“Ashamed” Of Ranil
The first few days of the parliamentary proceedings last week were mainly focused on the UNP’s protest in the Chamber holding placards with the words “shame” during the budget speech.
The UNP lawmakers and the governing party lawmakers were engaged in friendly banter in the parliament lobby, discussing the incidents during the budget speech.
Several young UNP lawmakers have said the UNP made a strong point by protesting during the budget. A UPFA deputy minister however caught the UNPers off guard when he said, “Don’t lie, you guys were holding the placards with the word “shame” against your party leader.” The deputy minister had continued to say, “While all of you held the placards, it was only Ranil Wickremasinghe who remained seated without holding one.”
The UNP MPs had tried to deny that, but the governing members have all started making fun by saying, “So now the UNP has to come to parliament to show everyone that they are ashamed of their leader.”
“We support Ranil and that is why the government members had to come forward and ensure that Ranil is safeguarded,” the deputy minister had quipped.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has recorded yet another failure in attempting to get Minister Wimal Weerawansa and Kaduwela Mayor G. H. Buddhadasa to bury the hatchet.
Weerawansa and Buddhadasa have been at loggerheads since the last local government elections where they even went public making critical remarks against each other.
The conflict resulted in a split between UPFA members in Kaduwela. Buddhadasa however emerged victorious at the elections.
The President since then has made several attempts to get the two politicians to forgive and forget.
Rajapaksa a few weeks back during a tree planting ceremony organised by the Environment Ministry made the latest attempt.
Seeing Weerawansa and Buddhadasa maintaining a safe distance between each other, the President had called Buddhadasa to his side.
After exchanging pleasantries with him, the President had asked Buddhadasa to speak to Weerawansa who was also standing next to the President.
Buddhadasa had rejected the President’s request saying that he would have nothing to do with the likes of Weerawansa.
After hearing Buddhadasa’s response, Weerawansa had made his way out of the ceremony after telling the President that he would see him later in the day during another state event.
An Angry President To Crack The Whip
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to get tough with governing party local government members who had voted against the budgets presented in several bodies by the UPFA.
Rajapaksa is angry that some UPFA councillors had failed to tow the party line even after party Secretary, Minister Susil Premajayantha had sent warning letters to them.
Premajayantha sent warning letters to the errant councillors and the heads of the LG bodies headed by the UPFA saying all members should follow the party stance and not violate the party Constitution.
The Secretary vowed strict action against the local government members who violate the party’s code of ethics.
However, a few days after the letters were sent to the local government members, the UPFA’s budget presented to the Dodangoda Pradeshiya Sabha was defeated for the second consecutive time.
An angry President had inquired as to why the UPFA budget was defeated in Dodangoda for the second time.
The UPFA is to now begin disciplinary action against the “errant” members.
Several government ministers however have said that while the UPFA budgets are being defeated in the local government bodies, the national budget presented by the President has also drawn flak from political parties to civil society organisations and the public.
Basil Under Fire
The unemployed graduates are an angry bunch due to the government’s failure to grant them employment as promised.
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa had earlier this year promised thousands of employment opportunities to the unemployed graduates. However, the 2012 budget proposals have failed to make the required allocations for the purpose.
The Combined Associations of Unemployed Graduates charge that they had been promised 14,500 jobs under Basil’s Jana Sabha programme and 30,000 jobs as development officers.
Although the President in the budget commended Basil’s Divi Neguma programme, thousands of unemployed graduates have waged war against him.