Pulling the wool - S.B. style | Daily News


Pulling the wool - S.B. style

Messrs S.B. Dissanayake and Dilan Perera, two defeated SLFP candidates at the last General Election who entered Parliament thanks to the munificence of President Maithripala Sirisena, via the National List, and therefore qualified to be called ‘pin manthri’ (Dilan P. had the audacity to call Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who obtained over 500,000 preference votes ‘pin agamethi’), have made a serious allegation against Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Duminda Dissanayake.

Addressing a media conference in Colombo the duo claimed that both ministers had urged President Sirisena to get the police to disrupt Wednesday's janabalaya demonstration by attacking the protestors, but the President, in contrast, had given orders to the IGP to restrain his men from any such action.

Why it took the two MPs over five days to come out with such an allegation is confounding indeed. Besides, one would have expected the more vociferous among the JO stalwarts such as Wimal Weerawansa or Udaya Gammanpila to have been the ones to make this revelation with the attendant theatrics. Is it that the duo have thought of upstaging the more loquacious among the JO spokesmen, while at the same time shamelessly continuing to remain as National List MPs in which capacity they once held ministerial office in the Government of President Maithripala Sirisena.

The fact remains that the 16 renegades of the SLFP have been placed in an embarrassing position following the unmitigated disaster that was the much heralded janabalaya kolambata circus, both, in terms of the crowd participation and the duplicitous conduct of the leaders of the protest headed by Namal Rajapaksa who was shown on television relaxing in the super luxury comfort of a Five Star hotel while the ‘yakkos’ (Hoi Polloi) were roasting in the sweltering heat. Or was the attempt of the duo a diversionary tactic to detract from the wild scenes of inebriation, clownish acts of the participants and the thovil dances which were at odds with the raison d’ etre of the protest - the “high cost of living, sale of national assets, division of the country and witch-hunts against the war heroes” etc.

S.B. Dissanayake also claimed that the single slogan in unison chanted by the protestors was for installing a Government under Mahinda Rajapaksa's Premiership. Dissanayake, who still claims to be in the Sirisena camp, perhaps has lost sight of the fact that it was his leader, President Sirisena, who effectively put the brakes on Rajapaksa becoming Prime Minister by informing the voters in no uncertain terms, that he would not make the former President the PM even in the event of a UPFA/SLFP victory.

At the same media briefing Dissanayake also gave reasons for the 16 SLFP ministers and MPs quitting the Government and listed the wrongs committed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe which hastened their departure. In his view among the ‘sins’ committed by the Premier was allegedly facilitating the Central Bank bond issue through the appointment of Arjuna Mahendran as CB Governor, over the protest of President Sirisena. There was also the high cost of living, the breakdown of law and order, corruption, mismanagement, thefts and the Premier breaking with tradition and vesting the Central Bank under his own Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs.

To begin with, news of the alleged bond issue first broke out in February 2015 and thereafter in April of the same year, a full four months prior to the General Election, held in August. During that time JO stalwarts such as Bandula Gunawardena and Udaya Gammanpila went to town with the revelation, their chief target being Premier Wickremesinghe. Both S. B. Dissanayake and Dilan Perera, certainly, could not have been unaware of the whole affair and the accusations levelled against the Prime Minister on the matter.

Yet, both Dissanayake and Perera had no qualms about consenting to being admitted to parliament, from the backdoor, after losing at the hustings, and joining the Unity Government in which the Prime Minister was none other than Ranil Wickremesinghe, who according to the JO was the at the centre of the whole bond issue. Neither did their stomachs turn when they sat alongside Premier Wickremesinghe at Cabinet meetings and hobnobbed with him at Government functions.

The Prime Minister suddenly became the bad guy only after the February 10 LG election where the pohottuwa recorded a sweeping victory relegating the SLFP to third place after the UNP. Suddenly, wisdom dawned on the likes of Dissanayake and Perera that they could not remain in the Government with Ranil as Prime Minister when it was all too clear to even a political novice that the Premier was only being used as a scapegoat by the SLFP dissidents to secure their political future, by opting to join the Rajapaksa camp.

All the real or imagined harm , attributed to Ranil Wickremesinghe did not come by suddenly after Feb.10 but were very much part of the scene when Dissanayaka and Perera were ministers in the Yahapalanaya Government for a full two and a half years before that. 

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