Racist Gammanpila on Maithri Govt., Tamil separatism and Rajapaksa’s return

avatar92Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader and former Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila claims the present Government had ‘mega lies about mega deals’ and accuses the coalition of cheating people to fraudulently secure their vote.
“That is the biggest fraud that took place in this country. Therefore people are now impatiently waiting for the Parliamentary election to punish those cheaters for deceitfully stealing their vote,” asserted Gammanpila, in an interview with the Daily FT.
Speaking on alleged files and information on former Government members in the possession of the ruling party, he said: “They said they possess files and information. They addressed the people with a lot of confidence. What are the so-called major corruption deals they have exposed so far? Are Tissa Attanayake and Mrs. Weerawansa the biggest cases they have?”
Outlining his fears about Tamil separatism, Gammanpila stressed the present Government and especially the JVP and the JHU have jeopardised national security by focusing excessively on corruption. “Separatist leaders now think that there is a conducive environment for them to propagate separatism. We have Tamil separatism bouncing back and the leader who defeated that is in retirement. Isn’t this the ideal time to invite him to come back, because his service is in need again?”
Following are excerpts:

 Q: Tell us about your petition with one million signatures to bring back Mahinda Rajapaksa? 

A: What happened in the month of January was unprecedented in the world. At the presidential election, a group of 6.2 million people rejected Mahinda Rajapaksa and chose Maithripala Sirisena. Another group of 5.8 million rejected Maithripala Sirisena and opted for Mahinda Rajapaksa. In simple arithmetic, 6.2 million is bigger than 5.8 million and as a result Maithripala Sirisena became the President of this country. That is quite normal. What is abnormal was that thereafter Maithripala Sirisena became the de jure leader of the 5.8 million who rejected him. That is unprecedented in the world.
The UPFA has a big challenge at the forthcoming Parliamentary election. They will be led at the election by the very same person who was rejected by them just three months ago. Although President Sirisena is the de jure President of those 5.8 million people, still their de facto President is Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is a leader in their hearts. Although there is a conspiracy at the top and although the Central Committee has accepted President Sirisena as their leader, the grass root level is yet to accept the reality.
In this backdrop, the UPFA has a challenge in order to bring this 5.8 million people to the polling booths. For that their de facto leader should be made the attraction. That is why we have proposed to bring back President Rajapaksa as the prime ministerial candidate of the UPFA.
Although we lost the presidential election, if it turned to be a Parliamentary election we would have won the seat, because the coalition partners of the UPFA which backed President Rajapaksa at the presidential election will go together at the Parliamentary election as well. However, several coalition partners of the New Democratic Front have already announced that they will not contest with the NDF, namely the TNA and the JVP, and most probably the JHU and the SLFP, although they are yet to make an announcement.
Take Gampaha electoral district, for instance. The UPFA lost the district by 4,700 votes. The JVP’s lowest number of votes in Gampaha for the last 16 years was 20,000. In other words, if the JVP contested alone at the Parliamentary election, the UPFA will secure the victory in Gampaha and will receive the bonus Parliamentary seat allocated for the winner of the district. Likewise, the UPFA will be able to secure victory at Puttalam, where they lost by 4,300 votes and Badulla where they lost by a mere 300 votes.
Once we do the district level analysis for the entire country, the final result would be 111 for the UPFA, 89 for the NDF, 15 for the TNA, six for the SLMC and three for the JVP. Securing 111 Parliamentarians at a Parliamentary election is an impressive victory compared to the results of the recent past under the PR system. The PA was able to get only 105 seats in 1994 to end the 17-year-long UNP regime. Toppling a government of 17 years was a massive victory but still the PA got only 105 seats. In 2004 the JVP decided to form a coalition with the PA for the first time in the history and face the Parliamentary election. Still they were able to get only 105 P. In comparison to those elections, 111 seats is a massive and impressive victory.
In other words, if we can repeat the presidential election voting pattern, the UPFA would end up being the winner. But there is a challenge. We should be able to bring the disheartened UPFA voter to the polling booth to cast their votes. Mahinda Rajapaksa is the magician who can do that. This is the UPFA perspective of why Mahinda Rajapaksa should be brought back.
Take national interest; we predicted during the presidential campaign that if Maithripala Sirisena wins the election, Tamil separatism would bounce back. In fact that was the reason for me to leave my former party, the JHU. On 11 December, after leaving the JHU I held a media conference and told the country that if Maithripala was going to lose, I would have waited silently, maintaining the unity of my party, but I decided to come out against my party’s decision and to campaign for President Rajapaksa because I saw a risk of Maithripala Sirisena’s victory and if he won Tamil separatism would bounce back. Unfortunately my nightmare has become a reality.

