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No-faith motion targets President, Speaker: Arjuna

The real target of the No-confidence motion submitted by the Joint Opposition was not the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe but the President Maithripala Sirisena and the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Petroleum Industries Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said yesterday.

He said more details would be revealed soon and underscored the
fact that the UNP and the Prime Minister were in a better position right now than in the aftermath of the LG polls.

The minister told a media conference that however he was disappointed and unhappy over the lackluster performance of the Yahapalana government to bring to book the murderers and fraudsters engaged in big-time financial crimes like money laundering, embezzlement, bribery and other misdeeds under the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.

"The motion was planned by those who have no future in politics. They expect to come to Parliament after the next general elections through the back door because none of them could win in an election," he said. “The mandate given to the President and the Prime Minister in January and August 2015 by 6.2 million voters was not to bring down the cost of living or reduce prices of essential commodities but to put an end to the widespread corruption, nepotism, mismanagement and restore the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and the media and strengthen democratic establishments. The government has done much to fulfil those pledges except arresting the big fish involved in corruption and crime."

Commenting on the government's electoral setback at the LG polls, the minister said the Yahapalana government had failed to market its people-friendly policies and relief and facilities provided to the people during the past three years.

“The government's propaganda machine during the LG election campaign was an utter failure. It did not take the message of good governance, the benefits enjoyed by the masses, increase in salaries of public servants by Rs.10,000, the price reduction of most essential commodities, the price reduction in medicine, fuel and transport fare and power tariff, constitution of independent commissions etc and restoring of Sri Lanka’s good name among the global community to the people in a convincing manner,” the minister said.

He said he also at fault for not marketing his people-friendly projects as a minister because he never liked to give priority to publicity or politics.

Responding to the Daily Mirror, the minister said it was the responsibility of the UNP and the SLFP to protect good governance because this was a coalition. At the 2015 general election, the voters did not give an absolute majority to any of the two main parties. Therefore, both parties have a mandate to rule the country until 2020 jointly. (Sandun A Jayasekera)