Govt. alleges Ranil reached understanding with the TNA at country’s expense

... struggles to explain why no action was taken against TNA


by Shamindra Ferdinando

The Sirisena-Rajapaksa government yesterday alleged that ousted UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had received Tamil National Alliance (TNA) backing for a Confidence Motion presented on his behalf at the expense of Sri Lanka’s unitary status.

Addressing the media at the Western Province Aesthetic Resort, Public Administration, Home Affairs and Justice Minister Susil Premjayantha flayed Wickremesinghe for reaching consensus with one-time LTTE cat’s paw for his political survival.

Premjayantha was flanked by lawmakers S.B. Dissanayake and Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

The consensus between the UNP and the TNA led the latter to vote for the Confidence Motion on Wickremesinghe. Sixteen out of 14 TNA lawmakers voted with the UNP-led United National Front (UNF) parliamentary group comprising 103 members.

Minister Premajayantha alleged that since the formation of the TNA way back in Oct 2001 at the behest of the LTTE, the grouping pursued an agenda meant to undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status.

Recalling the circumstances under which the TNA declared the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamil speaking people, Premjayantha pointed out how the TNA joined UNP led alliance that included the JVP and the SLMC in 2010 and 2015 presidential polls to promote the candidature Gen. Sarath Fonseka and Maithripala Sirisena, respectively. Premjayantha pointed out that President Sirisena had quit the project therefore the UNP-TNA grouping was going ahead with anti-national project.

Premjayantha also recalled the TNA on behalf of the LTTE ordering northern electorate to boycott 2005 presidential election. The minister also pointed out how the TNA secured 15 seats at Dec 2001 parliamentary polls, 22 seats in April 2004, 14 in 2010 and 16 in 2015; on the first two occasions with the help of the LTTE.

Referring to Wickremesinghe’s Dec 12 assurance to parliament that the executive presidency would be abolished, Premjayantha said doing away with the executive presidency was nothing but the TNA’s principal objective. The attorney-at-law explained how the ongoing federal project could prosper if the executive presidency was abolished.

Government representatives strongly criticized the UNP-led drafting of the new Constitution. They warned of a catastrophe unless the project was brought to an end. Premjayantha alleged that the JVP’s brainchild 20th Amendment was meant to achieve same objective of abolishing the executive presidency to weaken Sri Lanka’s unitary character.

When The Island sought an explanation as to why SLFP led governments conveniently failed to initiate legal action against the TNA for its working partnership with the proscribed terrorist group, Premjayantha claimed that they were busy fighting the LTTE till 2009. After the conclusion of the war, the government undertook large scale development projects hence didn’t focus on the TNA. The Island said they owed an explanation to the public as to why proper investigation was never undertaken. We also asked whether they were aware Joint Opposition heavyweight Dullas Alahapperuma recently said that they owed a public an apology for their failure to take tangible measures against those who promoted terrorism.

At the onset of the briefing, Premjayantha said that at the last parliamentary polls in August 2015, the UNP led UNF group won 106 seats. In addition to the 106, the group had the support of one elected on the SLMC ticket, Premjayantha said, adding that following the Oct 26 change of government, the UNP led grouping was now down to 103. The TNA group had been reduced to 14 from original 16, Premjayantha said, asserting that though the TNA declared in parliament it wouldn’t accept portfolios the possibility of them forming an alliance couldn’t be ruled out. Premjayantha said that the UNP and the TNA could operate together without the latter receiving portfolios.

The government member said the TNA, JVP and SLMC were pursuing despicable strategies for political gain regardless of consequences. They had tacitly backed postponement of Local Government polls, Provincial Council polls and then made a combined effort to thwart early general election.

Premjayantha ridiculed the UNP and its political allies for seeking judicial intervention to sabotage proposed January 5, 2019 general election. On one hand they ostensibly propagated democratic values and on the other the same lot opposed an opportunity to consult public by way of countrywide national elections.

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