By Saman Indrajith
The SJB yesterday found fault with Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena for having allowed the government to bring forth a gazette notification, on June 26, seeking to reconvene dissolved local government bodies.
SJB Colombo District MP Dr. Harsha de Silva demanded to know why Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana had entertained the gazette notification in the form of a private member motion aimed at reconvening the local government institutions, whose terms had expired.
Dr. de Silva said that the motion was a backdoor attempt to get hold of the power in local government bodies without holding elections. He said so when SLPP backbencher MP Jayantha Ketagoda presented two private member’s motions titled Bill to amend the Pradeshiya Sabha Act, No. 15 of 1987 and Bill to amend the Urban Councils Ordinance (Chapter 255). SLPP MP Sanjeewa Edirimanne seconded the motions.
Dr. de Silva said that as per the new gazette notification all Pradeshiya Sabhas, Urban Councils and Municipal Councils that had been dissolved could be reconvened by the Minister in charge of Local Government and Provincial Councils for a period to be determined by him.
The Municipal Councils Ordinance, the Pradeshiya Sabha Act and the Urban Council Ordinance are to be amended accordingly to reconvene the local bodies.
Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa said it would be undemocratic to reconvene the dissolved local government institutions.
“This is done following the request by kaputa and his ghost and we will go to courts against it,” he said.
MP Jayantha Ketagoda asked the SJB why it was objecting to this move having called upon former Speaker to reconvene the previous Parliament in 2020 following its dissolution in 2019.
“We called for the reconvening of Parliament to decide on how to face the COVID-19 pandemic which was prevailing at that time. There are some idiots who cannot understand that,” Premadasa said.