ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 09

UNP/SLFP (M) take on Rajapaksa Brothers

By Nalaka Nonis

The UNP’s newly appointed organizers participating for the first time at national level protest, displayed their skills with senior members backing the effort in a huge show of strength against President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government at Thursday’s ‘Jana Rala’ campaign in Colombo. An estimated 50,000 supporters braved the adverse weather to march from Campbell Park to Hyde Park Corner during a four-hour protest march to attend the rally addressed by the Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLFP (Mahajana Wing) leader -Mangala Samaraweera.

It’s smiles all the way among leaders of the UNP/SLFP (Mahajana wing) rally at Hyde Park on the 26th.

Protestors depicted the alleged agreement between the LTTE and President Mahinda Rajapaksa. One of the protesters was dressed in a national costume and the Satakaya depicting the President, while another sporting a camouflage uniform depicted the LTTE. Others carried parcels resembling parcels of currency notes.

Among floats which caught the eye was one of a white van with posters on it questioning government’s involvement in the abductions. Another depicting burdens heaped on the public, bore images of huge bags depicting the causes behind the sky-rocketing cost of living caused by corruption, waste and the jumbo-sized Cabinet loaded on top of men.

Placards carried by protesters read; Where is Dallas? – in America, Where is Basil ? – in America Where is Gotabaya ? – in America and Milinda is also in America.Addressing the gathering UNP leader Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe said that because of the secret pact with the LTTE, the country had been de facto divided. President Rajapaksa got the south and Prabhakaran the north.

He added that because of this pact the “Rajapaksa Sahodara Samagama” is now earning from everyone. Because of this no investors come to the country today, he said. Because of serious economic problems, even a simple act like lighting a kerosene lamp has become a formidable task, he charged.

If Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa did not enter into a secret pact with the Tigers, Mahinda Rajapaksa would never have become the President of this country. If the Tamil people in the north who were deprived of their vote had voted, Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa would have been confined to Medamulana, he said.

For the first time in 59 years Wickremesinghe said we have power concentrated in the hands of an individual who does not have the mandate of the people. A person, who comes to power using a pact with terrorists, is considered a traitor, he said. If he thought of the country, Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa would not have violated the MOU he signed with the United National party. No other political party, including the JVP opposed this MOU, he said.

Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka would be celebrating 60 years of independence next year, but prior to that one of two things should happen. Either the Rajapaksa Samagama must be got rid of and democracy restored, or the people must be destroyed and a dictatorial regime of the Rajapaksa Samagama put in place.

A float depicting causes behind the rising cost of living Pix by Saman Kariyawasam, Gemunu Wellage, M.A. Pushpakumara

I will not allow Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa to destroy the people and put in place a dictatorship, he thundered. Mangala Samaraweera, head of the SLFP (Mahajana wing) said that in the SLFP today, there was no room for dissent. He promised that by the time the next budget was presented he would create an atmosphere within the party where SLFP members could speak openly.

Mr. Samaraweera also extended an invitation to the JVP to join the alliance. “I am inviting all parties to join the ‘Jathika Sabahawa’ he said.“I am especially inviting the JVP. I ask my friends in the JVP, how can you could extend support to such a corrupt government.

“I question why the JVP provides oxygen to a government which is corrupt. I know many SLFP members are suffering,” he said. Mr. Samaraweera promised he would create an environment within the SLFP where members could speak openly by the next budget. “By next year we can form a government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe,” he said.

“Today” Samaraweera said, “Mahinda is President because we, together with Tiran Alles did what we shouldn’t have done”. “Mr Wickremesinghe, I actually worked hard to send your government home in 2004,” he added. Referring to a speech made by Mr. S.B Dissanayake, he said that as far back as in 1993, the east had been cleared, while in 1996 the LTTE was driven out of Jaffna into Mullaitivu. No costly ceremonies such as the one held recently were observed to mark these events.

Mr. Sripathi Suriyaarachchi charged that the Government directly and indirectly spent Rs. 10 billion annually to maintain its jumbo Cabinet. He added that if the government did not accede to the request to appoint a select committee to inquire into the secret deal with the LTTE they would be forced to chase Mahinda out via a public campaign.

He claimed that the negotiations with the LTTE held in Geneva were possible only due to the agreement he had with the LTTE.
The National Congress, the newly formed alliance led by the UNP and the SLFP (Mahajana Wing) are set to hold 30 more public rallies after Thursday’s Colombo protest march which is estimated to have brought together 50,000 persons from the outstations.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.