SLPP, a Govt for the people by the people – PM | Sunday Observer

SLPP, a Govt for the people by the people – PM

Our sister paper, the Dinamina recently interviewed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who made history, winning the largest number of preferential votes in the Kurunegala district and was crowned as the four-time Prime Minister,

Excerpts:

Q. How do you feel about the sweeping victory of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna at the recent General election?

A. We anticipated victory right at the launch of the General election campaign. People were rendered totally helpless due to the Easter Sunday bombing. People would have been resolute that a Government which failed to ensure security for the country should be dismissed. It is we who liberated the country from the scourge of the thirty-year- old terrorist savagery.

We rescued a country where there was an Opposition which protested even against our liberating the motherland.

No development was ever undertaken by the Yahapalana Government.

The future of the country was at stake, as there was a tug-of-war between the President and the Prime Minister and even among the Ministers.

The Yahapalana Government was in hibernation while the ultra-extremist forces let loose violence and bumped off hapless civilians. People have begun to remember what we did to eliminate the peril of human bombs.

Despite pressure and interference by external forces to stop the battle against terrorists, we showed the world that we liberated the country from ruthless Tiger terrorism.

I believe there are two political camps in the country, one that loves the country, the patriots, the other which destroys the country. The election was a choice between the two camps and the people in their wisdom elected the former - the patriots.

The patriots are with us. Those who did nothing for the country but sold national assets, destroyed national security, and remained supine in the face of an impending disaster have been rejected outright by the voters.

Voters who are wise and experienced bestowed the country to our team.

Q.The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) right through waxed eloquent that the SLPP, leave alone winning two-thirds of seats would not secure even 113 seats. Now that you have won the desired two-thirds majority, what is the secret behind your success?

A.?No secret at all. We always took decisions with public interest at heart. Even today, the people repent over the mistake of enthroning a Yahapalana government. We have never made that mistake. The country moved backwards with the Yahapalana government during the past five years. The masses breathed freely but that too was undermined by the Yahapalana government. The Coronavirus pandemic is a fine example. Had we not been in power, certainly most people would have been buried by now. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa coordinated the Tri-Forces, police and the health sector and saved the country from the pandemic. The country is now back to normalcy. Amid the Coronavirus crisis we helped the people financially and provided food without leaving room for any scarcity.

The economy remained robust. I am thankful to all those who subscribed to our efforts. We were at the butt end of criticism when we initiated action to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. The WHO, the UK and Italy took us as a role model while the entire world commended us. The Opposition, including the SJB levelled false allegations against us. The people, as a whole gave us the mandate with a two-thirds majority.

Q. Why did you ask for a two-thirds majority? Is it necessary?

A. Yes, of course, we need a two-thirds majority. The Yahapalanaya created confusion in the country via the Constitution. The 19th Amendment is a hotch-potch as we experienced it during the past five years. It is an impediment to the country’s future progress. Hence the need for a new Constitution. The Yahapalana government drafted its Constitution focusing mainly on one family, which never happened in political history.

We always made decisions in the larger interest of the country and its people. The country cannot be ruled at the whims and fancies of an extremist group. We need to have a Constitution which ensures a close affinity between the President, the Prime Minister and the Government and we have now been empowered to give effect to such a model.

Q. The Opposition and those associated with it charge that you are on the path to dictatorship. Is this true?

A. That’s a diabolical lie! Let us ask the people whether they were not free when we ruled the country. I know what their answer would be. People who talk of dictatorship are really ignorant of it. We had never been dictatorial. There were dictatorial developments during the last regime, in that the leaders acted waywardly. We were taken into custody even without charges being framed. War heroes were imprisoned on cooked-up allegations. They had passed Acts to suit their interests and resorted to evil activities and completely ignored public sentiments. We were the best who responded to public views and grievances.

Q. Do not the people await action against the Bond scam and Easter Sunday attack suspects and those behind other cases of corruption and crimes?

A. According to the Karmic theory of Buddhism a wrongdoer has to face the consequences of his acts. Similarly if one has done a wrong one needs to examine it according to one’s conscience. Investigations are continuing in all cases. In some cases, the suspects are on the mat. Whatever their social status, I assure you that the law will take its course. If anybody has committed an offence a theft or fraud we do not want to defend him but due punishment will be meted out.

The Yahapalana government remained supine until the biggest culprit of the Bond scam escaped the country. They let the Bond scam crooks roam freely without being prosecuted. Most of the cases were filed from Temple Trees. We should not permit anybody to take the law into their hands. Institutions which maintain law and order should be permitted to act freely without interference.

Q. This time Cabinet portfolios are limited. It is small in number. Is this not an obstacle for future endeavours?

A. No, not at all. The Cabinet though small, is duly constituted. State Ministers have been entrusted with specific duties together with the required financial provision to execute the job.

We invite all-political leaders and trade unions to join hands with us in the interest of the country. The world economy is on tenterhooks due to multiple reasons. There is social and cultural erosion. Political leaders and state heads are burdened with the task of resolving problems. I extend an open invitation to all irrespective of religious or political hues to join us to rebuild the motherland.

Today our parliamentarians are so honest that they are willing to give their ministerial portfolios to their colleagues. I am sure a Parliament constituted with such people will certainly rebuild the country in the future.

Q. Are you happy with the SLPP National list candidates?

A. Yes, no previous National lists have produced such educated and intelligent parliamentarians gifted with different specialities. Among them are those holding doctorates, teachers, lawyers, social activists and doctors. The rationale behind appointing such talented people is that the country can harness their expertise to the task of developing the country.

Q. On the political platform you had pledged to provide employment to lakhs of graduates and also those who have passed the GCE (O/L) examination. Will this be a reality?

A. Yes, of course. We are all out to provide relief to the people

despite financial constraints. If we pledge something to the people we will surely fulfil it. No sooner the new government was installed, graduates were given appointments despite being temporarily suspended during the election.

Long term solutions will be provided to all outstanding issues.

Q. What do you think of your election victory capturing the highest number of preferential votes in the annals of Sri Lanka’s political history?

A. I wholeheartedly thank the voters in the Kurunegala district for the confidence reposed in me. This election result bears testimony to the fact that not only I, but our entire team is with the people of the country. We have clearly identified the rulers and the ruled.

Q. Is it a threat to your government that international forces are hell-bent on destabilising the country, as evidenced from the conduct of most foreign organisations?

A. Accepting challenges is the proof of efficiency. The people have given us the mandate and we are prepared to accept any challenge. There were obstacles internationally.

You will recall there were international forces who tried vigorously to stop the humanitarian operation but we did not give in.

We are ready to protect our motherland at any cost.

Q. Who is the live-wire behind your gigantic victory?

A. The people have reposed implicit faith in us on account of the services we rendered to the country. Basil Rajapaksa and a powerful team launched a massive operation. We were ready for the election well in advance.

The preferential votes proved that the people remained with us through thick and thin, come what may. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his novel experiment criss-crossed the country for over a year prior to being elected President and discussed the grievances of the people to provide solutions. This has enabled him to take the country in a new direction.

This time we put an end to the banner-cutout-poster infested election culture where supporters of different political parties clashed with one another.

The general election was peaceful and the credit should go to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

We hope all countrymen will join together to extend their fullest cooperation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a visionary who feels the pulse of the people.

Translated by?Michael Kittanpahuwa

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