Basil blames public too for crisis

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The public should also be blamed for the current crisis as the Government was brought to power by them, outgoing MP Basil Rajapaksa said.

Rajapaksa added if the Government is pushed into the spotlight in the blame game, of passing the ball, the public should be responsible for handing over the ball (power) to the Government.

He made this statement during a special Media briefing held yesterday (9) to announce his official resignation from his SLPP Parliamentary National List seat.

Rajapaksa noted that he is stepping down from anything construed as a part of State Governance, but that he will remain in politics if the need arises. “What we have realised in the given context is that the SLPP is only good at politics and not State Governance and thereby I have decided to resign from my Parliamentary seat,” he said.

“I am not needed in Parliament anymore, I came to Parliament to take over the position of Minister of Finance and now that I have stepped down from the Ministerial portfolio, I do not belong in Parliament,” he said.

Rajapaksa also observed that he only returned to Sri Lanka due to the bribery and corruption cases filed against him and as several accusations were made against him over former Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa’s loss at the 2015 Presidential Election, due to which he wanted to ensure that the latter would be accepted by the public again, noting thereby, that his primary goals have been achieved.

He added he has no regrets about his work during the period in which he was in power, while noting that he is looking forward for an ultimate system change as opposed to a shuffle of heads. “I am expecting for someone suitable to enter Parliament through the National List made vacant by my resignation, SLPP is still ready for an election and the party is also confident of winning,” he said.

Rajapaksa noted that the party is also ready to permit anyone outside to take over the Parliamentary seat, including those involved in the ongoing anti-Government protest. The final decision on who will however fill the vacant seat is to be made by the party,” he said.

He also noted that the economic crisis persisted even before the incumbent Government came to power and that he took the initiative to hold discussions with the IMF to seek their support during his short tenure as the Minister of Finance.

Commenting on the 21st Amendment, Rajapaksa said, “I am against the 21st Amendment and I don’t intend to be I  Parliament during the Amendment debate as there are provisions that are relevant to me including the dual- citizenship,” adding however that there are certain provisions in the amendment that are favourable including the ones relating to independent commission.

Rajapaksa handed over his resignation letter to Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake on the same day (9).

He was elected to the Ninth Parliament from the National List on 8 July 2021, representing the SLPP as an MP. He then served as the Minister of Finance for several months. He has been a MP twice before.

By Faadhila Thassim