Maithri takes over traitor’s role from Fonseka
Last week’s political arena heated up towards the weekend after
President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday afternoon signed the
proclamation declaring his intention to hold a presidential election
seeking another term.
On the following day, Elections Commissioner Mahida Deshapriya
announced that nominations for the Presidential election will close on
December 8 and the election will be held on January 8, 2015.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa convened a sudden Cabinet meeting at the
Presidential Secretariat just hours before he signed the proclamation
declaring his intention to hold a presidential election after completing
the first four years of his second term.
President Rajapaksa, SLFP’s unanimous choice
Earlier, the SLFP Central Committee unanimously approved the name of
President Rajapaksa as its candidate for the upcoming Presidential poll.
The proposal in this regard was forwarded to the Central Committee by
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.
The Opposition which has been struggling to find a common candidate
for many weeks, ultimately found a candidate by Friday afternoon.
Despite many parties being involved in the joint Opposition talks, none
of the party leaders won the candidature. Instead, the Opposition found
somebody from the ruling UPFA who was willing to play the role of a
traitor in his lust for power.
Accordingly, SLFP General Secretary Maithtripala Sirisena betrayed
not only the party he had served for over four decades but also his
voters in the Polonnaruwa district.
The UNP-led Opposition which was struggling for survival was
overjoyed with the declaration that Maithripala as the joint Opposition
candidate for the presidential election.
That alone shows the political bankruptcy of the joint Opposition
none of whose leaders could challenge President Rajapaksa. UNP’s
leadership council chairman Karu Jayasuriya made every attempt to become
the common candidate, lobbying heavily though the party’s Bhikku front
leader Ven. Girambe Ananda Thera. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
and deputy leader Sajith Premadasa too have been daydreaming of becoming
the President but were in two minds in contesting a popular leader such
as the President.
Names of several other politicians were proposed to become the common
candidate. Among them were Democratic Party leader Sarath Fonseka,
former Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, Ven. Maduluwawe
Sobhitha Thera, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.
It was Chandrika and her blind political follower Mangala Samaraweera
who masterminded the plot. First, Chandrika explored the possibility of
becoming the common Opposition candidate.
But she later discovered that there are two legal impediments that
disqualify her. From the very outset, Chandrika was more interested in
putting her personal agenda first - though she did not make it obvious.
Instead, she got Mangala to work in a subtle manner, approaching
Although Mangala approached more than three-fourths of the Government
parliamentarians, he was only successful in persuading a handful of MPs.
Maithripala, being an old hand of the SLFP, was the easiest target
for Mangala as both of them had a blind loyalty to Horagolla walawwa.
Chandrika exploited that and persuaded Maithripala to become the common
Former President Chandrika, who was prevented from contesting at the
upcoming presidential election by her close associates due to legal
impediments, was the chief architect of the entire process behind making
SLFP General Secretary the common candidate of the Opposition.
When Maithripala addressed a SLFP affiliated trade union meeting in
Polonnaruwa, he had been approached by Chadrika to be the common
The controversial remarks he made over the assassination of former
Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranaike and the ‘power of Polonnaruwa’ was
directed at those who exerted pressure on him to remain with the
The highlight of his speech was the manner in which he appreciated
Chandrika and Ranil who have been close friends since their school
days were overjoyed by the news that Maithripala had agreed to contest.
Chandrika was jubilant that she could once again poke her finger into
politics and create divisions among the SLPF seniors.
On the other hand, it was a great relief for Ranil to avoid the risk
of contesting and losing.
Had Ranil contested and lost the presidential election, the Sajith
faction would definitely eject him from not only from the UNP leadership
but also from his post of the Opposition leader.
Being an experienced politician, Ranil had done his own calculations
and discovered that beating President Rajapaksa is a gigantic task.
Hence, he has found another scapegoat for him to remain as the
Opposition leader for the rest of his life.
He skipped the last 2010 presidential election by handing over the
candidature to Sarath Fonseka. After losing 30 successive elections
under his shaky leadership, Ranil has played a similar trick by making
poor Maithripala a scapegoat.
Cat comes out of Chandrika’s bag
The cat came out of the bag when Chandrika announced her return to
active olitics after a hiatus of nine years.
“I was silent for nine years, but finally I decided to break my
silence. I will actively engage in politics from this point on,” she
told media at the news conference held at the New Town Hall on Friday to
introduce Maithripala as the joint Opposition presidential candidate.
“I am happy to be part of this historic mission and I am grateful to
all parties who allowed me to do so.
I am back at my old home and it is good to be back,” she said.
Without her knowledge, a secret leaked out of Chandrika’s big mouth; “We
will appoint Maithripala Sirisena as the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom
Party and we have embarked on that mission,” Chandrika outlined her
At least at this very late stage, the joint Opposition should
understand where they would head under Chandrika’s selfish plans.
