Reshuffle a farce, says state minister

‘Expect second part shortly’

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle, which was to address the disagreements between the two coalition partners of the unity government and adverse public opinion on its progress, has come under fire in some quarters.

The mini reshuffle also took place behind closed doors. It was the first time journalists were not invited to cover a reshuffle.

Talking to The Island State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wasantha Senanayake (UNP) described the reshuffle as a comedy, which had made the government the laughing stock. No sensible person could say anything positive about it, he said.

"I am critical of this because it is a very bad move. The people of the country know it is a joke and this has made us the laughing stock. I don’t know how people would react––whether they would laugh it off or pelt stones at us." Senanayake said the ‘second part of the comedy’ would be staged next week.

The state minister said all the decisions in the UNP were taken by one pundit, assisted by about five Kevattayas (councilors providing the wrong advice to the king).

"You ask me why such a reshuffle has taken place. You have to ask the people concerned because I don’t know," Senanayake said.Senanayake added that he was not afraid of speaking out even at the risk of losing his position because he had no skeletons in his cupboard. "I have also not made any underhand deals to make money. I can speak up without any fear."

SLFP Cabinet spokesperson Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that he had nothing to say about the Cabinet reshuffle.

A number of key ministers were not in the country during the swearing in ceremony. They include Minister of Petroleum, Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Science and Technology, Susil Premajayantha and Minister of Special Assignments, Sarath Amunugama.

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