Will Ranil hold provincial council elections under Indian pressure?
Will pohottuwa – UNP alliances survive with Basil’s opposition?
Provincial councils are back.
Ranil Wickramasinghe left for India for the first time last Thursday evening, exactly one year after taking office. According to a press release issued by the Presidential Media Unit, the President was scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian President Draupadi Murdi, and high-ranking Indian government ministers during his visit to India. The media has also reported that various topics will be discussed during these meetings. Many people have commented that resolving the ethnic problem in the North and East, implementing the 13th amendment, holding provincial council elections that include the North and East, expediting debt restructuring, and other issues are at the top of the agenda. As a result, some of the events in the political arena over the last few days were seen to have occurred against the backdrop of the President’s visit to India.
There were signs that holding the provincial council election would become the number one topic since the beginning of last week when several high-ranking representatives of the government went to their respective provinces and informed the former local government members to prepare to face an emergency provincial council election.
Accordingly, at the beginning of last week, these representatives went to the provinces they represent and took steps to call the former local council and Municipal council members representing Pohottua. It was special that they did not call all the former MPs and only selected MPs. Accordingly, it was seen that there were a group of about 60 former MPs in one of the meetings held. Here, all the strongmen of the government told the members only one story.
The provincial council election is scheduled to take place soon, so get ready. Furthermore, these stalwarts had taken steps to send a special message to the former Pohottuva MPs about how to run in the election.
The government has decided to hold an emergency provincial council election. So get ready for it. We have made a plan on how to compete for it. About sixty MPs from Pohottuwa have already prepared to form a new alliance with the President. These days, many ministers like Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Prasanna Ranatunga, Nimal Lanza have left the bud and are working to build that new alliance. It is from that alliance that they have prepared to contest the provincial council elections. Get ready to contest from that alliance…’ was the point that the government representatives informed the former local government councillors of Pohottuwa.
Party office at Rajagiriya
Meanwhile, last Thursday (20th), several MPs who are extremely loyal to the President did another special activity. That is the opening of an official office for this new political alliance to be formed. This office, which was opened without much publicity, is located in the Rajagiriya Lake Drive area. Through this political office, which was opened with the participation of several ministers, the work of gathering ministers of Pohottuwa and former local government councillors, who are the strength of Pohottuwa at the village level, is to be done in the future. After that, it is learned that the Potottu councilors have planned to use it as the party headquarters of the new political alliance and hold a big ceremony to open it.
At the same time, last week, Mr. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, a former Secretary General of the UNP, had also made a statement regarding the upcoming election and about a new alliance to be formed. Akila had said that a presidential election is scheduled to be held next year, and a broad alliance is currently being formed for that purpose. Akila also said that UNP will act as its main stakeholder. Accordingly, it is clear; a new alliance is emerging with the blessing of the President.
We said it before
In this regard, we have uncovered facts on numerous occasions through this ‘inside politics’ column. We previously stated that the President’s faction is forming a new alliance in preparation for the upcoming elections. It was reported in this column that its tasks have been entrusted to Pohottuwa stalwarts Prasanna Ranatunga and Nimal Lanza, and that the spacious official residence at Malalasekara Mawatha, where former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa lived, has been allocated for that purpose. Our report also stated that Prasanna and Lansa started the operation from two offices there.
Apart from this, the office in the Presidential Secretariat given to Nimal Lanza has also become a very active place these days. Since then, Lanza conducting separate campaign activities with the Presidential Media Unit, and Mahindananda is reported to have been entrusted with another part of the work. Both of them may have seen a way of actively taking these activities forward by meeting different groups separately and holding discussions. However, even though Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, who is considered to be the mastermind of Pohottuwa, protested as a party as soon as he got to know the information about this, it can also be seen how the related political activities continue to take place despite the objection.
The problem of north surfaced again
The other main issue that has come to the fore in the background of the President’s visit to India was to find a solution to the North East political issue including the 13th Amendment. Every time the Indian factor comes to the fore in the political arena, it is a common occurrence that the North East issue becomes a topic in the politics of this country. Accordingly, after coming to power, the President called the Tamil National Alliance and North East Tamil MPs to the President’s Secretariat on three occasions to hold discussions on finding a solution to the North East communal problem.
Notably it was seen in these discussions the President promised to provide a political solution to the North East problem before the Independence Day that was in the very first discussion held. But even though Independence Day came, no political solution came forward from the President’s side. At that time, the Tamil Alliance MPs mentioned to the media that the President once again deceived the Tamil community in this country.