 

 

Q: Why do you say Tamil separatism has bounced back?
A: I can give you so many examples to establish the fact that Tamil separatism is getting stronger. Let me take one by one. On 10 February, Northern Chief Minister Vigneswaran brought a dangerous resolution to the council. It says that all successive governments of post-independent Sri Lanka have been committing genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka in violation of the United Nations’ Anti-Genocide Convention and therefore the international community should intervene and save Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The Anti-Genocide Convention was brought by the United Nations to ensure that the plight of Jews in Nazi Germany would not be repeated anywhere in the world. As you know, during the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler, being a Jew was a crime punishable with death. Through this resolution, the Northern Provincial Council tells the world that all successive leaders of this country, from D.S. Senanayake to Maithripala Sirisena, are just like Adolph Hitler. People know who Hitler was; they see D.S. Senanayake as a Hitler, J.R. Jayewardene as a Hitler, Maithripala Sirisena as a Hitler. They are telling the world that Tamils are facing the very same plight of the Jews. In Sri Lanka, wherever you find a Tamil, the Government is executing them – that is the message we are giving the world.
Because of the plight of the Jews, the international community decided to intervene. There was nobody to protect them. That is why the United Nations adopted a resolution to establish a Jewish state called Israel. Taking the parallel, this resolution says ‘look, we are undergoing the very same plight of the Jews’. They are saying that they need their version of Israel, that is Tamil Eelam.
Secondly, they are saying that when Government forces kill their own people, there is nobody in that country to protect them. It gives a moral right to the international community to militarily intervene and save that community. That’s how NATO forces intervened in the Bosnian war to protect the Muslim minority there. This resolution firstly established in the eyes of the international community that Tamils need a separate state in Sri Lanka. Secondly, that the international community should militarily intervene towards this end.
A similar resolution was brought by Councillor Shivagalingam in October 2014. Then Chief Minister Vigneswaran intervened and persuaded him to stop, telling him that this would jeopardise their relations with the Sinhala community as well as the Sri Lankan Government. But the very same Vigneswaran gets emboldened and enlightened that there will be no danger in bringing this kind of resolution just after five months. This reflects the change of the atmosphere post and pre 8 January. Separatist leaders now think that there is a conducive environment for them to propagate separatism. This is the message hidden in the resolution adopted by the Northern Provincial Council.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe giving an interview to NDTV of India on 17 January has clearly said that all partners of his Government are in agreement to implement the 13th Amendment in full. More than 67,000 Sinhalese youth sacrificed their life in their resistance struggle against the full implementation of the 13th Amendment. We were against that because full implementation of the 13th Amendment would pave the way for separatism. Now after 30 years Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has got guts to openly say we are going to do it.
If we take other minor issues, the Government has commenced reducing extent of land occupied by the military in the north. Banned goods have been reduced from 16 to three. Travel restrictions for foreigners have been lifted. The previous regime restricted access to the mouthpiece of Tamil separatism, the TamilNet website, but this Government removed these restrictions. Apart from that, Channel 4 is playing a big role in propagating the fact that the Sri Lankan Government committed war crimes during the last stage of the war. Channel 4 Head Callum McCrae along with Donald Gnanakone came to Sri Lanka through the VIP lounge of the Katunayake Airport according to media sources to produce a movie against Sri Lanka. These were unprecedented before 8 January.

