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Malcolm Cardinal Ranjit and Harin Fernando patch up their differences

ALL SMILES – Malcolm Cardinal Ranjit poses with Samagi Jana Balavegaya leader Sajith Premadasa and candidate Harin Fernando at Bishops House on June 27

ECONOMYNEXT – Former Member of Parliament Harin Fernando has met Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and two have made up after a spat between the Catholic Bishop of Colombo and the former Minister made news for a few days last week.

The Samagi Jana Balavegaya leader Sajith Premadasa and Fernando called on the Cardinal today Saturday June 27, and exchanged views.

“We had a cordial exchange and the issues that were there have been resolved,” Premadasa told reporters outside the Archbishop’s House.

“We accept the advise and blessings of the Cardinal as a party and so does Mr. Fernando,” Premadasa added.

The dispute arose after Fernando accused the Cardinal of “playing politics” during last year’s presidential poll, when he addressed a political rally in Polonnaruwa a week ago.

Fernando said because of the Cardinal’s partisan actions the five per cent Catholic vote went to Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Fernando who is contesting the General Elections as a national list candidate asked who was responsible for swinging the votes other than the Cardinal.

“They (the Podujana Peramuna) targeted the Catholic vote through the Easter attacks,” he charged.

A few days later the SJB apologised to the Cardinal for Fernando’s remarks, and said the remarks made were entirely his own and did not reflect the views of the party.

Responding to his speech, the Archdiocese of Colombo charged yesterday that the comments were unfounded and uncalled for and were made for cheap political gain.

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“[Fernando]  has treated His Eminence with derision when he stated that because of His Eminence, the UNP Candidate Hon Sajith Premadasa had been deprived of the Catholic votes during the last Presidential Election, which is totally a fabrication of his own imagination (sic),” the Archdiocese said in a statement.

“Lest one forget, it was His Eminence who gave leadership to a country wrecked in political turmoil and it was solely due to his efforts that clashes between the different communities were prevented in the aftermath of the tragic Easter Sunday bomb blasts,” the statement added.

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 the SJB, both of which he is a member. (Colombo, June 27, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana