UNP's Ratnapura District Parliamentarian Talatha Atukorale, the sister of the late Gamini Atukorale, one-time UNP General Secretary, castigated her leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, for rushing to talk on constitutional amendments with President Rajapaksa.
Her criticism came at a joint meeting of the party Parliamentarians and the Working Committee at 'Siri Kotha', the party headquarters in Kotte, on September 1.
Then, Ms. Atukorale raised issue over how Matara District MP, Buddhika Pathirana, held a ceremony to welcome the 11th batch of students for a computer course conducted by the Matara Samadhi Development Foundation at Nupe, Matara. Pathirana had invited Namal Rajapaksa, MP as the chief guest.
Ms. Atukorale said a party MP had invited a UPFA member. The party leader was having tea with his father, President Mahinda Rajapaksa. She wanted to know what all this meant.
Retorted Wickremesinghe "I did not drink tea. I don't drink tea. I had a cup of coffee." But he didn't answer the question either.
Police told to allow demo
Police Chief, Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya, deployed ten DIGs to be in charge of security last Wednesday when Parliament debated and passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
At one point, he was ready to order his men to put a stop to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) demonstration.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who got wind of the move, immediately ordered him not to do so. He said the JVP should be allowed to stage the protest.
Dr. Balasuriya was a happy man that the day's events ended without much trouble.
Farce behind the fireworks
After the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in Parliament there were many street celebrations. Large stocks of crackers were set off. This was in the presence of a large number of UPFA supporters.
But at least one of them was strange. That was in front of the Town Hall. A fireworks company had been given a contract. They arrived with the stocks in a lorry, set up the firecrackers and awaited a telephone call.
They received a call on a mobile phone, soon after the voting took place. They set off the fire crackers and left in their vehicles. Unlike in other locations it was only six persons from the company who were involved in it. This was not People Power - but Some-People Power.
Piyasena takes TNA for a ride
Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarians heard that the solitary Sinhala MP in the their party, Podiappu Piyasena, was to support the 18th Amendment.
A day before Parliament sessions, TNA members confronted him with the reports, but he flatly denied saying they were only 'rumours'. He wanted a five-minute slot from TNA's allotted time to speak against the amendments.
However in his speech he praised President Mahinda Rajapaksa comparing him with Mathama Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. He called for a ban on the TNA, the party on whose ticket he was elected in Trincomalee District.
The TNA members angered by the moved called up pParliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan who is in India receiving medical treatment. They criticized him for giving Mr. Piyasena nominations, ignoring other prominent prospective candidates.
Deputy Minister's double birthday
Staff attached to the Media Unit of the Deputy Transport Minister Rohana Dissanayake, wanted to suprise their boss.
They had seen his personal profile on Facebook. It said his birthday was on 03. 09 of a year.
To make sure Mr. Dissanayake came to office on that day, they said there was something that needed to be discussed.
The unsuspected Deputy Minister arrived. He was surprised when he saw a cake on a table with the marking "happy birthday. "Mey mokadda mey" (What is this?) he asked. "Sir, this is for your birthday," declared a staffer. "Today is not my birthday. Anyway let us eat the cake," he said.
It was cut and Mr. Dissanayake had the first piece. Thereafter, it was distributed all round.
Then, Mr. Dissanayake declared there was a mistake in Facebook. His birthday was on 09.03 and not 03. 09. There was laughter.
Actress lost for words
UNP Parliamentarian Upeksha Swarnamali who along with six others supported the vote on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution on Wednesday seemed lost for words when journalists asked for her comments after the Bill was passed.
"I can’t, I can't" was all she managed to say when pressed. However she was prompted to by MP Manusha Nanayakkara, another UNP MP who voted with the Government. Being an actress, it must be easier to follow a script than making impromptu comments.
It was Sankapali
Minister Dinesh Gunawardena's only son Yadamini has written into say that it was his sister, Sankapali who got married last month. She is now Sankapali Tillekeratne.
Seneviratne shunned by both UNP sides
Renegade UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne went to the funeral of one-time NCP Parliamentarian and Minister H.G.P. Nelson, but was ignored by most UNP MPs who were once shoulder-to-shoulder with him trying to bring changes to the party leadership.
The anti-Ranil Wickremesinghe group (or pro-Sajith Premadasa faction) is now being incessantly accused by party loyalists of being 'contractors' for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was most upset when Talatha Atukorale in particular also ignored him.
Only Rukman Senanayake -spoke to him; probably due to old school-ties. Both were products of S. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia.
Keheliya's six-acre manifesto
A journalist at the post-Cabinet news conference questioned Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella as to why the President had not declared in the Mahinda Chinthanaya that he would be amending the Constitution so that he could contest a third term.
The simple answer was "how do you expect to put down everything in the manifesto". "We may need a document spreading six acres if were to put down everything we planned to do".
Now, why didn't the journalist think of that before asking such a question from such a minister.