Do not mislead Mahanayaka Theras for political gain – Sajith

Sajith Premadasa

New Democratic Front Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa, in a strongly worded letter to Opposition Leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has condemned the Opposition Leader’s call for the Mahanayaka Theras to intervene on his side in an attempt to discredit the Premadasa presidential manifesto.

Pointing out that he, Premadasa, had already provided the Buddhist Prelates with copies of his manifesto, the NDF candidate and UNP deputy leader argued that the Venerable Mahanayaka Theras would not be misled by Rajapaksa’s mis-interpretation of the manifesto.

The mis-interpretation of the manifesto and the false call to the Mahanayaka Theras were a ploy to swing votes in favor of a ‘political coalition packed with every breed of extremists’ that was supporting candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Premadasa said.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms your desperate attempt to drag the Venerable Mahanayake Theras of the Three Nikayas into your fear mongering election campaign,” he told Mahinda Rajapaksa in a letter that was also issued to the public. .

“Your political coalition is packed with every breed of extremist our country has seen.

I cannot fathom how a political leader of your maturity is fanning the flames and sowing division among citizens you have sworn to protect in your pursuit of power.”

Defending his manifesto’s policy commitment to a maximum devolution within a unitary state by referring to it as an ‘undivided and indivisible country’, Premadasa tells Rajapaksa: “You may call it a unitary state but I have pledged repeatedly and categorically that I will not only protect our state but its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.”

Premadasa also called out Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) nominee Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his failure to “muster the courage” to face a debate. The letter then challenges the former President to give answers to certain questions regarding the SLPP presidential campaign.

Premadasa questions what he calls the ‘secret deals’ through which the SLPP presidential campaign has sought the allegiance of former LTTE eastern commander Pillayan, former North-Eastern Province break-away chief minister Vardaraja Perumal, Tiger Eastern leader Karuna Amman and controversial Sharia University entrepreneur former Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M Hisbullah.

The Premadasa letter states: “I condemn in the strongest possible terms your desperate attempt to drag the Venerable Mahanayake Theras of the Three Nikayas into your fearmongering election campaign.

On Wednesday, you publicly appealed to these Venerable Prelates to inject themselves into a political debate on your behalf by manipulating and misrepresenting the letter and spirit of my election manifesto. For your information, the Venerable Mahanayake Theras were among the first to receive copies of my manifesto. I have nothing to hide from the people of this country.

I am committed to maximum devolution within an “Ekiya Rajya.” I call it an “undivided and indivisible country.” You may call it a “unitary state.” I have pledged repeatedly and categorically that I will protect not only the unity of our state (“Ekiyathvaya”), but also its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. The greatest threat that I see to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state is a cabal of extremists who will stop at nothing to terrify and divide our people just to consolidate their own power.

The political coalition that you lead is packed with every breed of extremist our country has ever seen. Since your brother the candidate cannot muster the courage to face a debate or answer any question of substance, perhaps you can give the people the answers he will not to the following questions.

1. Your secret deal with Pillayan

You have already made clear that in return for the support of Pillayan, you will absolve him of responsibility for the vicious execution of a Member of Parliament who was was on his knees praying before his God at Christmas Mass. Once you have set him free, will you once again allow Pillayan to terrorize the people of the East, whose children he once stole and forced to fight for Eelam?

2. Your secret deal with Vardaraja Perumal

Vardaraja Perumal, who has sworn allegiance to your brother, is someone who as Chief Minister of the North-East illegally declared a state of Eelam and hoisted the Eelam flag. What did you have to promise to win the allegiance of this Eelamist?

3. Your secret deal with Karuna Amman

Karuna Amman murdered 600 police officers, bombed our most sacred Dalada Maligawa and slaughtered villagers in Aranthalawa in cold blood. What was the cost of his allegiance to your brother?

4. Your secret deal with M.L.A.M. Hisbullah

After your party screeched from every rooftop that M.L.A.M. Hisbullah was a terrorist complicit in the Easter Sunday attacks, what secret deal have you offered him in exchange for him asking his supporters to cast their second preference vote for your brother?

I cannot fathom how a political leader of your maturity, who has witnessed the devastation wrought by endless ethnic strife, could continue sowing divisions and fanning flames of fear among the citizens you have sworn to protect, merely because of your pursuit of power.

It is your duty as much as it is mine to reach out across ethnic and religious divisions, unite all Sri Lankans and move forward together, not to seduce our citizenry into turning on each other for petty political gain. I refuse to be lectured on defending our sovereignty and Constitution by a politician who only one year ago trampled our Supreme Law to seize power in an unconstitutional coup d’état.

I do not believe it is a coincidence that you were defeated five years ago at a presidential election held on January 8, the anniversary of the murder of senior editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. Perhaps it is your destiny that the upcoming election falls on November 16, the one-year anniversary of the day the whole country saw how you and your allies reacted in Parliament to the democratic defeat of your ill-conceived power grab. I firmly believe that on this anniversary, the people of this country will prove once and for all that they value their democracy over your family’s unquenchable thirst for power.”

(Source: Daily News)