 

 

 

The UPFA has a big challenge at the forthcoming Parliamentary election. They will be led at the election by the very same person who was rejected by them just three months ago. Although President Sirisena is the de jure President of those 5.8 million people, still their de facto President is Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is a leader in their hearts. Although there is a conspiracy at the top and although the Central Committee has accepted President Sirisena as their leader, the grass root level is yet to accept the reality
If we can repeat the presidential election voting pattern, the UPFA would end up being the winner. But there is a challenge. We should be able to bring the disheartened UPFA voter to the polling booth to cast their votes. Mahinda Rajapaksa is the magician who can do that. This is the UPFA perspective of why Mahinda Rajapaksa should be brought back
Take national interest; we predicted during the presidential campaign that if Maithripala Sirisena wins the election, Tamil separatism would bounce back. In fact that was the reason for me to leave my former party, the JHU. On 11 December, after leaving the JHU I held a media conference and told the country that if Maithripala was going to lose, I would have waited silently, maintaining the unity of my party, but I decided to come out against my party’s decision and to campaign for President Rajapaksa because I saw a risk of Maithripala Sirisena’s victory and if he won Tamil separatism would bounce back. Unfortunately my nightmare has become a reality
You cannot highlight the previous Government as being very unique in terms of corruption because corruption is an allegation every single government of Sri Lanka as well as every single government in the world has been subject to. A man will not divorce his wife just because she has not prepared the dinner one night. A divorce should be determined by a lot of issues. Likewise, whether a government is good or bad should not be determined on a solitary issue. We have to consider everything together. But unfortunately the present Government, and especially the JVP and the JHU, have jeopardised national security due by focusing excessively on corruption
In order to win the election, 5.8 million people should come to the polling booth and vote for the UPFA. Their hero has lost the election. They are upset about it. That is why when we held a meeting in honour of him, hundreds and thousands of people flocked to Nugegoda. Those people are not identified with the betel leaf, not with the blue colour, not with the UPFA, but with President Rajapaksa. That is the brand. So without bringing that brand to the market, we cannot attract the crowd
Although Maithripala Sirisena is the de jure leader of the people, he is yet to be the de facto leader. He is yet to be in the hearts of the people. He is yet to be recognised by the people as their leader. But there is a golden opportunity for him. If he understands the pulse of the people and invites President Rajapaksa to be his prime ministerial candidate, people will start accepting him as the leader, because they will determine how to respect President Sirisena by watching how treats their hero, President Rajapaksa. This is a golden opportunity for President Sirisena to establish himself in the UPFA camp”
As you know, Head of Intelligence Major General Kapila Hendawitharana and DIG Intelligence Chandra Wagista have tendered their resignations. Meeting a long-time demand of the TNA, the Government decided to remove Major General G.A. Chandrasiri as the Governor of North and replace him with a civilian.
Some people may ask why we need to have a military officer as a governor, but there was a valid reason. As we know, Tamil separatism is still on although terrorism has been eliminated in the country. The TNA, which was the political wing of Tamil terrorism, is now in charge of the administration of the Northern Provincial Council. We have to vigilantly monitor their activities. Fortunately the Governor of the Province has access to any document of the provincial administration.
When there is a military officer as the governor, he has a knack of identifying sensitive intelligence information contained in Provincial Council documents. Secondly, he has the guts to share the information with the military. When there is a civilian governor, he has no such knack to identify the sensitive intelligence information contained in documents. Secondly, he would not bother to share such information with the military because that is not in his culture. That is why we had a military governor for the north. Without understanding the rationale, the present Government met the demand for a civilian governor. The list could go on. But this information is good enough to establish that our motherland is in danger.

 

 

