Weerakkody reminds parliament of Ranil’s murky past

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By Saman Indrajith 

When former President Chandrika Bandaranaike  Kumaratunga presented a constitutional amendment as a solution to the ethnic problem, the UNP led by Ranil Wickremesinghe had torn it into pieces and burnt it in Parliament, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Chandima Weerakkody said in Parliament on Wednesday.

“Now, he is saying he wants to find a solution to the ethnic problem. He can come here and make statements but people watching from their homes have a hard time believing his sincerity. People think of Parliament as a rogues’ gallery. Schoolchildren are paying Rs 6,500 for a schoolbag and Rs. 5,000 a pair of shoes. But MPs talk about issues they face. About houses set on fire and their privileges. We are trying to hold on to power,” he said.

The President and his supporters must be democratic, Weerakkody said, the democratic rights of the people are exercised mainly through elections. Postponing elections would have devastating consequences on the country, he said.

“It will also be bad for the government. Whenever a government delays elections, people tend to vote the opposition into power. The Sirimavo Bandaranaike government postponed elections in 1975. In 1977, the party was reduced to a handful of seats. The Yahapalana government delayed local council elections which were to be held in 2015. In 2018, when the local council elections were held, the SLPP won by a landslide,” he said.

The people of the country have rejected the government and the government is arresting leaders of anti-government protests, Weerakkody said. If there are political parties that are egging on people during the anti-government protests, it is up to the people to reject them, he said.

“However, it’s not up to the government to hound out young people who lead the people. This will not solve anything. If the President wants to solve any of the crises we are faced with, he has to do more to convince the people. President Wickremesinghe was not elected by the people; he was in fact rejected by the people in 2020. He must understand the challenge he faces. The President must first show us that he is sincere. The President was supported by 134 MPs a few months ago. Now it’s down to 121. Even the people who brought him in are losing faith,” he said.

The MP said that if the government was sincere about helping the people and bringing people friendly proposals, all opposition political parties will support them. Weerakkody said even without debt servicing Sri Lanka is struggling to buy essentials, and that showed how grave the economic crisis was.

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