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Blind leading the blind, CMC in a ditch

 The spectacular chaos over the Colombo Municipal Council election exploded in pandemonium yesterday when the controversial council held its first meeting presided over by the equally controversial Mayor Imtiyaz U. Mohamed.

The uproar which eventually led to fisticuffs started when the opposition demanded the election of standing committee members before the speeches of members could begin.

Responding to this the Mayor said that members should be allowed to speak first. Since there was no agreement he adjourned the sessions for five minutes. When the sessions recommenced a large number of members including members of the Spectacle group called for the election of standing committee members. Later the Mayor who was under pressure left after adjourning the sessions. It was later reported that he was taken to Cinnamon Gardens Police Station for protection.

However the majority of the members stayed behind while the staff members including Municipal Secretary Manel Dharmadasa tried to walk out when UPFA Member Tony Ramzi prevented her by pushing her.

After the Mayor left Opposition Member Dayakantha Perera went to Deputy Mayor S. Rajendran, grabbed him and took him to the Mayor’s chair and made him sit there.

Later the Deputy Mayor called for a discussion but it was rejected by the members. Mr. Rajendran then said he had to refer the matter to the Municipal Commissioner and the Legal Department. However Opposition Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara responded by saying that the law gives the Deputy Mayor power to conduct the sessions. Mr. Rajendran then said he was ready to commence the sessions. At that moment MMC Ramzi started ringing the quorum bell. While he was doing so UPFA member Ajantha Liyanage pushed him resulting in fisticuffs. While the two members were so engaged Mr. Rajendran and Ms. Dharmadasa left the chambers.

Later Mr. Nanayakkara said the opposition would resort to elect its own Mayor citing the law. He said when the Mayor does something illegal the members can elect a new mayor. He said the whole thing was a conspiracy of the UNP. He also blamed Municipal Commissioner Dr. Jayantha Liyanage saying that he was helping the UNP.

“We will take disciplinary action against the Commissioner and the other staff members” he said.

The opposition also accused former UNP councillors of directing the mayor from outside the chamber. Dr. Liyanage dismissed Mr. Nanayakkara’s claim saying that no one can conduct the sessions when Mayor adjourns it.

“ I am not working for the interests of the UNP as I am from the UPFA,” he said.

The next session of the council is due within 15 days.

Daily Mirror By Yohan Perera

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June 29, 2006 - Posted by | Media Journalism, News and politics, Press Release, South Asia, World News

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