… Strategy in line with the post-2020 general elections
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila reiterated that the rebel group within the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna parliamentary group (SLPP) will continue its role regardless of the consequences.
Pivithuru chief prosecutor Hela Urumaya (PHU) Gammanpila stressed that their right to function as a splinter group was in line with an assurance given to the electorate in the run-up to the last legislative elections in August 2020.
According to the minister, the PHU and the National Freedom Front (NFF) led by Wimal Weerawansa have reached consensus on several contentious issues.
The statement was made at an event held in Muthurajawela where former pillar of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) launched a tree-planting campaign to match the number of preferential votes he received in the last election. general. The SLPP Colombo District candidate received 136,331 preferential votes and was placed third on the list. Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera (329,092) and Wimal Weerawansa (267,084) topped the list.
Minister Gammanpila was responding to SLPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Professor GL Peiris, who warned that dissent within the government parliamentary group would not be tolerated.
Addressing the weekly press conference at party headquarters, Prof Peiris said that regardless of the differences within the caucus, once the government takes a stand, all voters should comply with this decision. The foreign minister was referring to a range of contentious issues, including the most recent dispute over a deal with US group New Fortress Energy to supply LNG to Sri Lanka under controversial conditions.
Minister Gammanpila stressed that they have the right to put pressure on the government in case it pursues policies contrary to those of the mandates received in the presidential elections of 2019 and parliamentary elections of 2020.
After discussing the PHU’s political campaign for the past few years, lawmaker Gammanpila said they opposed the 20th Amendment to the Constitution when the cabinet approved the proposal without internal discussion. “We did not remain silent just because the controversial decision was taken at the very first cabinet meeting after the general election,” MP Gammanpila said.
Minister Gammanpila stressed that the New Fortress agreement was hostile to the country.
Several parties, including some of those who supported the SLPP in presidential and parliamentary elections, have moved the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal against the New Fortress deal.
Referring to the SLPP manifesto for the 2019 presidential election, Minister Gammanpila compared how the cabinet of ministers, unlike the party manifesto, approved Indian and Japanese investments in ECT (East Container Terminal ) from the port of Colombo. Lawmaker Gammanpila stressed that they had no choice but to oppose the ECT project because it was against their manifesto.
The NFF and the PHU received support from the SLFP (Sri Lanka Freedom Party), the second party in the ruling coalition, in addition to the CP (Communist Party) and Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara led by the DLF (Democratic Left Front ). The splinter group consists of more than two dozen lawmakers, and the crisis has undermined nearly two-thirds of the SLPP’s majority in parliament. The government group has 145 members.
Minister Weerawansa recently told The Island that they must go public with the New Fortress deal, as their efforts to stop it failed to achieve the desired results.
The NFF leader said the government had brazenly manipulated the ministerial process to facilitate US investment, a charge strongly denied by the SLPP.