Sirisena takes on JVP and Basil
Basil Rajapakse and
General Secretary Minister Maithripala
Sirisena has been the target of a political
coup unleashed by forces within the
government for quite some time.
The 'coup' is being masterminded by
President Mahinda Rajapakse's brother Basil
Rajapakse with the blessings of the former.
Sirisena was targeted by the government for
the 'abnormal' increase in the price of
rice. The price of rice which skyrocketed
due to government bungling was blamed on
Sirisena and his brother who owns a rice
Basil handed over the contract of attacking
Sirisena to his pal, the JVP's Wimal
Weerawansa. The JVP accepted the task with
open arms and began to attack Sirisena on
the price issue.
Sirisena for his part closely studied the
pattern in which the JVP was attacking him
and found out from where exactly the
attacks were originating. He found out the
strategy behind the attacks and also the
people who were masterminding the campaign.
Sirisena, who has wide experience in the
cloak and dagger politics of the SLFP
decided not to react immediately. Instead,
he started to plan out his counter attack.
Finally, when JVP Polonnaruwa District
Parliamentarian S.K. Subasinghe began to
attack Sirisena in the House, the Minister
shocked the JVP member by revealing details
of an alleged financial deal involving
Sirisena's comeback shocked everyone,
including Basil and his confidants at the
Sirisena revealed details of Subasinghe
allegedly collecting money from his brother
engaged in business and also collecting rice
and dhal from businessmen in Polonnaruwa.
The JVP's alleged business dealings have now
come out into the open. Especially following
the revelations made with the unofficial
house arrest of JVP Colombo District
Parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti where
details of the party's links with casino
kings like Ravi Wijeratne as well as
acceptance of bribes from leading
businessmen came to light.
Ready for battle
Sirisena did not give up after hitting back
at Subasinghe. He then began to go after the
people who were instrumental in bringing out
the mud slinging campaign against him and
was determined to expose the lot.
Basil, who realised that the campaign was
about to boomerang on him big time,
thereafter scrambled to get in to Sirisena's
Basil called Sirisena and said that since
there were many projects that needed to be
initiated in Polonnaruwa under the Nation
Building Ministry he would prefer to
personally visit the area to initiate them.
Sirisena agreed and invited Basil to
Polonnaruwa. Sirisena's response made Basil
believe that all was well and his public
relations exercise had worked out.
Sirisena called all the organisers in
Polonnaruwa as well as officials from the
Agriculture Ministry and asked them to
organise a grand event to welcome Basil in
Polonnaruwa. Accordingly, a grand event was
organised in Polonnaruwa.
Basil was warmly welcomed and was
accompanied to the hall where the event was
to be held. Sirisena played along and did
not show any of the displeasure he was
harboring towards Basil over the mudslinging
Sirisena however by then had decided to
attack the mastermind behind the mud
slinging campaign against him and waited for
the right moment to go on the offensive.
On the offensive
During the first few minutes of his speech
Sirisena spoke of the various development
activities in the area and all seemed fine.
Suddenly, he veered away from the niceties
and approached the allegations leveled
against him and his brother in an aggressive
manner. Basil could not believe what he was
Sirisena made a speech similar to that made
on an election platform - attacking the JVP
as well as everyone who had been connected
to the mud slinging campaign. Sirisena's
speech went down well with the audience and
there was much cheering right along. He in
detail revealed the alleged acceptance of
bribes by JVP members as well as money
collected by them from businessmen.
Sirisena kept looking at Basil while making
the speech and the significance of this was
not lost on the large crowd. "If anyone
decides to attack us politically it would be
well for them to remember that we too would
retaliate," Sirisena told the audience and
looked at Basil.
Not stopping at that, Sirisena proceeded to
take a swipe at Basil.
"When we carried the bodies of dead farmers
and when we, the SLFP fought on the roads,
where were these fellows? They were
urinating in their pants. Now they are
coming to teach us things," he said.
Sirisena referred to the era when the SLFP
was in the opposition for over 17 years. He
reminded the people of the hardships endured
by the SLFP members at the time. The
intention was of course to highlight the
fact that Basil had joined the UNP in 1982
and got a job through then Mahaweli Minister
Gamini Dissanayake and later left for the
United States as a green card holder.
