Cabinet size, luxury vehicles draw JVP fire
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 11:45 GMT]
The extreme Sinhala nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Parliamentarian Nandana Gunatillake severely criticised the new Government of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse during the Budget debate Tuesday for appointing a large cabinet thus violating the election pledge. He said the President has appointed all 60 Parliamentarians of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), including their allies, except SLFP Parliamentarian Nirupama Rajapakse, as Ministers and deputy Ministers in the SL Government.
Mr Gunatillake who assisted the Lankan president Rajapakse during his election campaign said that the number of Ministers and the Deputy Ministers appointed in the new cabinet was against the pledges mentioned in Rajapakse's election manifesto known as "mahinda Chinthana," the thinking of Mahinda.
"President Rajapakse said during the election campaign that the cabinet would be small. However the number of members in the cabinet is very much more than what was expected. Some cabinet members have already requested for very expensive luxuryg vehicles, some costing Rs 14 million," Gunatillake said.
The JVP which did not want to have any portfolio in the Rajapakse Government has been insisting on minimizing unnecessary expenditures.
The JVP Parliamentarian also said that President Rajapakse has failed to create a new political culture expected from him. His Ministerial appointments showed that his approach to forming cabinets is very similar to that of opposition United National Party where exorbitant amount of tax payers money is being wasted by rewarding party members with cabinet positions with perks that Sri Lanka cannot afford.