|Ranjan in a scene from movie Parliament Jokes|
In the latest episode, two candidates of the 2004 general election nominations of the Sri Lanka’s major opposition United National Party are likely to take oaths as Members of Parliament as the parliament meets on April 06 for the extension of emergency for another month, the sole purpose of this so called highest echelon of democracy for the fourth consecutive month.
These candidates are Anura Gopallawa and D.M. Bandaranayake who were next in line of the preferential votes list after Minister Johnston Fernando and Minister Indika Bandaranayaka can take oath as MPs when Parliament meets next time on April 6.
Johnston Fernando contested the 2004 general election from the Kurunegala district and got elected to Parliament with over 100,000 preferential votes. He came second in the list next to former MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera. Indika Bandaranaike was also elected as an MP in 2004 from the same district. Both these MPs crossed over to the government recently and they were sacked by the UNP. They had filed fundamental rights petitions against the party decision but withdrew them after the parliament was dissolved.
What fool would imagine that a parliament that was dissolved right at the end of its term would be re-convened. The two Ministers were thrifty not to pay more money to black coats to safeguard a seat that had already gone. But, anything can happen in this land where politicians are like cricketers that play the ball they are delivered by the bowler. No wonder, Sanath Jayasuriya entering politics. Politics too is a ball by ball play in Sri Lanka. No plan at all. But, fortunately or rather unfortunately, we have the executive presidency that the creator of this menace J.R. Jayawardhana correctly defined as one that has all powers sans that of transforming a man into a woman or wise versa.
MPs Johnston and Indika were not allowed to attend the parliamentary meeting held on March 09 since they had lost the MP posts. It is yet to be made clear how they act as Ministers without being parliamentarians.
In the last Parliament, over 40 members elected on the UNP ticket teamed up with the ruling UPFA and held different portfolios. When the UNP expelled them from the party, they went to court and sought legal redress to retain their positions as MPs. None of them sans Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranayaka lost their MP posts.
The new MPs will hold the posts just for two days if they take oaths on April 06. However, they will withdraw a handsome salary well over Rs. 50,000 with fuel, transport and telephone allowances that worth another Rs. 50,000. They will be paid from public coffers for the sole sitting they attend too.
I am not sure if this is a matter to laugh wildly or cry loudly.