When Sirisena went back to his seat after
the speech, Basil, who was visibly
uncomfortable, shook hands and said "good
"Good job Mr. Minister, that is how you must
respond to these fellows," he said.
Sirisena responded with a smile. "I just
started. There is still a lot to be done
with regard to this issue. These fellows
must be thinking we are fools and that we
are afraid of them. I will show these
fellows that we are not running scared," he
told a worried Rajapakse.
UNP's battle over transfer of Bribery Chief
The UNP Parliamentary Group met last
Thursday morning at the parliamentary
At the outset, Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe spoke on the issue of the
removal of the director general of the
"This is a very sad situation. The head of
the Bribery Commission was removed at a time
he was investigating in to alleged deals
involving certain ministers and high ranking
officials in the government. This is wrong.
It is an effort to halt the investigations
conducted into the allegations leveled
against government ministers," he said.
It was pointed out that President's
Secretary Lalith Weeratunga had summoned the
director general on Monday and demanded his
resignation stating the President wanted it.
It was further said that when the director
general had inquired whether there were any
charges against him, the President's
Secretary responded stating there was no
question about his integrity.
Wickremesinghe told the group meeting that
the following day the Director General
received transfer orders in violation of the
law since the director general was not in a
transferable service. He said the transfer
order was particularly suspicious as the
director general was investigating the MiG
deal and the COPE findings which were very
embarrassing to the government.
All members agreed that the party should
show its opposition to this high handed act.
Next, Wickremesinghe explained details about
the letter sent by the SLFP (M) Group
Coordinator, the late Sripathi
Sooriya-arachchi's wife, Dilrukshi to IGP
He said that it was the UNP's duty to look
into the letter sent by Dilrukshi to the IGP
questioning the investigation conducted into
the accident as well as its transparency.
A copy of the letter sent to the IGP was
also sent to Wickremesinghe and he explained
the details to the parliamentary group.
He said that the party needed to study the
investigation conducted into the accident
that killed Sooriyaarachchi.
A committee was thereafter appointed to look
into the investigation as well as into the
magistrate's inquiry. Parliamentarians John
Amaratunge and Lakshman Kiriella were called
by the Opposition Leader to look into the
Meanwhile, Mangala Samaraweera, Malik
Samarawickrama, Rukman Senanayake, Tissa
Attanayake and Lakshman Seneviratne met at
Ravi Karunanayake's residence last Tuesday
The meeting was to discuss details about the
party's national policy and vision
It was decided that proposals be called from
the general public as well. The national
policy is to be released during the second
week of March.
Doctors and leaders dominate govt. group
The Government Parliamentary Group met last
Monday at Temple Trees with President
Mahinda Rajapakse chairing the meeting.
The President was well prepared for the
meeting, but chose to address the gathering
in a light, casual manner.
During the meeting, one member raised a
question regarding Minister Mervyn Silva.
"Sir, there are reports that Mervyn is
resigning. What is the situation with regard
to that?" the member asked.
"Yes, that's right. Where's our Dr. Mervyn
Silva? It seems to me that he has not
attended today's meeting," the President
Chief Government Whip, Minister Jeyaraj
Fernandopulle responded, "Yes, sir, there
are various reports in the media. That he is
going to resign and join the Constitutional
Council. But sir, there are questions. Maybe
he has the qualifications to join the
Constitutional Council, but can he take up
such a position as a member of the SLFP."
The President responded keenly. "I do not
know about that. But Mervyn has not yet
given me his letter of resignation. However,
one day he spoke to me and said that instead
of appointing people of 70 and 80 years of
age, it would be good to appoint a young and
energetic doctor like him. He said he was
prepared to go to the Constitutional
Council. He said it in a serious manner. I
do not think he said it as a joke,"
The next to speak was Minister Mahinda
Ratnathileka who explained to everyone how
Silva received his doctorate.
"I was also there on the day our Mervyn
received his doctorate. It was Minister G.L.
