Hashan's wife gets SLFP membership from Namal
Former Sri Lanka cricket captain turned politician Hashan
Tillakaratne has always been a non-controversial character, be it in his
playing days as a cricketer or as a politician. He has always played his
role to the perfection without making a big noise to gain the attraction
But his charming wife, popular television presenter Apsari Singhabahu
Tillakaratne dropped a bombshell at the very beginning of the 2014
Provincial Council election campaign. National cricket selector Hashan
was in Kandy, keeping a close eye on the performance of the Sri Lanka
youth cricketers, when his wife decided to make a crucial political
It took everyone by storm when Apsari climbed the UPFA stage when her
cousin brother and millionaire businessmen Ajith Subasinghe launched his
campaign at Gothatuwa New Town on Wednesday under the patronage of
parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa. Apsari obtained SLFP membership from
Namal, much to the delight to the UPFA supporters who warmly welcomed
the former Sri Lanka rugby captain and the founder of the Tharunyata
Several parliamentarians, including Colombo District MP and former
Sri Lanka cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala, were on stage when Apsari
obtained SLFP membership from Namal. Thilanga, who has been a close
friend of Tillakaratne family since his playing days, greeted Apsari for
her bold decision and extended support for the candidature of
But Hashan's wife had to face numerous questions from media and UNP
supporters in Piliyandala and Avissawella areas where the former Sri
Lanka captain has been actively involved in UNP politics. Apsari said
she joined the UPFA to support her close relative.
She may have had other reasons to do so as UNP has not given the due
recognition to Hashan who had successfully contested the last Western
Provincial Council under the UNP ticket. In 2005, Hashan was made UNP's
joint organiser of the Avissawella electorate with Sagara Senaratne. In
2010, he was forced to resign and later called for interviews for a
fresh organiser post. But a top Colombo UNP stalwart has been blocking
Hashan for obvious reasons.
Though Hashan was promised Ratmalana electorate, it was later given
to Srinath Perera, totally underestimating the contribution made by the
former Sri Lanka captain. Hence, he decided not to contest the 2014
Western Provincial Council elections in disgust.
Though Hashan had not informed this to the party, none of the UNP
leaders, except Karu Jayasuriya, even had courtesy to inquire from
Hshan, as a sitting PC member, whether he is seeking re-election.
Neither the UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe nor the
party's Colombo District leader Ravi Karunanayake had asked Hashan
whether he would be contesting the Western Provincial Council elections.
It was under such a scenario that Apsari accepted the SLFP membership
from Namal last week. It could perhaps be an indication that Hashan too
is likely to join the SLFP shortly with the hope of contesting the next
general election under the UPFA ticket.
Muzza is Gota's man, alleges Ranil
The traditional Nawam maha perahera of Gangaramaya, Hunupitiya began
on Friday night under the patronage of the Chief incumbent of the temple
Ven. Galaboda Ganissara Thera and President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The
President placed the casket containing the relics on the tusker at the
commencement of annual Navam Maha Perahera.
The President was seated between the Opposition leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe and Mayor of Colombo M.J.M. Muzzamil. They got an
opportunity to have a brief pow wow during the proceedings.
After sharing a few words with Ranil and Muzzamil, the President
turned to Ranil and said that Colombo's Mayor is not joining the
Government. "We have asked him to join if he wishes but the mayor wishes
to remain in the UNP," the President told the Opposition leader. "No
Sir, he may not join the Government but he is Gotabaya's man," Ranil
The UNP leader, perhaps, would have referred to the close association
with Mayor Muzzamil has maintained with Defence Secretary Gotabaya
Rajapaksa in developing the Colombo city to a brighter, cleaner and a
green city. Irrespective of petty party politics, the Secretary to the
Ministry of Defence and Urban Development has been closely working with
the mayor to develop Colombo and its suburbs.
It is a pity that Ranil has not understood that the Defence Secretary
development plan has been hailed by all, mainly the people in Colombo
city in which the majority of people are UNPers. But Muzzamil has been
ill-treated by the UNP as a result and even his wife did not get
nominations to contest the Western PC on the UNP ticket.
