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Erstwhile comrade urges Anura Kumara, Tilvin to quit like Ranil

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by Shamindra Ferdinando

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) National List nominee Mohommed Muzammil yesterday (11) said that JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and General Secretary Tilvin Silva, too, should quit in the wake of the latest electoral debacle.

Pointing out UNP Chief Ranil Wickremesinghe, at last quit the party leadership having accepted responsibility for the worst ever defeat suffered under his leadership, Muzammil urged the JVPers to follow Wickremesinghe’s example.

Muzammil who represents the breakaway JVP faction, the National Freedom Front (NFF) has been accommodated on the SLPP National List in terms of the agreement between the two parties.

Addressing the media at the Pita Kotte party office, Muzammil said that the JVP leader and its General Secretary should be ashamed to continue in their positions after the party was reduced to three lawmakers, including one National List member after virtually co-habiting with the previous UNP led regime.

The JVP group in the last parliament comprised six members, including two National List MPs.

The JVP leader and its General Secretary owed an explanation to those who genuinely loved and respected the party.

Muzammil said that he was among the 39 member strong JVP group in parliament (2004-2010). Having contested on the UPFA ticket, 39 JVPers were elected to parliament; Muzammil recalled adding that in terms of JVP-UPFA agreement, the party received five National List slots. “We gave up two slots willingly as the UPFA faced difficulty in accommodating some of those who had been left out of the original list,” Muzammil said. The incumbent JVP leader and its General Secretary had weakened the party so much it ended up with just three members in parliament.

The JVP contested under Jathika Jana Balavegaya (JJB).

Muzammil pointed out that the SLPP was able to submit its National List nominees to the Election Commission soon after the issuance of preferential votes. Of the 29 National List slots available, the SLPP received 17 slots. Muzammil said that both the JVP and the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) were yet to decide on their National List nominees at the time the media briefing was held.

He said that the parliament was going to meet on August 20 without Ranil Wickremesinghe who had been there since 1977. The former JVPer pointed out that the UNP had finally realized funding sources and international backing were immaterial if the voting public deserted a political party.

Declaring that the UNP had been politically dead, Muzammil pointed out that Sajith Premadasa’s SJB, too, should be seriously concerned as of those 5.5 mn who had voted for Premadasa at the presidential election only 2.8 exercised their franchise at the parliamentary poll.

The NFF fielded 12 contestants on the SLPP ticket. Of them, five were elected (Wimal Weerawansa/Colombo, Jayantha Sanaraweera/Kalutara, Nimal Piyatissa/Nuwara Eliya, Gamini Waleboda/Ratnapura and Uddika Premaratne/Anuradhapura). In addition to them, NFF secured one National List slot (Mohommed Muzammil).

In the last parliament, the NFF group comprised five members. Of them, Weerakumara Dissanayake a few years ago switched his allegiance to then President Maithripala Sirisena.

Dissanayake failed in his bid to retain his seat on the SLPP ticket.

Muzammil said that in spite of challenges, the NFF certainly did better than at the last general election.

Pointing out that the NFF was deprived of a National List slot at the 2015 general election; the deft debater in Sinhala said that those who had been engaged in trickery learnt an unforgettable lesson in 2020. Serious setback suffered by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the Northern and Eastern regions also proved beyond doubt that the vast majority of people were not interested in communal politics. The political environment was rapidly changing and it would be only a matter of time, destructive elements were eradicated, politically.

 



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Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.

The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.

NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.

Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.

The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.

MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.

The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.

Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.

The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.

In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.

Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.

Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.

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PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs

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A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.

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Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture

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Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.

The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.

FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

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