Peiris who had to present it to him. But GL
came to me and said that he could not give
it and asked me to give it. He said it was a
great favour. Finally, it was I who
presented Mervyn with the doctorate," he
said amidst laughter. "Other people read
books and become doctors, this man read no
book and became one," added the President to
Speech in Greek
Thereafter, Minister Bandula Gunewardena
started to give a speech on economics with
the help of various graphs and documents. He
analysed on the country's economic situation
and the problems the country would have to
face. However, no one seemed to understood
what he was saying given the plethora of
numbers he was rattling off.
Finally, his former leader from the MEP,
Minister Dinesh Gunewardena had had enough.
"That does not matter. They are nothing but
numbers. You better say this in a language
that is understood by us or else it wouldn't
matter. People do not care about numbers as
it does not fill their stomachs. You have to
look at a practical solution."
Bandula who was shocked by Dinesh's
statement immediately said, "Yes,
Nayakathuma, that is what I also say."
No sooner Bandula Gunawardena referred to
Dinesh Gunawardena as 'Nayakathuma' the
members roared and the President was smiling
Responded the President, "Bandula, that is
why they say old habits die hard. See, you
finally called your former leader, the
JVP gives Wimal red notice over wife's
The JVP is now in the throes of an internal
conflict never witnessed since its inception
In 1971 and 1988-89, the JVP was
instrumental in launching two bloody
insurgencies that were termed as
However, today, the party is undergoing a
revolution of a different kind. The JVP that
was effectively marketed as the clean party
has now become a party marred by sex, lies
Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa is
well known for allegedly sexually harassing
a young girl; some members are known to
accept financial support from dubious
businessmen; and some wives of JVP leaders
lead luxurious lives, driving around in
vehicles worth over Rs. 4 million while the
party's ordinary membership leads a hand to
mouth existence. There are allegations that
some in the JVP are also involved in
securing arms deals for certain businessmen
while also helping others secure multi
million rupee tenders.
These activities of the JVP leadership have
now come out in the open and have been
highlighted by the media. Every effort by
the JVP to cover up its sins has been futile
due to the constant publicity given to the
party's double act.
Last week, the party leadership was
disturbed by the situation due to the
negative impact it had caused at the grass
root level. Reports received by the party
stated that the grass root level membership
was thoroughly disgruntled with the manner
in which the likes of Weerawansa and Sunil
Handunnetti have been acting. Therefore, it
was proposed that the party should launch an
anti government campaign with immediate
effect to deflect attention.
The reports had also revealed that the
recent campaign launched by the party
against the rising cost of living had been
an utter failure.
A special politburo meeting was summoned
last week to decide on the measures to be
adopted to counter the adverse propaganda as
well as the growing dissension against the
After a lengthy discussion, it was decided
to summon the party membership for a series
of public meetings to be held at district
level. It was also decided that the anti
Indian stance should be implemented once
again. During the 1988-1989 insurgency it
was this very same stance that killed over
60,000 youth in the south.
The belief of the party leadership was that
it would be easier to garner support for an
anti-Indian protest rather than one against
the Western world.
Accordingly, it was decided to first hold a
series of meetings at district level and
then at electoral level and then to call for
a boycott of Indian products.
The protests are to kick off with the
party's opposition to the 13th Amendment and
then to bring out the party's alternative
proposals on the devolution of power. A
special committee comprising of
intellectuals attached to the party was also
formed. It is learnt that the proposals
would include the local government
authorities as well.
The next matter taken up for discussion was
the possibility of President Mahinda
Rajapakse dissolving parliament and calling
a general election.
Reports received by the party revealed that
the security forces will take at least one
and half years to capture the Wanni area.
Confirmation of the report came with the
President too voicing such a view in an
interview to an Indian newspaper. Hence, the
government it is learnt has changed its
initial stance of going for an election at
the completion of the military campaign and
was considering an election before that.
The JVP leadership believed that there was a
possibility of an election once the
government managed to clear at least part of
Therefore, it was decided to look at the
possible issues that could be taken up for
an election campaign and also ways to
minimise the negative media publicity.
At the end of the meeting, it was decided to
severely warn Weerawansa and his wife over
their behaviour. The party leadership had
asked Weerawansa to ensure that his wife
stopped behaving in a manner detrimental to
the party and had warned that if such
behaviour were to continue, the party would
have to take a tough decision against
Weerawansa. The JVP leadership had also
decided to summon Weerawansa's wife to the
party headquarters to warn her as well.