UNP's decision not to give nominations to Feroza Muzammil, wife of
the Mayor of Colombo A.J.M. Muzammil, will add more problems to the main
The Mayor of Colombo was dejected after UNP nomination board's
decision to reject his wife Feroza Muzammil's application to contest
from Colombo District on the UNP ticket. In less than 24 hours after her
rejection, Feroza Muzammil resigned from the National Executive
Committee of the UNP. Subsequently, Muzzamil too stepped down from the
UNP's executive committee in disgust.
More counting officers
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said last week that the
Elections Commissioner has agreed to provide more vote counting officers
for next month's Provincial Council elections. He said that it would to
ensure transparency and credibility of the vote counting process and
also to allow the political parties to open an office at every counting
centre to carry out their election-related activities.
Tissa said that the Elections Commissioner has admitted that some
former provincial council members have not handed back their official
vehicles, residences and other state assets, and assured that he would
take steps to charge such politicians with misusing state property.
Attanayake expressed these views following a discussion held at the
Election Secretariat where political party representatives and police
officers met with the Elections Commissioner.
"The Elections Commissioner promised us that he would direct the
police to remove illegal posters and cutouts from February 17,"
Susanthika in Gammanpila's campaign
Olympic silver medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe was among the
distinguish gathering when former Western Provincial Council minister
Udaya Gammanpila launched his election campaign under the patronage of
Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Sri Lanka Foundation
Institute auditorium last week.
The Defence Secretary said that with the Geneva sessions coming up in
March, the forthcoming Western and Southern Provincial Council polls was
a good opportunity for the people to show that they were still with the
government and the President.
"We have rehabilitated 12,800 LTTE cadres and released them into the
society. We have built houses and resettled people in the North while
thousands of houses have been allocated for low-income families in
Colombo without considering their nationalities, religious or political
parties. We held Provincial Council elections in the North and appointed
their representatives into power. So we have practiced good governance
instead of just talking about it and limiting it to words," the Defence
He said this government found solutions for the garbage issue, which
was prevalent in the country just as the LTTE terrorism issue."Some
people ask why the Defence Secretary was removing garbage in the
country. That's because if we can serve the public by removing garbage
and cleaning the society then we shall do it for the people's benefit.
We have worked closely with the Colombo's Mayor. So close, that even his
wife didn't get nominations to contest the upcoming election from the
UNP. That itself shows the good governance of the UNP," Rajapaksa
The Defence Secretary said the ultimate objective of those who bring
resulutions against Sri Lanka in Geneva is to remove President Mahinda
Rajapaksa from office and topple the government so that they could have
a weak Government and a leadership that would dance to the tune of the
"They know that with the current regime and President they cannot
divide this nation or fulfill their political agendas. So this upcoming
election is a good opportunity for Sri Lankans to show that they are
with President Rajapaksa and the government," he said.
Shiral, Maithri challenge expulsion
UNP rebels and former Provincial Council members - Shiral Laktileke
and Maithri Gunaratne who have not been given nominations from the party
to contest the forthcoming elections are continuing their battle against
the party leadership. While some Ranil loyalists attempt to push them
towards the Government, the duo have vowed to remain in the party to
continue their battle for a change in the party leadership.
When the petitions filed by Shiral Laktileke and Maithri Gunaratne,
against their expulsion from the party was taken up before the Court of
Appeal last Thursday, the Bench ordered the Disciplinary Committee of
the UNP, cited as a respondent, to file objections on March 13.
In their course of action, the two petitioners say that the reasons
for their expulsion amongst others are the allegation that they had a
connection in respect of the attack against Siri Kotha - the UNP
headquarters. They also allege that their expulsion is against the Party
The petitioners pray for a writ of certiorari quashing the decision
to expel them from the UNP.
Karu talks on UNP nominations
The UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jaysuriya said that the
party was compelled to leave out several capable people from its
nomination lists to contest the elections to the provincial councils
because of the large number of applicants seeking nominations on the
Karu told journalists the party would ensure that these applicants
have a stable political career in the future. He said there were a large
number of applicants from the Districts of Colombo, Galle and Kalutara
and the nomination board did its best to select the best candidates but
in the process had to reluctantly leave out a few of the applicants.
Karu added that some media organisations had confused matters and
exaggerated them by carrying out a vituperative campaign. He said there
was no doubt that this election too would be far from free and fair when
considering how the ruling party was conducting its election campaign.
The LC chief alleged welcomed the smooth leadership change in the
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and said all opposition political
parties must work together to defeat the common enemy. But he has not
uttered a word on the growing demand for a leadership change in the UNP.
