65th SLFP convention is to be held on 4th September and party leader Maithree has decided to clean the fascistic rebels, before that. In this column, we have pressed to defend this party of populist liberals, from fascistic intruders. SWRD who started the SLFP entered politics as a liberal politician proposing a federal solution to the nationality problem in 1926. However after forming the SLFP, on the sensitive issue of language, the party originally espoused the use of both Sinhala and Tamil as national languages, but in the mid-1950s it adopted a “Sinhala only” policy. Nevertheless the Bandaranaike–Chelvanayakam Pact was an agreement signed between the Prime Minister and the leader of the main Tamil political party in Lanka S. J. V. Chelvanayakam on July 26, 1957. It advocated the creation of a series of regional councils in Lanka as a means to giving a certain level of autonomy to the Tamil people of the country, and was intended to solve the communal disagreements that were occurring in the country at the time. The pact was strongly opposed by certain sections of the Sinhala and community, and was eventually torn up by Prime Minister Bandaranaike in May 1958. The abandonment of the pact led to tensions between the two communities, resulting in a series of outbreaks of nationality violence in the country which eventually spiraled into the 26 year Lankan civil war. Under Mahinda regime SLFP was reduced to almost a fascistic party.
President Maithripala Sirisena has removed leading Joint Opposition members, including MPs Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane, Gamini Lokuge, C.B. Ratnayake, Keheliya Rambukwella, and Pavithra Wanniarachchi as the SLFP organizers and appointed 40 new district and electoral organizers, recently. Accordingly, sixteen electoral organizers and 24 district organizers received their appointments letters at an event at the President’s house. At the same time the Regional Development Minister Sarath Fonseka informed that 90 percent of the investigations into two complaints against former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had been completed — and that he would have to face the consequences soon. “Two complaints had been received against Mr. Rajapaksa: one regarding the purchasing of MiG aircraft for the Air Force for US$ 7 million in an improper manner; and the other regarding the misappropriation of Rs. 90 million to renovate the D.A. Rajapaksa memorial” he said. “Mahinda Rajapaksa is trying to whitewash his family, it is now too late,” he said. This means a many sided cleaning operation has been launched by the Liberal leadership.
Some former SLFP pradeshiya sabha members in the Ratnapura district have urged former minister Basil Rajapaksa to form a new political party under former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership because they had no intention of contesting the local government elections under an SLFP led by President Maithripala Sirisena. Former PS chairman S. Karawita who is heading the group said this decision when they met on Aug.15. This group is made up of 127 former members from 17 Pradeshiya Sabha in the Ratnapura District. He said the new party would follow the Bandaranaike policies. Mr. Karawita said only few former PS members had attended the interviews to select candidates for the local government election. Mr. Karawita said the discussion was held under the patronage of Basil Rajapaksa. Ratnapura District Parliamentarians Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi, T. Ranjith Soysa, Janaka Wakkumbura and Vasudeva Nanayakkara also attended the meeting. The meeting was not open to the media. This group continuously attacked Maithree Ranil leadership as puppets of the west incapable winning support from the East, particularly china.
However recently, the Government is reported to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China. It is with the assurance to encourage Chinese investments and to implement key projects including the Colombo-Ratnapura expressway. Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry had signed the agreement on behalf of the Lankan Government, while the Chinese Commerce Ministry on behalf of China. Among the proposed Chinese investments to be implemented on a priority basis are the Hambantota Integrated Development Project, the Hambantota Port Phase II, Hambantota Port Dockyard, the Mattala International Airport Integrated Project, Sothern Railway Project from Beliatta to Hambantota, the International Technology Institute and the construction of a part of the Central Expressway. Numbers of other projects are yet to come; thus negating the expectations of JO.