Lands and Land Development Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon yesterday alleged in Parliament that the popularity of the SLFP-led UPFA coalition had been rapidly dwindling primarily due to drug dealers and ethanol businessmen within government ranks.
Minister Tennakoon was responding to Anuradhapura District UNP MP P. Harrison’s assertion that some key ministers had been deprived of their powers.
MP Harrison said that Deputy Minister Lakshman Wasantha Perera had allocated land in Matale recently though Janaka Bandara was responsible for the land portfolio. The UNP MP said that Minister Tennakoon had been deprived of an opportunity to attend the function and his picture wasn’t on posters put up in the district.
Minister Tennakoon said that he wouldn’t be able to deliver his prepared speech as MP Harrison had raised a different issue which needed to be answered. MP Harrison referred to a deputy minister in Matale District allocating lands.
Several opposition MPs shouted that Minister Tennakoon had no powers.
Minister Tennakoon: True …True. I have briefed President regarding the incident. The minister said that he had received an assurance from President Rajapaksa that he would take stern action.
But, nothing had been done so far, the minister said, adding that he was really upset about the failure on the part of the President to take action.
“The government is ruined by the drug dealers and ethanol businessmen. They are in this chamber. I am so unhappy to live in a time like this.”
MP Harrison: Does that mean you are thinking of taking a step towards a change?
Minister Tennakoon: Yes. I may if the need arises.