UNP loses Sally's support
It seems that controversial UNPer Azath Salley is in two minds on his
political future. The former Deputy Mayor of Colombo who crossed over to
the Government and later returned to the UNP had earlier declared that
he would not support the UNP in the upcoming Provincil Council
But Sally says that his decision is only applicable to next month's
The leader of the National Unity Alliance (NUA) Salley, clarifying on
a statement made by him and published in local media, stated that his
party would not be extending its support to the UNP only for the
upcoming provincial council elections.
The UNP Central Provincial Councilor stated that the decision has
been reached because the leader of the UNP had not delivered on his
promise of providing the NUA with three nominations for the districts of
Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara. "This we believe is due to their
inability to go beyond the infighting that is prevalent in their ranks
and their unwillingness to make necessary changes that will establish a
coalition of strong candidates who can bring about a new government," he
GL gets China's support
Vice-President Li Yuanchao of the People's Republic of China during
his discussions with the Minister of External Affairs, G. L. Peiris on
Tuesday in Beijing, expressing unequivocal support towards safeguarding
Sri Lanka's self-respect, sovereignty and territorial integrity, stated
that "China - Sri Lanka bilateral relations is a time honored Friendship
under whatever circumstances". Upholding the view that human rights
should be dealt with based on the principles of equality and mutual
respect, both the Vice-President and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China
articulated in clear terms the attitude of the People's Republic of
China on matters pertaining to human rights in Sri Lanka and expressed
full confidence in Sri Lanka's ability to chart an appropriate course
for its people and strongly condemned the use of human rights as a
device to interfere in the domestic affairs of a country.
Professor Peiris, who concluded a three-day official visit to China
at the invitation of his counterpart, had productive and in - depth
discussions with the Chinese dignitaries in providing substance to the
elevated status of "strategic co-operative partnership" between Sri
Lanka and China.
Vice-President Li Yuanchao made reference to the salient features of
the "Mahinda Chinthana" and expressed confidence that the approach
reflected in this thinking would provide a strong base for fulfilling
the aspirations of the Sri Lankan people. He assured Minister Peiris of
China's resolute support in this regard.
Reflecting on the special and warm relations the two countries share,
the Vice-President identified Sri Lanka to be an important component of
the Maritime Silk Route and invited the country to play an important
role in this initiative. Professor Peiris welcomed this proposal as a
means of strengthening co-operation in respect of maritime matters among
the countries of the region. This initiative was discussed in parallel
to building an Asian community in sustaining the growth momentum and
drawing on the synergies of Asian economic development.
Improving bilateral trade and tourism were also discussed as
important modules in achieving the full potential of the strategic
co-operative partnership. China agreed to fast track negotiations to
conclude the Free Trade Agreement in promoting mutually beneficial
trade. Noting the extensive increase in Chinese out-bound tourists,
Vice-President Li supported broadening the scope for Sri Lanka to
explore tourism promotion opportunities in China as a further means of
strengthening people to people interactions.
China endorsed Sri Lanka's proposal to constitute a Joint Commission
mechanism between the two countries at the level of Foreign Ministers in
enabling periodic review of the comprehensive partnership between the
Russia applauds SL reconciliation effort
Apart from China, Russia and Iran too have extended their support for
Sri Lanka against international conspiracies. Russian Federation Foreign
Affairs Ministry Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights Department
Director Anatoly Viktorov said that the measures taken by the leadership
and the people of Sri Lanka to overcome post-war challenges are
"I am sure that goodwill and national movement towards reconciliation
and economic restoration will help address them properly. Much has
already been done for that purpose," he said.
"Some countries often threaten or imply sanctions against other
countries which they consider to be violators of human rights. Russia
rejects such an approach," he said.
"Those sanctions only increase the suffering of people and contribute
to aggravating their situation.
Everyone must firmly uphold general principles of technical
assistance in human rights promotion. It must be provided on request of
the state concerned and politically neutral. No state must be forced to
accept technical assistance," he said.
Russia strongly rejects threats or implying sanctions against other
countries considering those to be human rights violators, Viktorov
added. "We are of the view that although human rights could be a
legitimate concern of the international community, they must not be used
as a pretext for interference in internal affairs or, even worse, use of
force," he told a press conference at the Colombo Hilton on Friday.