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Govt Wants Sarath Fonseka as defense chief

The government said yesterday that it would disprove claims by a section of the Opposition that it did not have a backbone.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing in Colombo said that the Opposition grouping of parliamentarians led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had accused the government of not having a back bone and being unable to control the increasing number of strikes in the country." We will show them how law and order can be maintained," Senaratne emphasised.

To deal with unruly situations created by bankrupt politicians who were behind disruptions to essential services, President Maithripala Sirisena had, on Tuesday, proposed to the Cabinet of Ministers that Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who was also Regional Development Minister, be put in overall charge of the Security Forces and the Police, Minister Senaratne said.

Senaratne said the President had also revealed that Fonseka was willing to relinquish his ministerial position and take up the new posting if it came with the required powers to do the job expected of him.

Asked if the proposed move was in keeping with the governments policy of good governance, the Minister replied that whatever action taken to ensure the people were provided with their basic needs, would be within the laws of the country.

Fonseka told the media last evening that he was willing to accept the President’s offer.