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Thursday, 27 September 2012

'Minnal' programme on 23 September 2012 with Sri Ranga MP

Sri Ranga MP hosts a healthy political discussion with Justice Minister Mr Rauf Hakeem who is the National leader of Muslim Congress and Mr K. Velayutham of UNP in the popular 'Minnal’ programme of Shakthi TV on 23 September 2012
The Minister Rauf Hakeem is with the UPFA government where Muslim Congress is a constituent party.  As we all are aware, the Muslim congress (MC) became the king maker of governing the Provincial Council (PC) of the Eastern provincial Council (EPC) of Sri Lanka comprising three main administrative districts of Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara. Muslim Congress successfully secured 132,917 votes (and 7 seats) after contesting independently and finally, joined with the UPFA Government to govern the EPC despite Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) offer to let MC to govern with the promise of appointing a nominee of the MC to become the Chief Minister (CM). UPFA secured 200,044 votes (and 14 seats) and TNA secured 193,827 votes (and 11 seats) in the EPC election held on 8 September 2012.

Mr K. Velautham is a former Member of Parliament from UNP and current Deputy Chairman of the United National Party. This Minnal discussion was held in the background of recently held Eastern Provincial election and emergence of numerous news paper reports following MC’s alliance with UPFA with several questions, assumptions, mistrust, heated expressions, and pool of different perspectives.

After a series of discussions on different subjects during the Minnal programme, it seems that the decision of the MC to contest independently and finally joining the UPFA was a tactical one for the betterment of its community and the leadership seems keen to join hands with TNA to develop the EP.  Min. Rauf Hakeem seems to be optimistic about the working with all stakeholders, especially  TNA and UPFA in the EPC while putting his weights behind the ‘deals’ made with the UPFA (though he does not want to make them public right now!). He says the deal is aimed at development of the Muslim Community, and not to achieve self gains. The leadership seems confident and fully aware of the political realities, shows patience, maintains bargaining power, offers ‘olive leaves’ to all while not afraid to express his own opinions (but of course, very politely!) – all hallmarks of a successful and matured politician!.

While MC’s achievement of the objectives waiting to be seen in the future, the Minister is optimistic about the results of his decisions, and his calculations behind his critical decision and giving support to UPFA may not go wrong!. The Minister also indicated it was him who requested to meet TNA, but due to another urgent request from UPFA the meeting had to be re-scheduled (not cancelled!) after discussing with his party men for which he apologised to TNA. MC also met TNA within the next 48 hours. He requested the Tamil press to understand this, and hear out and publish both sides of the stories as MC have no special media to convey their messages. He emphasised that his party do politics in an honest way, with an open mind and he has nothing to hide.

These are the key issues/questions appeared in the press and extracts of the discussions focused on finding response from MC to hear their side of the storeys in respect of these issues and of course to put challenging views from outside callers as well as Mr Velayutham.

Key Issues / questions

Ø  Why MC rejected TNA’s offer to govern the EP? Why a most publicised key meeting between MC & TNA was cancelled at the final minute?

Ø  Why the wider opinion was created before the election about Minister Raul Hakem resigning from the Justice Minister post?  Was it stage managed by the leader and a member of MC in order to obtain sympathy votes?

Ø  Why did Minister Raul Hakeen at recently held EPC election rallies expressed against the government and after winning the elections MC did a ‘U’ turn?

Ø  The result of the election is an endorsement of the voters that MC should contest independently, and then why party went against the wishes of its constituents?

Ø  Why did MC join the Government despite some extremists representing Sinhalese community even tried to demolish a mosque in Dambulla?

Ø  Why did a political party like MC representing a minority community decide to support Government in the alleged current situation where it is alleged that the legal rights provisioned in PC can not be exercised by the governing minority party due to influence and obstacles placed by the Government (e.g., exercise of Land & Police Powers provisioned in the 13th Amendments of the Constitution)?

Ø  The question of pardon for and release of Tamil prisoners still languishing in prisons after end of war with Tamil Tigers in May 2009 and what are initiatives taken by the Justice Ministry to that effect?

Ø  Willingness of MC joining hands with TNA to govern the Eastern Province in the future?

Ø    Is it true that President Mahinda Rajapaksa ask Minister Rauf Hakeem to form alliance with TNA to govern EPC as speculated by Mr R Sampanthan?

Check out the following links for videos with answers and healthy discussions:

PART 10 – a must watch video! and really it was a good conclusion with ‘future of minorities and their parties’ in their mind!

For archive of ‘Minnal’ programme and various discussions please visit:

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