Colombo, January 16 (newsin.asia): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena stormed out of the cabinet meeting on Tuesday after making an emotional speech expressing anguish over the personal attacks made against him by certain members of the United National Party (UNP), a partner in the coalition government he adds..
“He spoke for about half an hour to the members of the cabinet and even mentioned the names of UNP members, who have severely criticized him at a personal level,” the media quoted a cabinet minister as saying.
However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and several ministers belonging to the UNP, including Malik Samarawickrama and Kabir Hashim, caught up with him outside the cabinet room and persuaded him to come back.
Sirisena relented and the proceedings went on smoothly for about an hour and a half.
An UNP MP, S.M.Marikkar, had recently called the President a “pickpocket” who is robbing the UNP of its dues when actually Sirisena should be grateful to the UNP for getting him elected as President.
Marikkar said that Sirisena is back stabbing his benefactor, the UNP , just as he back stabbed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and walked over to the UNP-led opposition front to be its Presidential candidate in 2014-2015.
State Minister of International Trade, Sujeewa Senasinghe, recently lambasted Sirisena for spending his time trying to stay on in power a year beyond his constitutional term of five years, while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is going round the island attending to development work.
The rift between President Sirisena and his coalition partner ,the UNP, is widening with each passing day.
The UNP did not like the President’s decision to set up a commission to inquire into the Central Bank bond scam in which a particular Primary Dealer, Perpetual Treasuries, made a questionable profit of more than LKR 11 billion with inside information of the volume of the bond offer and its interest rates.
Arjuna Mahendran who was the Governor of the Central Bank at that time, and who was close to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, had to resign, because the primary dealer in question who made the money was his son-in-law.
Arjun Aloysius, the son-in-law, was Director of Perpetual Treasuries. Due to the scam, the Central Bank closed Aloysius’ Perpetual Treasuries.
Determined to move further in the matter, President Sirisena had also asked the Attorney General to initiate legal action against those involved. The UNP felt that these actions had tarnished its image and adversely affected its prospects in the coming local body elections.
Sirisena had often overturned the UNP’s economic decisions as his populist ideology did not square with the UNP’s neo-liberal policies. Most recently. Sirisena got the cabinet to reverse the UNP-inspired decision to allow sale of liquor to women and to extend the working hours of liquor shops.
Recently, Sirisena had poached some UNP members too, and had got the President’s official media unit to issue a press release about the defection to show that the defection had been appreciated by him.