Following that, the President summoned Tamil MPs from the North and East to discuss the ethnic issue in the North. During that discussion, a major issue was raised as a documented solution to northern issues that was in the possession of northern province Parliamentarian Mr. C.V. Vigneswaran was seen in the president’s possession. The TNA MPs took note of this. Due to Tamil Alliance MPs’ opposition, the relevant discussion was cut short with no final solution.
However, with the date set for his first visit to India, the President once again took steps to invite all the members of the North East, including the Tamil National Alliance members, for a discussion. The date given by the President for that was last Tuesday. It was a special incident that even though the President’s Secretariat invited all MPs from the North and East, only MP Gajendra Ponnambalam refused this invitation.
4 letters from North to Modi
However, before this discussion and before the President’s trip to India, several special events took place centered on the North East. The most important event was that 4 special letters were addressed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the North based on the President’s trip to India. The first letter was by the leaders of six major political parties representing the North and East.
The second letter was by professionals, religious leaders and civil activists in the North. The third letter was by the Tamil National Alliance leader Mr.R.Sampanhan. However, three of these letters emphasized one common point to the Prime Minister of India. That is to urge the President to fully implement the 13th Amendment prepared according to the Indo-Lanka Agreement signed with India’s intervention as a solution to the ethnic problem in the North East. According to the amendment, it was stated in the relevant articles that the provincial councils should be entitled with the land and police powers.
Although these three letters contained this common point, the fourth letter informed the Indian Prime Minister of a slightly different matter. This letter was sent by none other than Gajendran Ponnambalam MP who had boycotted the discussion with the President. Through his letter, Gajendran had informed the Indian Prime Minister that the only solution to the communal problem in the North East is the federal solution, and that the Indian Prime Minister should pressure the President during this visit to provide that solution. On Tuesday, the President met the Tamil MPs including the Tamil National Alliance MPs under this background.
No police powers
However, in this discussion, the President announced that he was ready to implement the 13th amendment regarding the division of power in the North and East, but he presented some conditions for that. It is about police powers. There, the President said that he is ready to implement other matters apart from police powers, but police powers can only be given if all the party leaders representing the parliament agree to it. Also, the President pointed out to the Tamil MPs that a two-thirds majority in the Parliament is required for this.
But Mr. Sumanthiran, who represents the Tamil National Alliance, was expresses his thoughts against what president said. Sumanthiran pointed out that the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as the current President Ranil Wickramasinghe have on many occasions publicly stated that they are ready to provide solutions to the North East problem through a division of powers beyond the 13th Amendment. Sumanthiran said that it is not acceptable to make such a statement now. Accordingly, the discussion also ended without any agreement.
Even so, the announcement issued by the Presidential Media Unit after the discussion stated as follows.
President Ranil Wickramasinghe emphasized that he has already submitted the best proposal related to solving the problems of the people of the North and East, and the Dravida Party leaders should decide whether to take it forward or not.
President Ranil Wickramasinghe mentioned this in the discussion held today (18) with the Dravida parliamentarians representing the North and the East.
In response to MP MA Sumanthiran’s statement that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also expressed his wish to fully implement the 13th Amendment of the Constitution; the President said that he is Ranil Wickramasinghe and not Ranil Rajapaksa.
The President further said that he wants to solve the problems of the North East Dravidian people and not to get political benefits from it.
The President also said that the 13th Amendment of the Constitution can be fully enforced only if all the party leaders representing the Parliament agree to a full division of powers.
Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe also mentioned that he will never do injustice to the people of the North and East and he wants to do something more for them, the full support of the Parliament should be obtained through discussion and consensus.
The proposals presented in relation to the 13th amendment of the Constitution were discussed at length and the President also mentioned that it is possible to grant all the powers included in the proposal except the police powers, but the police powers can only be granted if all the party leaders representing the Parliament agree to it. . Also, President Ranil Wickramasinghe pointed out that a 2/3 majority in the Parliament is required for this.
The bills proposed to be submitted to the Parliament regarding the running of the affairs of the Provincial Councils after the completion of the basic activities of devolution of power were also discussed and the bills related to the appointment of regional secretaries, education, vocational training and higher education, agricultural innovation and industries, tourism etc. It was also mentioned that it will be presented.
It was mentioned here that under the 13th amendment of the Constitution, the power to make decisions regarding certain subjects is transferred to the Central Government and those subjects should be legally announced.
