Close to Rs 10 million are reported to have been set aside for a special celebration welcoming President Maithripala Sirisena’s return to the island after attending the sessions of the UN General Assembly.
It is reported that SLFP stalwarts S.B. Dissanayake, Nimal Siripala de Silva and Nimal Lansa had pressurized the Chairman, Airport and Aviation Services Authority Ananda Wimalasena to foot this enormous bill. The Chairperson is reported to have said that the Authority is not in a position to do so and furthermore insisted that President Maithripala Sirisena was against lavish spending on these kinds of celebrations. He had said that a modest welcome is planned and that he was not certain who would pick up the bill. He furthermore refuted the report, saying that he was not under any kind of political pressure.
However, contrary to the claim of modesty, cut-outs and posters of the President have appeared all over Colombo in a throwback to the Mahinda Rajapaksa era of mindless sycophancy.
Dissanayake, Siripala and Lansa were at the forefront of party that welcomed the President when he arrived. It is unclear which of their ministries would pick up the massive bill.