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Government Gazette

Finally, the CMC turned blue...

The public viewed several episodes of the Colombo Municipal Council drama from May this year. First it was the ‘tippexing’ episode of the UNP nomination list that was finally rejected by the Elections Commissioner. Next was the inclusion of an underaged youth in that list. The third was the Independent Group 3 episode where the UNP heavily backed candidates on that list with the hope that winners would resign to pave the way for UNPers to enter the Council. Next came the episode of the Independent Group 3 victory and the hide and seek game of the Mayor elect and some members of the winners. The final episode was this week when the CMC turned blue after fifty years.

The CMC was viewed by the UNP as its’ heart. In 1973 when J.R.Jayewardene became the leader of the UNP, he told his deputy R. Premadasa, the stalwart from Colombo Central that the party should not lose control of the CMC at anytime as it was the ‘heart’ of the UNP. Premadasa too knew that if the UNP was to be alive in Colombo, the CMC was the most important machinery. Contrary to this belief, the UNP controlled the CMC over the past few years operated in a different style. There were factions in such administrations. When the polls were called in May this year, clashes between UNPers became visible. That led to the downfall of the UNP in the CMC.

The Independent Group 3 won. They were backed by the UNP. But after the victory, UNP politicos attempted to gain control over the elected members of this group. Once the leader of the group went missing. When he surfaced, the Mayor elect went missing. It was high drama in the city. The UNP knows well as to who was behind this ‘disappearance’-’reappearance’ drama. The man responsible was also instrumental in the ‘tippexing’ episode. While this drama was in full swing after the CMC poll, the ratepayers were totally neglected. Garbage piled up day by day. More unauthorised structures came up. The Mayor looked a ‘puppet’ as he was being controlled by a UNP politico from outside. In the midst of this, former UNP strongman, Sirisena Cooray was at his best to make a come back as Mayor by pressurising the new Mayor to resign.

Viewing and witnessing all this fun, the Opposition Leader, Vasudeva Nanayakkara operated in his own inimitable style. He did not want to see the downfall or the ouster of the three-wheel driver turned Mayor. True to his form, Vasudeva and his opposition members extended their fullest support to the Mayor. Vasu, a democrat never wanted to pull down the democratically elected Independent Group 3. The Mayor and his men were convinced by the conduct of the opposition led by Vasudeva. That was when Vasu launched the confidence building process to help the Mayor for the benefit of the city. In the end, the UNP politico from the city and Cooray realised that all their plans have failed. They,then moved to ask for a dissolution of the council.But it was too late. By then the Mayor and his men were working as a team with the opposition. This was not to the liking of the UNPers who backed the Mayor at the polls.

Though hailing from the lower middle class segment of the society, the Mayor, Uvais Imitiyaz displayed interest to do a job for the ratepayers.

This week, his deputy, Rajendran sought a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He met the President with all the ‘spectacled elephants’ in his camp. The meeting was to inform the President that the Independent Group 3 had reposed their faith and confidence in the “Mahinda Chinthanaya”. They all wanted to join the SLFP. The President welcomed them. Hours later, the Mayor too met the President and pledged his support. Now the ruling party and the opposition in the CMC is all blue. The timely move by the Mayor and his men has helped the country. If not for that move, another election could have been inevitable. Certainly that would have been a waste of public funds and a burden on the Treasury. The CMC drama is now over. After fifty long years the CMC has turned ‘all blue’ without a single ‘green’. The ‘spectacled elephants’ who administer the CMC could do a vibrant job as the President had blessed them with his fullest support to make the City of Colombo a clean city in the South Asian region as the first move. The CMC, once the ‘heart’ of the UNP is now beyond a ‘bypass’ surgery. The end cause could be cardiac respiratory failure.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Sri Lanka

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