The differences of opinion over the 13th Amendment to the Constitution among the constituent parties of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) have come to the surface with Parliamentary Group Leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) threatening to take to the streets, if the government goes ahead with the Northern Provincial Council elections scheduled for September this year.
Speaking to a packed audience at the Public Library Auditorium yesterday, Parliamentarian Rathana Thera said his party would present a private member motion to abolish the 13th Amendment and the Provincial Council system.
“If the government does not listen to us, and proceeds to conduct the election, we will be on the streets,” he warned to an appreciative audience.
Rathana Thera noted the meeting of the constituent party leaders of the UPFA had not taken place during the last few years.
“The President should urgently summon a meeting of the UPFA leaders during this crisis situation,” he said. He alleged there is no collective responsibility among the UPFA constituent parties.
At the same event, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, delivered a scathing attack against India, describing a recent telephone call by External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid, to G.L. Peiris, as an interference into the internal affairs of the country.
“We will manage our own business. You manage yours,” he said, adding, “Don’t forget this is a sovereign country.” He reminded that at the beginning of the Tamil militancy, the Indians trained 29,000 militants and dispatched them to Sri Lanka to fight against the Sri Lankan Forces that only had 15,000 personnel at the time.
Referring to the current government, he said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had committed a historic mistake, by not amending the Constitution and abolishing the 13th Amendment.
He appealed to all party leaders to allow their members to vote for the private member Bill that will be submitted to Parliament by the JHU to abolish the 13th Amendment.