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Sunday, 26 July 2015

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Behind Closed Doors

Grabbing the wrong hand, Blue blues and, battle for K'gala

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's claim that the party supporter who grabbed his hand in last week's tussle with him at an UPFA election rally in Akuressa was "a little drunk" prompted wags to comment that at least some of those attending rallies of the UPFA must be out of their senses.

Former Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody, a candidate for the Galle district, too underwent a similar experience when he addressed an election meeting in Ambalangoda. Commenting on the 'ills' of Yahapalaya, he claimed that several stalwarts of the UPFA had been arrested on false charges.

"Even the Chairman of the Ambalangda Pradeshiya Sabha has been arrested by Police on cooked up charges!" Weerakkody declared demonstrating his anger over the conduct of the yahapalana government.

At this point, the crowd started cheering madly saying, Jayaweva, Jayaweva! leaving the former Deputy Speaker nonplussed.

Ali petaw tikakda, koheda? (Must be some baby elephants) an annoyed Weerakkody said before continuing with his speech. Weerakkody may have remembered Rajapaksa's remark when his leader underwent that experience with the crowd at the Akuressa rally.

Blue bouncer's blues

Ex-Minister Mervyn Silva, once the all-powerful Public Affairs Minister of the Rajapaksa administration, is now in a destitute state of some sort. He was not given nomination to contest the election on the UPFA ticket and he has now pledged support to the Good Governance Front.

However, the Good Governance Front too is a little cautious about getting Silva's support at the election as he is a 'difficult customer' in every sense of the word.

Recently, a journalist, who had close links to Silva, gave him a telephone call. During the conversation, he asked a question that annoyed Silva to the hilt. "Mr. Minister, don't you think you have been left alone?" (Emathithumaa, obathuma thani vela kiyala hithennne nedda) the journalist asked.

Ithing umba warenko mage thani rakinna, (Then you should come to relieve my loneliness) the irked minister replied angrily and hung up the phone.

Green banker minus the greenbacks

A UNP Colombo District candidate, a banker by profession, has launched an unusual election campaign, deviating from the usual practice of his Parliamentary colleagues.

He has strictly refused campaign funding from businessmen who face allegations over their association with the Rajapaksa regime.

Although some of these businessmen have offered him some good deals, he has turned them down citing 'his political principles' and 'moral reasons'. Sources told the Sunday Observer that the politician, who maintained a clean track record as an MP over the past five years, had obtained an overdraft from a bank to finance his election campaign.

Although he may not be in a position to compete with his colleagues who spend money lavishly on propaganda campaigns, his supporters hope that by living up to his principles the rising politician will win success in the highly competitive Colombo district contest.

Battle for Kurunegala

An intense political tug-of-war has erupted between 'Siri' of Kurunegala and the former big boss who has joined the electoral fray in the same district.

It all began when the former boss obtained an intelligence report from his allies about the prospects for preferential votes in the district. The report indicated that 'Siri' would pose a serious threat to the former bigwig's campaign.

'Siri' crossed over to the blue camp from the elephant party just before the last Provincial Council election and obtained the highest number of preferential votes and became the Chief Minister with a landslide victory. "If Siri comes close to the former big boss's number, it will reflect badly on his entire campaign," a source from the blue camp said. Knowing the Parliamentary election is a tough race for him, the ex-Prez is attempting to save face by obtaining the highest number of preferential votes.

Meanwhile, the former big boss is also ruffled over rumours that 'Siri' has a close under-the-radar relationship with the President and party leader. It does not augur well for the boss's campaign in the district.

Inside moves

President Sirisena has triggered a fresh crisis in the pro-Rajapaksa camp by appointing Chandana Katriarachchi as the SLFP organizer of the Kesbewa electorate. Katriarachchi is known as a CBK loyalist and as a result, he is not in the good books of the Rajapaksas.

At the same time, he is the main political rival of Gamini Lokuge, a lieutenant of the pro-Rajapaksa camp. The battle between Lokuge and Katriarachchi spans over two decades. Katriarachchi, a former Deputy Minister, received his letter of appointment from President Sirisena on Thursday, at the Presidential Secretariat. The news of his appointment was a major disappointment to Gamini Lokuge, who worked hard to ensure nomination for Rajapaksa from the UPFA.

The move indicates that the President is strengthening his camp in the UPFA in a bid to form a national government after the election, completely demolishing the Prime Ministerial hopes of former President Rajapaksa.

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