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President Of Sri Lanka Suspends The Parliament, Political Turmoil

Under his government, dozens of journalists were killed, abducted and tortured and some fled the country fearing for their lives.

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Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, front left, is sworn in as prime minister before President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

Sri Lanka ’s president suspended parliament Saturday even as the prime minister he fired the previous day claimed he has majority support, adding to a growing political crisis in the island nation.

Chaminda Gamage, a spokesman for the parliamentary speaker, confirmed that President Maithripala Sirisena had suspended parliament until Nov. 16.

The suspension came while ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was holding a news conference in which he asserted that he could prove his majority support in parliament.

Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet Friday and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, creating what some observers said could be a constitutional crisis in the South Asian island nation.

 

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Sri Lanka’s ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reacts during a news conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, VOA

 

Constitutional crisis

Wickremesinghe said parliament should be allowed to resolve the political crisis.

“As far as the prime ministership is concerned, the person who has the majority support in parliament has to be the prime minister, and I have that majority of support,” he said. “When a motion of no confidence was moved (in the past), we defeated it showing that the house has the confidence in me.”

“It is not necessary for us to create a crisis. It is not necessary for the people of the country to suffer,” Wickremesinghe said.

Tensions have been building up between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe for some time, because the president did not approve of some of the economic reforms being introduced by the prime minister. Sirisena was also critical of police investigations into military personnel accused in the abductions and disappearances of civilians and journalists during Sri Lanka’s long civil war, which ended a decade ago.

 

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Sri Lankan former President Mahinda Rajapakse addresses journalists at his residence in Colombo, Sept. 22, 2018. Rajapakse has been appointed the Sri Lanka’s new prime minister. VOA

Strongman returns

Rajapaksa ruled Sri Lanka as president for nine years beginning in 2005, accumulating immense power and popularity among the country’s majority ethnic Sinhalese after overseeing the military’s brutal defeat of ethnic Tamil rebels in May 2009, ending the 25-year civil war. Some supporters hailed him as a king and savior.

But he also was criticized for failing to allow an investigation into allegations of war crimes by the military. Under his government, dozens of journalists were killed, abducted and tortured and some fled the country fearing for their lives. He lost a bid for re-election in 2015 amid mounting allegations of corruption and nepotism.

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His return to power as prime minister could signal that Sri Lanka is sliding back to an era of violence against political opponents, critics and journalists, observers said. (VOA)

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Narendra Modi Dismisses The Opposition Grand Alliance as a ‘Failed Experiment’

Calling upon every party worker to ensure that his booth was strong, he said that nothing could stop the party from coming back to power in the coming elections

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dismissed the Opposition grand alliance as a “failed experiment” and said that parties are coming together to defeat “one man” to form a “majboor” (helpless) government for solely indulging in corruption while the country wants a “majboot” (strong) government.

Asserting that there has not been a single scam in his government, he said this was proof that a government can be run without corruption.

In his valedictory remarks winding up the two-day BJP National Convention at the Ramlila Maidan here, he came down heavily on the opposition parties, saying there were aligning for their “self interest” while the BJP-led NDA government was fighting for the nation’s interest.

“These days a campaign has been going on to promote mahagathbandhan which is a failed experiment of Indian political history. The parties, which were born protesting against the Congress, its working culture and its corrupt practices, are now uniting,” Modi said in a direct attack on most of the regional parties which are forging a grand alliance with the Congress at the national level.

He told over 12,000 delegates including from top brass to district-level office bearers that these political parties were surrendering to the Congress at a time when the grand old party was at its lowest ebb and its leaders were out on bail in corruption cases.

“These parties (the regional parties), which had emerged as options against Congress, have betrayed the people’s mandate and trust,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that when such alliances take shape, the governments in those states work under political compulsions and cited the examples of recent developments in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

“The Chief Minister of Karnataka (H.D. Kumaraswamy) is saying that he was working like a clerk and not as a Chief Minister. In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the governments are being threatened (by allies) to take back cases or face the consequences,” he said calling these incidents as “trailers” of the grand alliance.

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Mahagathbandhan a failed experiment, country wants a majboot not majboor sarkar: Modi. VOA

Modi said that politics is done on the basis of ideologies and alliances are made on visions but for the first time it is happening that “when all are uniting against one man”.

“You need to understand and make the people understand what is behind their intentions. They have joined hands to form a ‘majboor’ government because they do not want to see a strong government which has ended all the corrupt practices,” he said.

“They want to do good to their families and relatives, while the country wants a strong government so that everyone can develop. They want a government which can broker in defence deals while the country wants a strong government to fulfil every need of the armed forces.

“They want a helpless government so that they can do scams in the name of farmers’ loan waiver while we want a strong government to empower the farmer. They want a government so that the urea scam can happen, while we want a government so that the farmers get fertilizers on time and fair price of their crops,” he said.

Referring to various alleged corruption cases like 2G, 3G and CWG of the UPA regime, the Prime Minister attacked the Congress and their allies and said his government was giving modern facilities to the children so that they can move forward in the field of sports with honesty and transparency.

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“We want a strong government so that everyone in the country can take advantage of Digital India Mission, so that the country could feel proud on the success of Gaganyaan, so that the country gets benefits with the mines,” he said.

Referring to his government’s ambitious Ayushmann Bharat Scheme, he said that his government was focussing to provide free treatment to 100 million families while the opposition wanted a government which could do scams in the healthcare sector.

Calling upon every party worker to ensure that his booth was strong, he said that nothing could stop the party from coming back to power in the coming elections.

“Last four years have taught us that nothing is impossible. We have made it possible. When we took over, we inherited a weak foundation. Today our foundation is getting stronger. Imagine what will happen if we get another five-year term,” he said. (IANS)