The reason was that due to the Indian Premiers visit to Sri Lanka, President Sirisena had notified them that he would be delayed for about an hour, due to his involvement with the preparations for the Indian PMs visit. Hence, Arjuna had several other ministers had inaugurated the pandal.
However, the President had later notified the organisers that he would be attending the ceremony to declare open the digital pandal and the organisers had then quickly switched off the lights and the president had opened it again.
Arjuna avoids attending Ranil’s opening
Meanwhile, yesterday’s opening was by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe but the Port and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunge was not present at the opening.
According to port workers, he avoided the opening ceremony for fear of photographs being published of him together with the Prime Minister.
Arjuna on a pedestal through port dansala
A huge dansala was also organised by the Port for the fourth year.
However, although huge banners were erected claiming that the dansala was a social service endeavour of the Arjuna Ranatunge CSR foundation, In fact the dansala and the Vesak zone were both organised by the Port Authority, Port Ministry and the Port Buddhist Association.
Yesterday too it was the port kitchen staff that prepared the food for the dansala and the raw materials the preparation of the meals were donated by the businessmen supplying gods to the port kitchen.
Although the Union leaders are perturbed by these events, they fear to express their displeasure openly as previously too several union leaders who had opposed certain actions of the minister were punished having been falsely blamed for various reasons.