She has made use of the Opposition’s desperate attempt to find a
suitable common candidate to settle her political differences.
When we have a history of all retired former Presidents spending an
exemplary lives after stepping down, Chandrika has failed to give up her
lust for power after being the Head of State for 11 long years – an era
she did virtually nothing and enjoyed life while allowing LTTE terrorism
President Rajapaksa convened all SLFP office bearers and Central
Committee members to Temple Trees for a hurriedly arranged meeting on
The SLFP decided to sack Ministers Maithripala Sirisena, Rajitha
Senaratne, Duminda Dissanayake and Deputy Minister M.K.D.S. Gunawardane
from their portfolios and cancelled their SLFP membership. The SLPF
membership of UPFA parliamentarian Wasantha Senanayake, who crossed over
to the UNP on Thursday, was also cancelled.
UPFA Nuwara Eliya District parliamentarian Perumal Rajathurai joined
the UNP later on Friday.
Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa was appointed as SLFP General
Secretary to fill the vacancy created after the expulsion of Maithripala.
The Central Committee, according to the SLFP constitution, has the
authority to appoint a new General Secretary. Deputy Minister of Land
and Land Development Siripala Gamlath has been appointed as the SLFP
Polonnaruwa District organizer with immediate effect.
Maithripala, during Friday’s press conference, clearly stated that he
is still the General Secretary of the SLFP.
UNP Assistant General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said the
members of the UNP’s G-20, which was set up to take decisions on the
presidential election, met on Friday morning and decided to support
Maithripala as the common candidate.
President Rajapaksa said Maithripala has fallen into the opposition’s
trap the same way Sarath Fonseka did in 2010. Addressing indigenous
medical practitioners at Temple Trees just hours after Maithripala was
named as the Opposition’s common candidate, the President said that he
feels sorry for Maithripala who had become the victim of the
“Today our General Secretary is leaving the party to contest the
upcoming Presidential election from the United National Party. I feel
sorry for him,” he said. President Rajapaksa added that he is contesting
the Presidential election this time with a candidate who joined the UNP
from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
“Today Ranil Wickremesinghe has a Maithri at home and also outside,”
he said. President Rajapaksa said the main demand of the opposition is
the abolition of the Executive Presidency.
The President said he appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee to
abolish the Executive Presidency two years ago although no one from the
opposition paid any heed to this committee.
“The opposition which is clamouring for the abolition of the
Executive Presidency does not support the Parliamentary Select
Committee,” he said.
President Rajapaksa said if the need is to abolish the Executive
Presidency, it can be done through Parliament by a two thirds majority.
“The opposition is trying to paint a gloomy picture of the country
and the educated people will never fall into this trap.
The progressive march started by the SLFP led by former Prime
Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike to establish an indigenous economy to
suit the country’s culture, faced a number of hurdles throughout
history,” he said.
“The SLFP faced challenges in 1977 and thereafter the leaders who
destroyed the country’s culture and sold state assets have started
shedding crocodile tears again. These elements that are trying to take
the service personnel and the government to the UNHRC for eradicating
terrorism have started shedding crocodile tears for the country,” he
President celebrates 69th birthday
President Rajapaksa is known for his early morning birthday wishes to
politicians and other celebrities - almost all the members of
Parliament, regardless of their party.
Even though most of the UNP parliamentarians do not get a birthday
wish from their party leader Ranil, they are assured of an early morning
telephone call from the Temple Trees on their birthdays.
Usually, it’s the President who calls politicians and popular
personalities on their birthdays and some even go to the extent of
publicising the President’s birthday wishes through their friends in
media merely for publicity purposes, show their affection to the
But it was a different story on Tuesday when President Rajapaksa
celebrated his 69th birthday. The President started his day with an
extraordinary telephone call from Hong Kong early in the morning. A
familiar voice from the other end, wished him “happy birthday”.
The person who called the President from Hong Kong was none other
than Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was the first telephone call the President
received on his birthday.
Maithripala’s shameless act
Maithripala conducted himself in a shameless manner like a coward
until he came to address the media as the Opposition’s common candidate
Journalists surrounded him to fire questions about speculations when
Maithripala attended the funeral of former Silumina chief editor
Karunadasa Sooriarachchi in Gampaha on Wednesday.
But a wily Maithripala neither denied nor admitted such claims.
“There is speculation like that,” he told media and evaded most of
the question with a crafty political smile. But his true intensions were
known when Maithripala refused to address the weekly SLFP press
conference on Friday morning.
The Minister, a regular participant of the weekly news conference,
was contacted by a senior official of the Ministry of Mass Media and
Information but he refused to attend it.
As a regular speaker at Government press conference, he spoke at the
press conference even last week in his capacity as the General Secretary
of the SLFP.
