Ranil asked me to read a book – Rajiva
February 26, 2015 03:48 pm
Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe says that he was asked by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe to read a book titled ‘Art of the Possible’, when he explained to the latter regarding his concerns and the inability to continue serving as the State Minister for Higher Education.
Prof. Wijesinghe, who has openly his displeasure over certain decisions made in the Higher Education Ministry without his consult, has tendered his resignation from the ministerial portfolio in the wake of the sacking of University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama.
Prof. Wijesinghe has said that the decision was taken while he was away from the country, without his consent and that he has endered his resignation to the President through the Minister of Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion, Kabeer Hashim.
However, Minister Hashim had assured that he would speak with Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe regarding the matter and request that Prof. Wijesinghe offered the Cabinet Ministerial portfolio of Higher Education.
Last week, the Prime Minister contacted Rajiva Wijesinghe, via a phone call, and inquired regarding the matter.
Prof. Wijesinghe said that after listening to his grievances the Prime Minister asked him to read the book titled “Art of the Possible,” the memoirs of Baron Richard Austen Butler, a former British Conservative politician who was twice passed over for the post of British PM.
“The Prime Minister called me on the 16th (of February) in the evening. He asked me to read Butler’s ‘Art Of The Possible’ and that he would call me back on the 17th. Today is the 26th. I don’t know whether he thinks I’m still reading the book, because it has been 10 days. I don’t know whether he thinks it usually takes that long to read the book,” he told Ada Derana.
Prof. Wijesinghe said he did not read the book as he does not have the time to do so and that he does not know whether the Prime Minister was joking or being direct.
“I actually prefer to work instead of reading the book because we started of saying good governance. Therefore we have to work as the name implies.”
Asked whether his resignation has been accepted or whether has received a response from President Maithripala Sirisena, Prof. Wijesinghe said he informed the President’s Private Secretary Palitha Pelpola regarding the matter and that, however, he is yet to receive a proper response.
Prof. Wijesinghe stated that he no longer visits the Ministry of Higher Education and that he these days he is at home awaiting a response or confirmation regarding the Cabinet ministerial portfolio.