The President noted that a draft for the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation has been forwarded to the Attorney General to examine its constitutionality and will soon be submitted to Parliament and the National Action Plan on Reconciliation drafted by the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation will also be submitted to the Cabinet soon.
The President said that with the appointment of the Director General, the Interim Secretariat for the Truth-Finding Mechanism was established and that applications would be invited for the key staff required facilitating the drafting of guidelines by including the views of the stakeholders and that the formal mechanism would begin after the relevant laws are enacted.
Dravida party leaders also raised issues regarding the merger of the northern and eastern provinces and the president said that the government has not raised any preparation or discussion about the merger of the northern and eastern provinces.
The President pointed out that the government is not prepared to involve foreign judges in the administration of justice in the North and East, and if necessary, only the reports of foreign observers can be obtained according to the existing methods in South and East Asian countries.
The Anti-Terrorism Bill and the activities of the Office of Missing Persons were also discussed at length. Out of 21,374 complaints received by the Office of Investigation of Missing Persons, the investigations of 3,462 complaints have been completed so far. It was also revealed that the investigations related to the rest of the complaints are currently underway.
The Dravida MPs mentioned that the complaints received by the Office of the Investigation of Missing Persons are not the complete information about the missing persons, and President Ranil Wickramasinghe informed that the details should be submitted and they can be forwarded to the Interim Secretariat for the Truth Finding Mechanism.
Presidential Media Division
The bankruptcy committee meets
Throughout the last period, the government appointed several select committees and committees to look into various matters. One of them was the commission of inquiry appointed to find out who bankrupted the country. The opposition took steps to boycott the committee on the basis of giving its chairmanship to Mr. Sagara Kariyawasam, who was the general secretary of Pohottuwa. There, the entire opposition had accused Sagara Kariyawasam’s leadership of searching for the people who bankrupted the country that it was like asking the thief’s mother.
Accordingly, no one from the opposition participated in the committee to search for the people who bankrupted the country which met for the first time in Parliament last week. Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament Mr. Shanakyan Rasamanikkam was the only one who was sitting there when the meeting started, but as soon as the meeting started, he protested to the committee and left the discussion room.
Another committee appointed
In addition, last week, the government decided to appoint another selection committee. That is, the electoral committee appointed to find out whether the privileges of the members of parliament have been violated due to certain decisions made by the election commission regarding the conduct of the local government election. This matter was discussed at the party leaders’ meeting held last week, and opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa strongly protest against it. There he said that this is completely unethical and through this the government is preparing to exert undue influence not only on the new election commission but also on the judiciary. Moreover, Sajith issued a statement protesting in this regard.
Apart from this, when this was proposed in the parliament, opposition members like JVP’s Vijitha Herath and Muslim Congress’s Rauf Hakeem also strongly protested against it. There they had pointed out that this could be a very wrong precedent. According to the way things are aligning, it appears that the opposition is planning to boycott the selection committee that is to be appointed by the government.
Before the President’s visit to India, he took steps to give a dinner to all the Ministers of the ruling party. Before this, the President took steps to give a similar kind of dinner to the members of the ruling party, and the information was also reported to the media because he took steps to invite them through WhatsApp and text messages. We also reported this through ‘Mawrata’ newspaper. Accordingly, this occasion to hold this dinner without much ado without using, WhatsApp and SMS the President’s Office used only phone calls without leaving any text messages. The wives of the ministers were also invited for this dinner.
Also, at the beginning and at the end of the meeting of the group of members of the government chaired by the President last Monday, the President took steps to invite the ministers of the government to attend this dinner. But from the information we have received, it is said that although a large number of MPs from Pohottuwa participated in it, a few people have also decided not to participate.
Ranil request a Hindi song
Two weeks ago, a group of Indian investors and businessmen visited Sri Lanka and a ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Indian Executive Officers Forum was also organized at the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo. President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the President’s wife Mrs. Maithrie Wickremesinghe participated as the chief guests. Srinivas, a well-known Indian musician, was also invited to sing songs at the event.
The most special event witnessed in this event was when the President requested Srinivas to sing a song. Accordingly, after Srinivas started singing songs, the President who was present at the festival sent a message to Srinivas and informed that he has a special song request. That is whether it is possible to sing the song from the movie ‘Bobby’. As soon as he received the message, Srinivas was very happy and fulfilled the President’s request as his next song.
