100-day programme Drafted by panel of eminent persons

Published : 9:10 am  June 7, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (151) reads | 
  • “election campaign would have prevented MS from studying it in depth”

 

LATE-CITY-DM-4By Sandun A Jayasekera

Cabinet Spokesman and Minister, Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday the unity government’s 100-day programme was drafted by a panel of eminent persons during the 2015 presidential election campaign.

 

He said President Maithripala Sirisena might not have had an opportunity of studying it in depth because he was involved in a vital propaganda campaign.  


The minister, commenting on the remarks made by the President recently on the 100-day programme said what he actually meant was that he did not have the time to discuss this programme with the committee members or constituent partners of the United National Front because of his busy schedule.  


He said former president Mahinda Rajapaksa had returned to Carlton in Hambantota and Basil had fled the country to US and that there was no hurry to announce immediate parliamentary polls by the morning of January 9, 2015. It was against this background that the President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe agreed to the 100-day programme.   


Responding to journalists at yesterday’s Cabinet news briefing, the minister said the joint opposition was in disarray and the splits within the JO and SLPP were getting worse by the day.  


Journalist: 


There are media reports that the cracks are kept widening within the JO and SLPP. Are you happy as a front-liner of the yahapalana government?  


Minister:


Not really. Our focus is on the reorganization and strengthening of the UNF to successfully face the forthcoming PC, presidential and general elections. I have heard that the JO meeting called by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was not attended by many of the JO leaders like Dinesh Gunawardana.   


Journalist: 


Media reports say the candidacy of Gotabaya Rajapaksa to run for the presidency in 2020 has not been accepted by many like Vasudeva Nanayakkara.  


Minister: 


Yes, we must unite all like-minded politicians and political parties under one roof to ensure our victory.  


Journalist: 


Both, the President and the Prime Minister have hinted on their candidacy for the presidential poll in 2020. On whose side are you?  


Minister: 


My mission is to unite the SLFP and the UNP and the two leaders. We must select either of them for the presidential polls in 2020 to ensure our victory. Divisions mean disaster.  


Journalist: 


The people, the politicians and the media are questioning the sustainability of the unity government after the negative remarks made by the President on the government’s 100-day programme and giving helicopters to Mahinda and his family to go home on January 9, 2015. Where and when is this going to end?  


Minister:


Don’t worry. The yahapalana government is as strong as ever. The differences and arguments are common in any coalition. You may remember that the coalition governments under Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in 1956 and Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1960 faced more serious problems. The splits in 50s ultimately led to the assassination of Mr. Bandaranaike. In comparison to them the differences in this government are negligible.  


Journalist: 


Are you confident that the yahapalana government will complete its entire term of office until 2020.   


Minister:


Yes, indeed.   


Minister Gayantha Karunatilaka:


Not only up to 2020 but beyond it.  


Journalist: 


The UNP won the vote held to elect a deputy speaker on Tuesday in Parliament. Your comments?  


Minister: 


That victory reflects the true political situation in the country and whom the people are with. The parliamentary tradition in Sri Lanka up to now is to elect the Speaker and the Deputy from the government side and chairman of committees by the opposition. When the deputy speakers’ post fell vacant, the SLFP proposed its Jaffna district MP Angajan Ramanathan for the post but the TNA opposed. Then after the Prime Minister proposed the name of Ananda Kumarasiri for the post and President Sirisena proposed Sudharshini Fernandopulle’s name. But Mr. Wickremesinghe said the UNP had already proposed Mr. Kumarasiri’s name and therefore the UNP could not support Dr. Fernandopulle. That is why a ballot was held and UNP’s Mr. Kumarasiri won with a big margin which indicates the strength of the UNP. 

 
Journalist: 


Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran and PC member Sivajilingam have launched an agitation campaign in support of the LTTE. Is there no one in the government to shut the mouths of these two terrorists?  


Minister Senaratne:


These people live on racism and extremism. They don’t know or have no confidence in democratic methods to win their demands.   


Journalist:


Why is the government not taking action against their racist utterances? 

 
Minister:


We must enact the law banning hate speech. There were attempts to introduce this law but it was not successful.  

 

 

What he actually meant was that he did not have the time to discuss this programme with the committee members