When questioned whether he would become the common candidate of the
Opposition at last week’s SLFP news conference, the Minister giggled,
without denying. 1959 style conspiracy, says Susil
UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha, addressing a press
conference in Colombo on Friday, dubbed Minister Maithripala Sirisena’s
exit from the SLFP as a conspiracy, like in 1959.
“They are trying to destabilise the country like they did in 1959,”
the Minister told the weekly UPFA press conference. “In the past
individuals who held high positions in the party have moved away from
the SLFP at various points,” Premajayantha said.
Minister Premjayantha, who was usually seen along with his SLFP
counterpart Sirisena at UPFA press conferences with his SLFP counterpart
Maithripala Sirisena, said that the SLFP has faced many challenges in
the past and had faced crossovers as well.
“If there was no executive Presidency in Sri Lanka, the problems in
the country would not have deteriorated,” the Minister added.
Addressing the same press conference, NFF leader Minister Wimal
Weerawansa said, “What Sarath Fonseka understands now, someone else will
realise it next year”. “We urge the leaders of the JHU to understand
this international conspiracy,” Weerawansa said. He added that enemy
forces of the country want to spread discord among different communities
Biggest joke on Executive Presidency Maithripala, accompanied by his
former Cabinet colleague Rajitha
Senaratne, arrived at around 3.15 pm on Friday at the New Town Hall
to describe his conspiracy and the greatest betrayal in the recent SLFP
history. The duo came in the same vehicle.
They were later welcomed by Chandrika, Duminda Dissanayake, M.D
Gunawardena, Arjuna Ranatunga, Wasantha Senanayake and Prof. Rajiva
Wijesinghe. It was a pity that Rajiva too has become a part of the coup
after he was fortunate to become an MP from the national list, sans a
mandate from the people.
Maithripala made the biggest joke when he vowed to abolish the
Executive Presidency while having the lady, who made the similar broken
promise exactly 20 years, next to him in the head table of the press
“I will abolish the Executive Presidency in 100 days after being
elected as the President,” Maithripala said while having former
President Chandrika on his right side of the head table.
Some of the media personalities recalled how Chandrika gave the same
promise of abolishing the Executive Presidency within three months
during her 1994 presidential election campaign.
The other laughing stock at the news conference was Maithripala’s
tribute to Chandrika for crushing terrorism.
Maithripala, in his lust for power, had forgotten how the LTTE
strengthened its military capabilities during Chadrika’s tenure as the
It was during Chadrika’s 11-year ethargic rule that the LTTE emerged
as the strongest terrorist outfit in the world as she became a puppet of
the Western peace agents.
Having served as the SLFP Secretary General and a top minister during
the nine-year period under President Rajapaksa, Maithripala talked as he
had come from the seventh heaven.
He tried to play a crybaby role and prove his innocence without
raising any of those issues at any of the Cabinet meetings or SLFP
Central Committee meetings.
Had he been sincere to the SLFP, he would have first informed the
party he had served first, without having closed door talks with the UNP
which had harassed the SLFP supporters during Jayewardene and Premadasa
Maithripala now begs the vote of his SLFP supports to make the UNP
leader the Head of State. He will be rejected both by the SLFP as well
as the UNP supporters.
The UNP reformists and factions loyal to Karu Jayasuriya held a
secret meeting at an undisclosed location yesterday to protect real
UNPers from parachutes such as Maithripala.
They were of the view that if Ranil was not willing to contest the
presidential election, he should have given that opportunity to Sajith
Premadasa or Karu Jayasuriya rather than betraying the UNP by
‘importing’ a die-hard SLFPer.
Some doubted whether Maithripala was trying to take Ranil and the
entire Opposition for a ride and prevent a top UNP candidate contesting
the presidential election.
Solheim, a liar
The Government branded OECD Chairman and former Norwegian Sri Lanka
peace negotiator Eric Solheim ‘a liar and a supporter of terrorists’ who
was in cahoots with the LTTE.
Responding to a journalist at the weekly news briefing, Cabinet
spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Eric Solheim who had a
soft spot for separatist terrorists always acted against the Sri Lankan
government and armed forces.
“It was he who arranged to transport high-tech communication
equipment to the North for the use of LTTE from the Bandaranaike
International Airport and spare parts to assemble an impoverished flying
machine, (kurumbatti) for the LTTE.
In short, Eric Solheim did a lot of harm to Sri Lanka and its people
masquerading as a peace negotiator,” Minister Rambukwella charged. He
said he totally rejected the suggestion of Solheim that President
Rajapaksa was lying and said it was he who was lying.
“The government has no concern at all on the statement by Solheim
that he was ready to give evidence before the UNHRC panel that probes
Sri Lanka on alleged war crimes during the tail end of the humanitarian
operation of the government, he said.