ECONOMYNEXT – Last week’s war of words between former MP Harin Fernando and Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has exposed prime ministerial hopeful Sajith Premadasa as a weak and naive leader, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said.
Former JVP parliamentarian Bimal Rathnayake told reporters this morning that Premadasa had “dragged” Fernando to see the cardinal last weekend, despite the latter reportedly sticking to his guns.
After a speech in which he criticised the archbishop for playing politics with the Easter Sunday attacks drew some criticism, Fernando doubled down on his position, issuing a statement in which he quoted the Bible to justify his comments.
This showed that the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) candidate truly believed what he said, whether it was true or not, said Rathnayake.
“Yet, Premadasa said before the media that the problem was solved. It’s clear that he’s engaged in populist politics rather than politics based on policies,” he said, adding that the SJB leader fails to see the depth of the sociopolitical issues facing the country.
Premadasa and Fernando visited the cardinal last Saturday after the dispute between the two made headlines throughout last week. In his controversial speech, Fernando had accused Malcom Ranjith of partisanship which he claimed had cost Premadasa five per cent of the Catholic vote at last year’s presidential election.
The SJB subsequently apologised to the archbishop, amid mounting criticism from pro-government politicians and public figures. The Archdiocese of Colombo also charged that Fernando’s comments were unfounded and uncalled for and were made for cheap political gain.
Responding to the criticism, Fernando accused some unnamed media institutions of editing his speech in order to create tensions between members of the Catholic community and his party. (Colombo/June29/2020)