Ongoing discussions between the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) are progressing smoothly. The talks are productive and fruitful, Opposition and SLPP leader Mahinda Rajapaksa says.
“The people have reached one conclusion; they cannot suffer any longer under this government. President Maithripala Sirisena has trust and faith on the SLPP, which is the only hope for the people of the country now”, he stressed.
Asked about speculation that some SLFP and UNP stalwarts are planning to join ranks with the SLPP, Rajapaksa replied, “I cannot comment on it at this juncture. Let’s see later”.
In an interview with our sister newspaper Sunday Divaina, he said the SLPP has become hugely popular throughout the country over a short period of time. In addition, the party has become popular even among Sri Lankans living overseas. The SLPP has gathered so much momentum that even foreigners are conveying their best wishes to the party.
“We are in the process of setting up SLPP branch organizations island-wide. A large number of them have already been established. With the sorry state the UNP has plunged into, a sizable number of the party’s members have joined hands with us”, Rajapaksa asserted.
He said the SLPP’s door-to-door campaign has been a grand success. The people in the North and the East in particular have also developed an understanding on the mission and vision of the party.
Those who were confined to air-conditioned rooms in fear during the scourge of LTTE terrorism are now visiting the North and talking like heroes. What did they do on behalf of the people in the North? We ended the war. It was our government which developed the North. We looked into the grievances of the people in the North, the SLPP leader noted.
“Our recent Youth Convention was a big success with a large turnout of the younger generation. They are supporting us”, he said.
Q: But, journalists were debarred entry to the Youth Convention.
That happened due to the lapse of one or two people. That’s over now. However, I have asked for an inquiry report on it. Some of our detractors tried to sling mud at us using this incident as a cover. That was not successful. They are struggling to eclipse their shortcomings when in reality they are still unable to even announce their presidential contender.
At an election, what can those in government say about working towards the welfare of the people. What can they say they did in this regard? The masses are in a helpless grip today with the unbearable cost of living coupled with the burden of taxes. The economy has hit a new low.
Q: What are your views on the Easter Sunday terror attacks?
There’s nothing more to add on this. The people have grasped the situation.
Q: The Opposition has not raised issue over the bond scam where former Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran’s name featured in a big way.
What are you saying? We have spoken about Arjuna Mahendran quite often. We continue to raise the issue. I don’t think Arjuna Mahendran can give the slip to the police any longer. We have got to know that he will be tracked down soon. Not only during this election, but even earlier Arjuna Mahendran has been a good topic.
Q: Some military officers have been arrested.
What are they doing? A considerable number of military personnel who were heroes in the battle against terrorism have been taken into custody. I disapprove of it.
Q: There are fears that your government will take revenge, if elected to power.
They took revenge in a big way, but we won’t do it. Some people think it will happen because of what they are doing, but we will not take revenge on anybody.
(Source: The Island – By Norman Palihawadana)