No Response To MR’s Calls
The President had made several official telephone calls to ministers on the 15th morning, but none of them had answered their phones.
Some ministers have not answered their telephones while some others have asked other officials to respond to the President’s calls.
Finally, the President had inquired from his officials as to why the ministers were not answering his telephone calls. He had then been informed that most of the government ministers were scared of the transit of the planet Saturn on the 15th and expected bad incidents to take place that day.
Therefore, the ministers had been purposely avoiding him in fear of getting scolded at the time of Saturn’s transit.
The President had then laughed it off and participated in a tree planting ceremony organised by the Environment Ministry.
Wimal’s Behaviour Upsets Govt. Seniors
National Freedom Front(NFF) Leader and Housing and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa is now playing truant within the government.
Weerawansa’s latest antics have somehow irked President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has asked several senior government members to keep a close watch on him.
Feeling sidelined due to the rejection of several Cabinet papers presented by him Weerawansa has not attended several Cabinet meetings in the last month.
However, it was Weerawansa’s decision to boycott the vote on the legislation on under performing and under utilised assets that has made senior government members including the President realise that all was not well.
The criticism levelled against the legislation presented by the government by the NFF and the Jathika Hela Urumaya(JHU) and the decision to abstain from voting for the bill in parliament caused a huge stir within the government ranks.
NFF sources say that the President has expressed his displeasure at Weerawansa’s actions.
Weerawansa on the other hand is now trying to build an image for himself while being part of the government in order to further his political career. After learning of the President’s displeasure over his actions, he has decided to remain silent for a while.
RW Supported Govt.’s Commonwealth Bid
Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has once again supported the government and this time for the much debated bid pushed by the government to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The irony is that Wickremesinghe had supported the Games that were being criticised by a majority of his party legislators and members as an endeavour that would cripple the country’s economy.
Central Bank Governor and Co-chairman of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Bid Committee, Ajith Nivard Cabraal took the liberty of even including Wickremesinghe’s letter to the Commonwealth Games Committee extending his support to host the games in Sri Lanka in a slide show that was shown to the media last week.
Cabraal told the media of the government’s attempt to win the 2018 Commonwealth Games for Sri Lanka and said even the opposition had supported the cause.
Wickremesinghe in his letter had stated that the main opposition UNP would continue with the Commonwealth Games if Sri Lanka won the bid and if it were to be held under a UNP government.
JVP To Commence Agitation Campaigns
The JVP politburo that met last Wednesday (16) has decided to organizs islandwide protest campaigns through both the trade union and youth wings against the government’s move to sell state resources to foreign investors for cheap and the failure to address concerns over the rising cost of living.
The JVP leaders have said the government would not be able to grant any relief to the public even in the 2012 budget since the increase in fuel prices has had a cascading effect on the economy.
The party has decided to take the lead in the protest campaigns before the other opposition parties.
Moves To Prop-Up Namal
The Youth Wing of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is to undergo some major changes, much to the displeasure of senior SLFP members.
SLFP seniors say that the move to re-organise the youth wing is an attempt by the President to build an organisation that would help the political career of parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa.
The Vice President of the SLFP Youth Wing, Deputy Minister Duminda Dissanayake is to be replaced by a member represented in parliament and closely associated to young Rajapaksa.
The post of the vice president in organisations affiliated to the SLFP play a key role since the holder of the post is the de facto leader of the organisation. The head of the SLFP, in this case, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is the President of all SLFP affiliated organisations.
Due to the important role played by the vice presidents of the organisations, they are also given a slot in the SLFP Central Committee.
The vice president of the youth wing is therefore a member of the party’s Central Committee.
With Dissanayake’s removal, he would lose his position in the party’s Central Committee as well.
However, the Deputy Minister has maintained that he has requested to resign from the post in order to make way for another young party member to take over.
Senior SLFP members maintain that the Rajapaksas were trying to gain control of the Central Committee by strategically replacing traditional SLFP members with defectors from the opposition and those affiliated to the party leadership.
Nevertheless, members of the SLFP youth wing observe that the party needed to play attention to the organisation since more focus is being paid to Namal Rajapaksa’s Tharunyata Hetak.
“The SLFP youth wing has become inactive due to the promotion of Tharunyata Hetak and it has become the unofficial youth wing of the SLFP,” a SLFP youth wing member said.
SLFP CC To Get Tough With LG Members
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee (CC) that met last week decided to get tough with the governing party members in the local government bodies.
The CC had discussed at length about the actions of the governing party Local Government(LG) members who did not follow party orders and acted in violation of the party principles. Focus had been on the defeat of the governing UPFA’s first budget after the formation of the Dodangoda Pradeshiya Sabha a few days earlier.
The budget of the Dodangoda Pradeshiya Sabha received six votes in favour and seven votes against it. Two members of the UPFA voted against the budget together with four members of the UNP and an independent councilor.
In another instance, governing party members of the Embilipitiya Urban Council boycotted the first two sessions of the Council until the UPFA leaders intervened and warned the members of strict disciplinary action.
The President has asked that warning letters to be sent to the UPFA members who had voted against the budget in the Dodangoda Pradeshiya Sabha.
The CC has also decided to organise a workshop for the newly elected governing party local government members to educate them on the party discipline, the Constitution an action that would be taken if they violate party directives.