The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) reached an agreement to name the new alliance ‘Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Peramuna’ if they contest elections jointly, UPFA MP Mahinda Amaraweera said.
He however said if the ongoing discussions between the SLFP and the SLPP failed to agree on one Presidential Candidate and one Prime Minister candidate, the SLFP would be compelled to field its own candidates.Speaking at a press conference at the SLFP Headquarters yesterday, Amaraweera observed if the SLFP was pushed to take such a decision, the advantage would be to the rival party at the elections.
“Now we have mutually agreed on a common name of ‘Sri Lanka Nidahas Podujana Peramuna’ and 25 policy matters aiming at the next election. From our side, we prefer President Sirisena as the Presidential Candidate, but this does not mean we dislike former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa or any other names proposed by the SLPP. We are meeting daily and hopefully we can reach a final agreement within a week,” he said.
“We cannot let the SLFP to go into peril, nor will we join any other party. We go into any alliance as the SLFP,” he added.
Commenting on the current affairs of the Government, Amaraweera complained that the state funds were being spent to boost the political image of five Presidential hopefuls of the UNP. “As of now, about Rs.2 billion is being spent on promoting their images. I urge the public officials to be utmost responsible in these affairs. They would be in trouble at the end.
They should not forget how they faced inconveniences due to such decisions in the recent past. I have written documents to prove these claims and these matters would be raised in Parliament,” he commented.
He also argued that the recent pay hike of public servants, removal of pension anomalies, increasing the number of Samurdhi beneficiaries and the project to give tablets to Advance Level students were aimed at winning more votes at upcoming elections.
“The Government was spending colossal amount of money on such projects, but give less priority on development activities and improving production economy. The allocations for fisheries, agriculture, livestock sectors have been cut by half. The highway development has been stalled due to lack of funds. The Matara-Beliaththa section of the Southern Expressway and had been stalled. What is the purpose of constructing its phase II and III without completing its first section? Similarly, the middle part of the Central Expressway had been constructed, but the first and last phases progressing at a sluggish pace,” he complained.
Commenting on the railway strike, Amaraweera said the President’s attention would be drawn to the matter of political influences to re-instate a Trade Union Secretary who was suspended for working under the influence of liquor.
“The General Manager has resigned over these undue pressure and the TUs have started a strike over this matter. We do not condone strikes that inconvenience the people, but we appreciate the unity of TUs on this matter,” he noted.
UPFA MP Shantha Bandara requested the Government to grant half-days leave for public servants who got late to attend to work yesterday due to the railway strike.
UPFA MP Mohan Lal Grero, speaking on the tablet project, questioned its feasibility as many schools lack electricity and Wi-Fi facilities. “Many parents are opposed to their children using mobile phones in school. There is a circular issued banning mobile phone usage in schools,” he observed.
(Source: Daily News – By Disna Mudalige)