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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2430

It was Sri Lanka PM Mahinda’s brother Basil who secretly blocked 113 majority’ – President Sirisena

Colombo, 02 December, (Asiantribune.com):

In a new twist to Sri Lanka’s political turmoil, Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has reportedly lashed out saying Basil Rajapaksa, the brother of purported PM Mahinda Rajapaksa himself was behind the debacle of failure to formulate the much needed 113 Parliamentary majority.

Meanwhile political circles in Colombo were also abuzz with names of new UNF nominees as new replacement PM instead of deposed PM Wickremesinghe. On December 1, the circles were also excited on the outcome of a meeting between PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his closest few SLPP MPs that was not publicized but later was unexpectedly revealed, jolting the political stage.

On the night of 30 November, during his private meeting with Wimal Weerawansa MP and Udaya Gammanpila MP-two of PM Rajapaksa’s outspoken MPs (of SLPP)- President Sirisena reportedly lashed out at them for pointing their accusative fingers at him for failing to collect the 113 MP majority that he promised to PM Rajapaksa when President Sirisena appointed Rajapaksa as the new PM on 26 October.

“In his personal discussions with his MPs nowadays, Mahinda Rajapaksa is privately and wrongly accusing me that I failed to collect and give him the “113 MP majority” that I promised him. But it was actually (Mahinda’s brother) Basil Rajapaksa who blocked my hard work to finalise the 113 MP majority needed for Mahinda Rajapaksa. Using Eastern Province Governor Rohita Bogollagama and Hisbulla MP, I managed to get four Muslim MPs to agree to join our side.

The Muslim MPs were ready and waiting to join us. Thereafter against my will, Basil forced me to release them and not to take them. With greatest disappointment, I had to let them go. If these four Muslim MPs joined us at that time, many UNP MPs too would have followed them and joined us, and we could have collected the two-thirds majority, opening the door for us to rule the country for another 20 years. But that failed.

Basil was tricked by Rishad Bathiudeen to go this way. After all, at that time I already got a Muslim MP to take oaths as a Deputy Minister. Given this background, it is wrong and unreasonable for Mahinda Rajapaksa to privately accuse me in his pocket meetings that I did not make an effort to collect and give him the 113 MP-majority that I promised him” said President Sirisena reportedly.

President Sirisena’s appointment of PM Rajapaksa, deposing the incumbent PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on 26 October has thrown the country into a month-long political turmoil creating many negative economic and international consequences. For more than a month, PM Rajapaksa has continuously failed to show 113 majority in Parliament. In all the four occasions where motions were presented against his rule by the opposition parties, PM Rajapaksa’s MPs failed to show 113, twice all of them not even turning up in Parliament.

Political circles in Colombo were also abuzz about suggestions of new names for PM from UNF camp. These two names were positively seen by President Sirisena instead of Wickremesinghe. It is reported that Sajith Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya (both UNF MPs) were quietly approached by President Sirisena for PM as replacement for Mahinda Rajapaksa but they both continuously refused (sources say Sajith refused the proposal nine times while Speaker Karu Jayasuriya refused 17 times). It was reported that President Sirisena has even declared that he ‘prefers Sajith Premadasa becoming PM’ instead of Wickremesinghe, who he openly dislikes. Thereafter President was open for Wijayadasa Rajapaksa MP but was forced to change his position after PM Mahinda Rajapaksa opposed it saying ‘Wijayadasa cannot be trusted politically’.

Now, among the latest UNF names for PM doing the rounds by Saturday December 1 in Colombo were Rajitha Senaratne MP (former Health Minister) and Tilak Marapone (former Foreign Minister). President Sirisena has not opposed these names, said political sources.

Political circles in Colombo were also discussing PM Rajapaksa’s response to some of his very closest SLPP political strategists and associates during the week.

The few SLPP top members called on PM Rajapaksa privately during last week and said–“We cannot show 113 majority and continuously failing in Parliament –We cannot bear this anymore. What will be your next step?” to which PM Rajapaksa has answered:

“As for me -I am happy we are defeated in Parliament.” The confused SLPP members inquired why. “Our defeat in Parliament is based on a big (engineered) plan. The result of this plan is SLPP finally emerging as an unbeatable political force. Together President and I are planning for some major steps in time to come-be ready” said PM Rajapaksa.

The confused SLPP members asked PM Rajapaksa to explain further -to which the unexpected response from Rajapaksa’s was a deafening silence. “The SLPP members returned from this meeting scratching their heads severely and in utter confusion” said SLPP sources.

- Asian Tribune -

Maithri  - Basil
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