Sendhil creates an issue
Mrs. Anuradha Yahampat, who came to politics from ‘viyath maga’ was appointed as the Governor for the Eastern Province by former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Even though Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe acted as the President after Gotabhaya left the presidency and ran away, he did not take steps to remove Mrs. Yehampath from that position. But after a few months, the president took steps to remove only a few governors, and accordingly, Anuradha Yahampat was thrown from the east and steps were taken to give the position of governorship to Sendil Thondaman, a friend of the president.
However, after Sendil came to the East as the Governor, the first conflict started with Minister Nasir Ahmed, the leader of the government from the East . This conflict went so far that a month before assuming the position, it was seen how the conflicts between the two started. Once Nasir Ahmed held a news conference and attacked Sendil Thondaman. In this press conference, Nasir also took steps to reveal a secret that no one knew. It is about Sendil Thondaman’s name. There Nasir said that Sendil Thondaman does not belong to the ‘Thondaman’ family, but is a person who took the name Thondaman.
Accordingly, while investigating the disclosure made by Nasir Ahmed, we also came to know that the story is true. Sendhil Thondaman was the elder sister’s son of plantation tycoon Arumugam Thondaman. Accordingly, Sendil Thondaman is a nephew of Arumugam Thondaman. His real name is Sendhil Muttu Vinayagam. Sendhil’s father is engaged in the business of importing and selling food items and they also own a large trading house in 4th Cross Street.
Karunanidhi is to be remembered
However, as soon as he set foot in the east, Sendil, who had a issue with the eastern Muslim leaders of the government, has seen to have created some rift with the Tamil people in the east due to a political project he has started. The reason is that Sendil is now planning to hold a commemoration ceremony for a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Karunanidhi the Eastern province. In that regard, Sendil has already met with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Stalin and exchanged views on this.
Generally, the Sendils represent the plantations so having political relations with Tamil Nadu is not much of a problem. But the problem that has arisen is that Sendil is trying to spread it in the Eastern Province. Muslim and Tamil political leaders in the east have informed the government leaders that Sendil is working to implement his political agenda in the east.
And party leaders have already protested against this and sent messages to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. They have indicated that such a festival should not be held in the East through Sendil. Accordingly, it should only be mentioned here that a certain problematic situation has arisen regarding Sendil’s political future due to the fact that in a very short period of time Sendil has engaged in several conflicts with Muslim and Tamil political leaders in the Eastern Province.
Bandula’s talking photo
Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media, has become a news maker these days. Bandula has once again become a major figure in the media last week due to the cutting down of the huge ‘paddu karanda’ tree in Gampaha Daraluwa area in recent days. Bandula said that the cabinet decided to remove the tree in question and construct the expressway according to the plan, and the public servants took steps to remove the tree in a very efficient manner.
However, due to a special photo published on social media, Bandula had once again become a news maker in the media. During Bandula’s visit to Jaffna, steps had been taken to plant several ‘Pandu Kardan’ plants, and this has raised conversation due to a photograph taken by journalists at one place. There, Bandula could be seen standing up with two or three people help after planting the plant. It was also seen that the photo was circulating rapidly on social media with various texts.
This is not the first time that a photo of Bandula has gone viral on social media. About a month ago, another photo of Bandula became famous on social media. It is a photo of Bandula doing yoga while participating in the International Yoga Day celebrations. At that time, Bandula become the most popular politician in the country because of the popularity his picture got on social media networks.
Money for elections
When dealing with the government, companies that carry out huge projects within the country give ‘tips’ to certain heads of the respective governments. During the previous Rajapakse government, the opposition was making a strong accusation against the Rajapaksas saying that Chinese companies had arranged to give the Rajapakses huge sums of money during the main elections.
Even the documents that were pumped money into the election campaign of the Rajapaksa by the companies that got the contract for the construction of highways were given to the media by the members of the opposition at that time. However, after Rajapaksa, such large-scale foreign companies have not been accused of giving money to the election campaigns of politicians in Sri Lanka.
But suddenly, due to a special revelation made by JVP leader Mr. Anura Kumara Dissanayake in Parliament last Wednesday, the topic of foreign companies pumping money into politicians’ election campaigns surfaced once again. There, Anura said that Prima and Serendib companies, which have a monopoly in the importation of large-scale flour to Sri Lanka, have negotiated to help the heads of the government during the elections, and for that, they are selling flour at a high price without giving the people the benefit of the reduction in the price of flour. Anura’s efforts to revealed even the names of some people .