NEW DELHI: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday spoke about the need to take opposing parties for a ‘new political culture’, which was also a loaded commentary on current impasse in India’s Parliamentary system.
“Imagine the BJP taking the Congress general secretary to be their Prime Ministerial candidate,” Wickremesinghe said at a function organised by India Foundation.
Naturally, the audience, comprising members or supporters of the ruling party for the event organised by the BJP-aligned think-tank, laughed at the impossibility of that example. There were three ministers in attendance, along with several senior party leaders.
The Lankan Prime Minister used the analogy to illustrate the audacity of the UNP-led coalition making Maithripala Sirisena as their candidate at the presidential polls in January - in which he trounced the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Wickremesinghe gave details on how the national government has plans to change the parliamentary structure to make it more accountable. “I am planning to have a Prime Minister’s question hour every month,” he said.
He went into the details of how the government grappled with the seating plan in Parliament, as a result of two rival parties coming together.
“Let’s make the whole Parliament a government,” Wickremsinghe said on his plan to get all parties on board to allow for greater parliamentary oversight.
Taking a dig at the political stalemate in India, Wickremesinghe said, “We are learning from you on what happens if the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha don’t see eye to eye”. There was again a titter from the audience, including a smile from the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu who sat on the dias.
“Luckily, we worked around by bringing two parties together,” Wickremesinghe said.