A delegation of several Members of Parliament (MPs) without ministerial roles has been included in the presidential entourage headed to New York for the UN sessions. It has triggered critical posts on social media with some people viewing it as a drain on the state coffers.
Notable among the MPs in the entourage are Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Rohitha Abeygunawardane, and Premanath C. Dolawatte from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), S. M. M. Muszhaaraff, as well as Vadivel Suresh from the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB).
Vadivel, despite being an opposition MP, made remarks in support of the government in recent times.
In Sri Lankan political culture, it has been customary, if not expected, to include such members in government delegations to foreign countries. This practice has not necessarily been dictated by official requirements but rather by the perceived need to placate these MPs. Consequently, their inclusion often raises questions about the prudent use of public funds, as it may appear as a form of privilege or an unnecessary expense.
The current scenario is marked by dissatisfaction among some senior SLPP MPs who find themselves without Cabinet positions.