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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

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Welcome call

The call made by chief incumbent of the Gangaramaya Temple the Ven Galaboda Gnanissara Thera to Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa to rebuild and develop the country is a timely one. There can be no better time than this for some sober thinking on the part of our political leaders based on the need to take the country forward after decades of turmoil and turbulence that debilitated the country’s economy and ruined its development prospects.

Although the Ven Thera did not expressly state the point this cooperation should be reciprocated by the Government if it is to be sustained. One only recalls that during the Kumaratunga administration how similar cooperation was pledged only to be soon undermined by utterances and actions on the part of both sides. Even the tsunami disaster was not large enough to sustain such cooperation.

Therefore while welcoming Opposition support and cooperation it is also incumbent on the part of the Government to reciprocate such a gesture in a genuine way. No room should be made by Government politicians to belittle such cooperation by loose talk as happened in the past. Ditto for the media who should also act with responsibility and not rock the boat but instead foster and nurture such unity efforts.

Speaking at a ceremony attended by both President Rajapaksa and the Opposition Leader at the Gangaramaya on Sunday morning the podihamuduruwo told the latter to support the President’s efforts to develop the country for at least one year. Coming as it does from Ven Gnanissara Thera who is well connected to the Wickremesinghe family the call cannot be but a genuine one with the interest of the country at heart. One hopes that the UNP leader would pay heed to this call and extend his support to the President to take the country towards economic stability.

It has been the norm in democracies that the Opposition cooperate with the incumbent Government at a time of crisis or in the national interest. This happened in Britain during World War II, a move which received the endorsement of the entire British polity. Back at home during the 1971 insurgency then Opposition Leader J R Jayewardene extended his support to Premier Sirimavo Bandaranaike to crush the uprising to protect democracy.

While it could be argued that no such crisis of these proportions exits now in Sri Lanka with the vanquishing of terrorism, there is nevertheless no gainsaying the need to win the economic war which is as important as winning the war against terrorism. It is in this context that the appeal mad