New dawn after New Year | Daily News

New dawn after New Year

It appears that the Yahapalanya government is set for a new beginning in the New Year, now that it is cleansed of all the elements that fouled the atmosphere, causing a huge stumbling block for the forward journey of the government. That it is poised to turn a new leaf and chart a fresh course will, no doubt, be welcomed by all those civil society groups and the rest who put their shoulders to the wheel to bring about the January 8 revolution, three years ago.

Speaking at a ceremony in Thalapathpitiya, on Thursday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the SLFP and UNP ministers will put their heads together and come up with a new programme for the government, shortly. He said, two ministerial groups from both the parties held discussions on the way ahead for the government on Wednesday night in the aftermath of the defection of 16 SLFP members. “The SLFP ministers met the President prior to this meeting. We discussed on forging ahead with a new programme. I expect that we will receive it very soon so that we can go forward based on it”, the Premier said.

Speaking to this newspaper, UPFA General Secretary Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said the meeting between the two groups was centred on evolving a common agenda for the government, rectifying the shortcomings in the past. Importantly, he said it was emphasized at the meeting that they would have one leadership and one programme if they are to govern together. “There must be transparency and both parties must be kept in the loop,” the minister said. He also said that a committee comprising members of both parties would be appointed to finalize the common policy framework agreed to by both parties.

It is also learnt that this committee would be chaired by Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, which bodes well for the success of the joint programme. To begin with, Dr. Amunugama was a former topnotch civil servant, and, though a SLFP minister, is known to profess liberal views and is a firm follower of the open economy, naturally having his apprenticeship in the UNP under JRJ, one would have thought. Thus he is certain not to dismiss out of hand, polices centred on the open economy, like the likes of Susil Premajayantha were wont to do, when drafting the new programme. The socialist economic policies of the SLFP was even discarded by CBK, who, no doubt, took a pragmatic view of things. Regrettably though, some in the Blue party still cling to the old shibboleths, perhaps to win favour with the rural voters which form the primary base of the SLFP.

Be that as it may, the new journey thus chartered by the unity government, hopefully, will not only bring new life and galvanize all sectors into action, but will also see a resurgence in the somewhat moribund state of affairs in government, brought about by political uncertainty. It was clearly apparent that the government was in a state of drift, particularly after the LG polls outcome, and the state apparatus virtually paralyzed, with officials reluctant to take decisions that would compromise them, resulting in chaos in the administration.

The government has a full two years to complete and it should not lose time in getting its act together, now that it has a cohesive unit to pilot its programme of work. Not just on the development front. There are still a host of pledges that are outstanding, the non implantation for which the unity government was given a resounding slap on February 10. Dealing with the crooks in the Rajapaksa government should be given priority, at least now. Here too there is the all too familiar stagnation that has been the hallmark of this government during the last three years, the upshot of all this being those involved in mega corruption taking holier than postures, going to the extent of even openly challenging the government.

Hopefully, the New Year would see a new dawn for the Yahapalanaya government, completely dispelling all bitterness and rancour among the ranks of the partners in the coalition paving the way for the work to get started in all earnest, with the President and Prime Minister leading the way.

Cat out of the bag?

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is fond of engineering loads of visitors to descend on his ancestral home, Carlton every New Year’s day and this time too was no exception. An assorted group of well wishers were seen packed into the Rajapaksa abode, as shown on a private TV channel (Of course there was the unmistakable presence of JO MPs). A new element was added this year with groups of artistes too paying homage to the former President at his ancestral home in far away Tangalle, among them disabled actors and those very much in the evening of their lives, which makes one wonder if they made the trip on their own volition. However, the standout among the visitors were a group of parents of anti-SAITM students, who, while partaking of the Avurudu feast, brought up the subject of SAITM before MR.

Was this an indication of who was behind the protests?


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