11 May, Volume 9, Issue 43

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Lessons in co-existence

While members from both sides were debating with daggers drawn, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse took off in a helicopter to Hikkaduwa to attend the funeral of former UNP Parliamentarian Sarath Gunawardena.

Another helicopter flew UNP bigwigs Minister Karu Jayasuriya and Party Chairman Malik Samarawickrema. 

The chopper landed at the Sri Sumangala National School Grounds in Hikkaduwa. Wickremesinghe, who  avoided participating in the debate was seen  talking to students and teachers along with Rajapakse. Lessons on co-existence for the lady perhaps!

A sequel to high tech love thoughts

The 'nut' last week about legislators in love seems to have been taken in good spirit. The lady concerned was present in parliament, bright and shining and intently listening to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as he made a statement on the temporary suspension of the  peace process.

Soon, some  young government members were seen approaching the lady. All had their mobile telephones in hand. The story last week was about her high tech romance with a fellow MP and how they sent text messages to each other during the UNF's May Day celebrations.

And her curious colleagues had  inquiries to make, ranging from the truth of the matter reported in The Sunday Leader (which she denied) to the vital question - if politicians otherwise fail to make their mark, should they at least try having a  tryst to ensure page one publicity. What a nutty affair!

The Katana wedding

Saying 'I do' with much fanfare last week was the UNP's enfant terrible Olitha Premathiratne.

The MP who is infamous for his repeated  strong arm tactics and police station hi -jinks, wed at the Hilton last Wednesday at a grand ceremony.

Attending the nuptials was the other man from the same constituency, Katana Pulle, the PA's Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. Some guests wanted to know if Fernandopulle had opted to live abroad, going by his high level of  absenteeism. " It happens to all, from time to time," said the MP. Perhaps food for thought for the new groom with a penchant for going berserk!

Getting derailed, PA style 

UNP Spokesman Gayantha Karunathileke wanted to board the parliament lift. The lift was already crowded with a group of JVP members and the PA's Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. " Is there any space left in this bus?" queried Karunathileke, and the JVPers shuffled around and invited him in.

The PA's Yapa was heading towards the chambers located on the second floor. But the lift  went up to the third floor. As he descended the stairs, the JVP's  Bimal Ratnayake noted gravely," Nothing about them (the PA) is as they say. They want to proceed in one direction, and land elsewhere. Just like the lift episode."  Perky Karunathileke quickly rejoined with, " It is only the UNP that reaches destinations".

'Year Of Life,' is it?

Is it time to train parliamentarians in maintaining peace, with  so many running amok breaking into police stations, and others unable to contain themselves even during a debate? The National Peace Council is currently holding a photographic ex- hibition entitled  `The Year Of Life' depicting the devastation caused by war; thought provoking and full of human interest.

But those manning the exhibit tell us less than 20 legislators have dropped by to even have a cursory look.  No wonder devastation of all sorts continue.  

MPs coalition against scribes

Remember the lady who braved bad weather when the police began digging into the Suriyakanda soil in search of skeletal remains of JVP youth allegedly killed by government order during the height of  the 1988-1989 JVP insurgency?

The lady, Pavithra Vanniarachchi was recently in a mood to share some candid thoughts with  legislators from both the government and opposition ranks. She felt that there were too many reports in the media probing into the private lives of politicians.

"We might laugh a little when stories originally break and derive  pleasure if the member is from the opposing side. But there has to be an end to this, and we should be working together to show that journalists don't rule, but governments do," she told some off her junior colleagues.

What a gem of a thought, said most legislators who fear that there is too much media scrutiny right now. Did anyone say that public life invited and merited 100% transparency and scrutiny? 

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