By Saman Indrajith
Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa told Parliament yesterday that he would neither agree with nor approve everything that his father former President Ranasinghe Premadasa had done.
During a heated exchange with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena over an issue of the transferring of a trade union leader, the Opposition Leader said that he would only approve of only the right things his father had done.
The Opposition Leader said that a public sector trade union leader had been transferred from Colombo to Kalawana for using office email for a trade union purpose.
Prime Minister Gunawardena said: “If you had indicated to me early that this matter would be raised in the House, I would have come prepared to answer your question. Therefore, I need time to make inquiries with the relevant ministry and the department before I give a complete answer to this issue. I am indeed happy to see that the Opposition Leader standing up to speak of the trade union leaders’ plight because during the times of his father, the trade unionists were sent home enmasse.
Once they sacked 83,000 of workers who had engaged in a strike, demanding a mere salary increment. I was on the Opposition side at that time and we repeatedly asked the government to reinstate them but not a single worker was given his job back. We are not a government that takes revenge from trade unions.”
Opposition Leader: I do not think your son would do everything that you do. I am not a son of that type. I am an independent person and I think independently. I have my own conscience. Providing mid-day meals to school children was one good deed that my father did. You mentioned something my father did to the unionists. Do you want me to emulate him and to walk the same path my father took? Do you mean that I should do everything that my father did?”
Prime Minister Gunawardena: You can walk any road that you like. It is not a problem for us. What I am telling you is to choose the right path.