‘I don’t want finance portfolio. If you want it you can have it’, Mangala tells Malik

It is UNP chairman Malik Samarawickrama who had suggested to government leaders that foreign affairs minister Mangala Samaraweeera should be appointed finance minister at a future cabinet reshuffle, reports say. The UNP chairman is plotting secretly due to the personal animosity he is having with finance minister Ravi Karunanayake.

After getting to know that his name has been proposed by Samarwickrama to be the finance minister, Samaraweera telephoned him and said, “I don’t want the finance portfolio. Let me be as I am now. If you want it so much, why don’t you ask for the finance portfolio? You can work better than me with Charitha and Paskaralingam. Therefore, you are the best person for the job. Do not get me involved.” However, Samarawickrama rejected having made such a proposal.

Meanwhile, when the president inquired from his loyalists in the SLFP about changing the finance portfolio, they replied that Champika Ranawaka would be the best choice. Commenting on that, Ranawaka has told his close associates that the best person to be the finance minister in the present government is Ravi Karunayake, who is a chartered accountant. The finance portfolio does not suit him, he said, noting that he is a chartered engineer and that he will never expect that position.

Moderate political analysts say if Karunanayake is relieved of the finance ministry that will be greatly damaging for the future of the ‘Yahapaalana’ government.

On March 25, Karunanayake is due to leave for London to accept the award for the best finance minister to be presented by ‘The Banker’ magazine.

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