Eschew polecat politics – PM
UPFA rebel MPs led by MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena who enacted a
‘drama’ in Parliament on Thursday (October 22) alleging that the Chair
had been partial to the government in allocating time for them to speak
ran away with the Mace.
This led the Presiding Member to abruptly suspend the sittings for a
When the Presiding Member Mujibur Rahman called Rehabilitation,
Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan to
deliver his speech during the adjournment debate on the Geneva based
UNHRC Report, UPFA Colombo District MP Wimal Weerawansa who was
instrumental in staging the ‘drama’ raised a Point of Order that the
Chair had been partial in allocating time to government members.
Weerawansa charged that time had been allocated to government members
overlooking the Opposition members. Other UPFA rebel MPs who fully
endorsed the point raised by Weerawansa shouted at the presiding member
demanding equal treatment for all.
The ‘drama’ reached a climax when suddenly MP Gunawardena came to the
Well of the House and walked upto the Chair and took the Mace away.
Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando ran towards MP Gunawardena
who was surrounded and protected by his colleagues Jayantha Samaraweera,
Piyal Nishantha, Udaya Gammanpila, Sriyani Wijewickrama, C.B. Ratnayake,
Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Sisira Jayakody and Indika Anuruddha.
The tense situation that erupted in the House led the Presiding
Member to suspend sittings for a few minutes. When sittings resumed, MP
Gunawardena expressed his regret as he was not aware of the order of the
list given to MP Rahman.
The proceedings continued and MP Weerawansa was permitted to speak
and Minister Swaminathan’s name was shifted a couple of speakers down
After the decision was taken to telecast Parliamentary proceedings
live, various forms of interruptions and ‘dramas’ enacted by the UPFA
rebel MPs on the floor of the House have shown a dramatic increase.
A reference by UPFA Colombo District MP Bandula Gunawardena to the
name of Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake also resulted in a bedlam
leading to the suspension of sittings on Wednesday (October 21).
Minister Karunanayake drew the Speaker’s attention to the fact that
his name had been wrongly read to Parliament by MP Gunawardena on the
previous day and said that he had been the victim of Parliamentary
Privileges being abused by the latter.
The Speaker called upon both government and opposition members to
cooperate to conduct the business of the House since Rs. 4.6 million had
to be spent on a single day to conduct proceedings in the House.
Despite the Speaker’s numerous attempts to maintain the dignity and
decorum of the House, he had to suspend sittings for five minutes as
both sides were not ready to reach a compromise.
Government legislators who aired their views during the adjournment
motion moved by UNP Gampaha District MP Ajith Mannapperuma on the Geneva
based UNHRC Report warned communal hardliners not to use the debate to
fan communal passions for political survival.
In order to have a two full-day debate, Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe also tabled the much awaited Paranagama and Udalagama
Presidential Commission Reports along with the OHCHR Report in
Parliament. However, UPFA rebel MPs such as Wimal Weerawansa and
Vasudeva Nanayakkara rejected the UNHRC Resolution describing it as an
act of betrayal of war heroes.
However, some SLFP stalwarts such as Minister Dilan Perera who joined
in the debate vehemently criticised Weerawansa’s chauvinistic sentiments
and alleged that a few MPs in the UPFA are attempting to drag the SLFP
towards the extreme communal line.
Premier Wickremesinghe who joined in the debate requested opposition
members not to engage in polecat politics (Ugudu Deshapalanaya) during
the night but to do whatever politics they could during the day. He
requested the UPFA rebel MPs not to play dubious games and give up their
polecat politics. He told the House in lighter vein, the polecat is
active in the dark but cannot do the same when the light dawns. Those
who scheme and do politics in the dark are unable to do politics during
the day.JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said that the Geneva
Resolution is a clear reflection of our failure to resolve internal
The MP said that we should be ashamed of providing an opportunity for
an external force to resolve a domestic issue and this cannot be
described as a victory achieved by us. Instead of conducting a credible
domestic investigation on alleged human rights violations, MP Herath
queried as to why Sri Lanka became a co-sponsor of the US sponsored
resolution. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake indulging in some
controversial remarks during the debate alleged that India’s premier
intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) engaged in a
scheme of destabilising the North and added that Jaffna has become a den
of the RAW agents.
Dissanayake said that international interventions in our domestic
matters had always been detrimental to the national interests.
Jaffna residents thought that India would help them but there was no
such help forthcoming when the conflict worsened. It was too late for
them to learn that India was only serving its own interests in the guise
of helping them, Dissanayake said.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was a notable absentee during the
debate. Although his name had been listed as the fifth speaker in the
opposition speakers’ list to speak on the Geneva based UNHRC report, he
did not participate in the debate. Power and Renewable Energy Deputy
Minister Ajith P. Perera who joined in the debate said that the absence
of the former President was clear evidence that he was not in the Dinesh,
Vasu and Wimal troika to endorse their views.
It seems that the former President too shared our viewpoints by
rejecting to speak with racists, he said. The Deputy Minister challenged
the UPFA rebel MPs to bring their leader if possible.
UPFA rebel MPs also attempted to make a big hue and cry in the well
of the House on Friday’s arrest of MP Wimal Weerawansa at the
Bandaranaike International Airport for having an invalid passport. When
MP Dinesh Gunawardena drew the attention of the House on Weerawansa’s
arrest, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera queried as to how Weerawansa had
The Deputy Minister told the House that Weerawansa looks at
everything from a ‘hybrid perspective’. Even his name is also ‘hybrid’
because when he was a journalist he used one name and when he switched
to politics he used a different name.