SJB to Parliament in bullock carts

  • Shades of Joint Opposition’s 2017 ‘bicycle and cart show’

By Buddhika Samaraweera


Members of Parliament (MPs) of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the main parliamentary Opposition party, are due to arrive in Parliament today (22) in bullock carts, so as to protest against the Government’s recent decision to increase fuel prices.

As confirmed to The Morning by well-informed sources within the SJB, almost all the MPs representing the party are scheduled to arrive at the Parliamentary Complex in bullock-driven carts.

This appears to be a re-enactment of a similarly flamboyant protest on 9 November 2017 by the then Joint Opposition (JO) in protest over the petrol shortage at the time. Nearly 20 JO members, including then MPs Mahinda Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Sisira Jayakody, and Rohitha Abeygunawardena, arrived at the Parliamentary Complex on bicycles while then MP and current Leader of the House and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena arrived in a bullock cart.

Meanwhile, the no confidence motion (NCM) signed by MPs of the SJB against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila regarding the decision taken to increase fuel prices, is due to be handed over to Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena today as well.

The NCM was signed by SJB MPs at the office of the Opposition Leader on 16 June. The NCM, as of 16 June, had been signed by the Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa; SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara; MPs Tissa Attanayake, Harin Fernando, S.M. Marikkar, Ashok Abeysinghe, Dr. Kavinda Heshan Jayawardhana, Waruna Liyanage, Rauff Hakeem; and several others.

The Energy Ministry, in a statement, announced that the fuel prices would be revised with effect from midnight on 11 June. Accordingly, the price of 92 octane petrol was increased by Rs. 20 per litre and 95 octane petrol by Rs. 23 per litre. The price of a litre of auto diesel was increased by Rs. 7 and that of a litre of super diesel by Rs. 12. The price of a litre of kerosene was increased by Rs. 7. Accordingly, the new price of 92 octane petrol is Rs. 157 per litre while the new price of 95 octane petrol is Rs. 184 per litre. The new price of a litre of auto diesel is Rs. 111 and the new price of a litre of super diesel is Rs. 144. The new price of a litre of kerosene is Rs. 77.