPs. He must have thought that it would be disadvantageous for them.
However, from the day after his arrival in Sri Lanka, Basil started his political activities again and took steps to visit the main party office in Pohottuwa in Battaramulla. Since it was the day of the parliamentary budget debate, it was seen that many ministers from Pohottu came to the party office and had a word or two with Basil. Basil worked together with them to calculate the amount of votes that could be obtained for the budget. According to Basil’s calculations, the amount to be 130 as several independent members has also expressed their willingness to support the budget. Accordingly, Basil had planned to start the media operation to revive the ‘pot’ with the 130 votes. But Basil’s plan turned upside down with the receiving of 121 votes in favor of the budget. There is another story behind the scenes regarding the lack of votes for the budget.
The game played by Sajith
The operation was launched by none other than opposition leader Sajith Premadasa. Generally, many say that Sajith is not a political gamer. Sajith is an open and honest speaker. But Ranil, Basil and Vajira, who are considered to be political game players, turned a game plan in the parliament to get 135 votes for the budget. This was turned other way by Sajith. That is holding back SJB’s decision until the last moment without announcing it. But Sajith spoke to all the MPs and personally asked them what decision should be taken regarding the budget.
Apart from this, Sajith also took steps to discuss with people representing various fields at the ground level. Also, Sajith, who discussed with all the people like youth, women, middle class, businessmen, fishing community, self-employed etc., took the final decision regarding the budget on the day before the polling. It was decided in the MP group meeting held there that all the MPs should vote against the budget. The most special event witnessed here was the issuing of a ‘three-line whip’ order’ to the MPs. If such a three-line whip is issued, all MPs must stand by the party’s decision.
However, although the Tamil Alliance was initially in a position to vote against the budget, it decided to refrain from voting for the budget in response to the President’s statement that a new round of negotiations would be initiated to find a solution to the national issue. Sumanthiran arranged to inform Sajith of the decision by calling him that same night. There, Sumanthiran said that since this is not a decisive vote, he will abstain from voting in the situation and will work together with the opposition in the critical situation of changing the government. Sajith also agreed.
Accordingly, the final result of the second reading of the budget was that Ranil, Vajira and Basil were expected to get 135 votes, but the number of votes dropped to 121. The number of votes of the opposition increased to 84. If the Tamil Alliance got 11 votes, it would have gone up to 95. Apart from this, two Sahabas were abroad. Two members of Anura Yapa’s team and two members of Wimal Weerawansa’s team did not attend the voting. And MP Wigneswaran did not vote. If all of them were added, the number of votes would have increased to 102. Under such a situation, the opposition needed only 11 votes to beat the majority to the government.
Pohottuwa in chaos
However, after this poll, it was seen that various messages were exchanged in the WhatsApp group, which only has Pohottu MPs. Many of the messages mentioned by the MPs said that we were deceived once again and that they are not ready to be deceived anymore. But it was not clearly stated whether this objection of the MPs was directly aimed at Ranil or Basil. But it did not take long for Basil to understand the anger of the MPs. Also, Basil realized that if the situation develops in this way, many MPs will either vote against the budget or refrain from voting for the budget in the final budget vote on December 8th. Accordingly, Basil carried out the plan somewhat to control the anger of the MPs.
There, Basil did not want defeat the entire budget, but prepared plans to defeat only the budget heads of a few ministers who do not care about the potottuva and are acting against them. Basil also took steps to leave a special message to the MPs with the names of those ministers. The names of three ministers were specifically mentioned in the WhatsApp messages exchanged there. Those ministers were Nimal Siripala de Silva, Vijayadasa Rajapaksa and Nasir Ahmad. Many councilors had mentioned that the three of them do not care about the members of Pohottuwa and do not treat well the members of Pohottuwa and many members had written down their answers that they are ready to defeat their budget heads. Accordingly, it was seen that Basil’s operation to keep up with the budget was successful by sending the objections of three ministers out.
Also there was some discussion among the MPs about Manusha and Hareen. But even many MPs who are loyal to the Rajapaksa said that they are helping Pohottuva a lot. This was expressed by MPs who were loyal to Mahinda as well as those who were loyal to Basil. Accordingly, the MPs decided not to do anything about their budgets.
So one thing is clear now. That means that there will be many more upheavals in Parliament in the coming days.
Was Ranil angry with the result?
However, the second reading of the budget did not yield the expected result, and Ranil and the senior government officials were very angry. Ranil took steps to launch a strong attack on the opposition, opposition leaders, human rights organizations, government institutions, and the seniors of the struggle, especially Sajith Premadasa and the leader of the Frontline Socialist Party, Kumar Gunaratnam. Through that, many people witnessed that so called expert gamer Ranil, got defeated to the game played by Sajith being in the opposition. The seniors of the government were upset by the game played by Sajith from the opposition targeting the budget.
Cardinal returns to the Vatican
It has now been 3 years since the Easter attack. While the politicians were accused of trying to hide the investigation of the Easter attack under the red carpet, it was Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith who launched a big fight to provide relief and justice to the victims of the Easter attack. Meanwhile, last week the Cardinal took steps to celebrate his 75th birthday. The general tradition has been for the Vatican to retire archbishops after 75 years. Accordingly, following the tradition, the cardinals took steps to inform the Vatican about this two weeks before the 75th birthday. The response letter is received from the Vatican within two weeks after such notification and often the appointment of successor archbishops is also made at the same time.
However, with the sending of this letter, several other local and foreign parties had informed the Vatican that the cardinal had launched a massive battle to achieve justice for the Easter attack, and that he should be given some more time to finish that battle. If the Vatican decides to consider the proposal, the Pope has the ability to extend the service of the cardinals for another 6 months. However, the related letter is expected to be received by the Cardinals by the middle of next January.
However, under this background, His Holiness the Cardinal left for Germany last week. He there to seek the necessary funds for the church to continue the help provided to the poor people. Sources close to him state that after the visit, the Cardinal is most likely to leave for the Vatican.
By Special Correspondent