Former Speaker stresses need to protect political leaders



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(L-R) State Finance Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Maithripala Sirisena, Ven. Dr Itthapane Dhammalankara Thera and W.J.M. Lokubandara


By Shamindra Ferdinando


Former Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara yesterday warned that the lives of those holding powerful positions were always in danger.


One-time UNP heavyweight said that both President Maithripala Sirisena and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake should realise the situation faced by them.


Lokubandara was addressing a gathering at the launch of 'A Sri Lankan Voice in the Global Arena' and its Sinhala translation at the BMICH by State Finance Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe.


Former Badulla District UNP MP said that when he held the post of Speaker during a turbulent period, he always believed it could be his last day in that particular position. In spite of severe difficulties, Lokubandara said he had survived the entire period.


Paying a glowing tribute to late Prime Ministers S.W. R. D. Bandaranaike and Dudley Senanayake for being unselfish, Lokubandara recalled Bandaranaike offering mercy to the gunman who shot him, describing him as a person wearing robes.


Lokubandara said that President Maithripala Sirisena had voluntarily offered to give up two years of his six-year term after having won the January 8 presidential election. President Sirisena finally agreed to hold office for a five-year term following intervention by political parties, Lokubandara said.


A smiling Lokubandara said that Maihripala Sirisena appeared to have forgotten that he was the elected President whereas some had forgotten that they no longer held the Office of the President.


Commenting on the forthcoming parliamentary polls, Lokubandara urged the electorate not to be deceived by catchy slogans, mega cut-outs as well as costly poster campaigns.


Acknowledging that he refrained from backing Maithripala Sirisena's presidential campaign, Lokubandara said that he felt comfortable after hearing the new leader's speech.


Lokubandara discussed State Finance Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe entry into parliamentary politics after having been a member of the Western Provincial Council in addition to several other government appointments both here and overseas.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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