Q: You speak as the country is in great danger. What is the JHU doing? It is a strong Government ally and shares similar ideologies to yours. The JVP too acts as a watchdog. How come they never sensed this danger you talk about?
A: The JHU and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya used to have similar ideologies, but not anymore. At the presidential election, we were on two different sides. We thought there were issues with good governance, but national security precedes everything else. They thought good governance precedes everything else. Our perspective of the problem is now different. Those days they considered national security as preceding everything else; now they don’t believe in that anymore.
Frankly, they only talk about corruption, corruption and corruption. Nothing but corruption. Corruption is not something new. I am a fighter against corruption. Not only have I fought, I have set examples on how a politician should act free of corruption, thuggery and sexual misconduct. For the last 15 years I have never been subject to a single allegation. I am a politician who has introduced a lot of new features towards good governance.
We must admit that corruption is not something uniquely associated with the previous regime. Minister G.G. Ponnambalam was the Minister of Industries and Fisheries of the very first Cabinet in Sri Lanka. He was charged for accepting a commission from a German company for purchasing some boats from that company. That was the first recorded corruption case in independent Sri Lanka. Since then every single government has been subject to these charges.
You cannot highlight the previous Government as being very unique in terms of corruption because corruption is an allegation every single government of Sri Lanka as well as every single government in the world has been subject to. A man will not divorce his wife just because she has not prepared the dinner one night. A divorce should be determined by a lot of issues. Likewise, whether a government is good or bad should not be determined on a solitary issue. We have to consider everything together. But unfortunately the present Government, and especially the JVP and the JHU, have jeopardised national security due by focusing excessively on corruption.
This present Government came to power on anti-corruption campaign. They set a deadline of their own of 100 days. This is not a deadline set by us. They would have governed for six years. At least they should have set a deadline of 14 months because the next Parliamentary election is due in April 2016. But after coming to power on an anti-corruption campaign, they decided to complete a program of 100 days. We are halfway through this program.
What are the so-called major corruption deals they have exposed so far? They said they possess files. They said they have information. They addressed the people with a lot of confidence. In January they remanded Tissa Attanayake for alleged presentation of a fraudulent document. In February they remanded Mrs. Wimal Weerawansa for possessing a passport with an incorrect birth date. If we thoroughly scrutinise the passports and NICs of every single citizen of this country, you may find at least 5% of the people possess passports and IDs with inaccurate information. Does it mean that those are the biggest and two most corrupt acts that took place during the last regime?
Now it is beyond doubt that the present Government has mega lies about mega deals. They have cheated people to fraudulently secure their vote. That is the biggest fraud that took place in this country. Therefore people are now impatiently waiting for the Parliamentary election to punish those cheaters for deceitfully stealing their vote.

 

 

Q: Do you feel the upcoming election is more favourable to the Opposition?
A: It is not a mere feeling. I have statistically analysed and shown that. We don’t want to increase our vote base. Though we lost the presidential election, with the very same vote we can win the Parliamentary election because calculations of the Parliamentary election would be different to that of a presidential election.
Due to four reasons our vote bank has been dramatically increased since 8 January. Firstly, many UPFA voters were confident that President Rajapaksa would win anyway. They wanted to send a message to the leadership about their electorate organisers. They wanted President Rajapaksa to lose their electorate to pass a message to him that they don’t like the organiser given by him. That may be the case with Kolonnawa, Kelaniya, Kotte and Panadura. Those people rushed to the President’s ancestral home and cried with him, said sorry and confessed; they clearly said that they never expected this outcome. Those people are now with the UPFA.
Secondly, middle Sinhala nationalists were disappointed with the UPFA because of the issues we used to raise. However, when they look at the other side, they saw federalists like Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe, separatists like Samanthan and Wickremabahu. Then the JHU came to the scene and said ‘do not worry, we are there to safeguard nationalism’. The JHU spent millions of rupees to place advertisements in media to say ‘We are the champions of Sinhala nationalism. We are there to safeguard your interest.’ People believed in them. A lot of people voted for the swan symbol. But after winning, the JHU has been a mere silent onlooker in most of the cases. Occasionally they bark merely to mark their presence. As a result people who placed faith in the JHU are now disappointed and they are also guilty because they have contributed towards separatism. People now want to correct the mistake made at the presidential election. The upcoming election will be their opportunity to do this.
The election manifesto of Maithripala Sirisena is more or less like a fairy-tale written by Santa Claus. It has promised everything except the sun and the moon. President Rajapaksa promised motorcycles worth Rs. 150,000 to Government field officers at Rs. 50,000. In turn President Sirisena promised to waive off that Rs. 50,000. A lot of Government field officers voted for President Sirisena just to get that Rs. 50,000 write-off, but it didn’t take place.
Likewise, Government servants expected salary and pension hikes, Samurdhi recipients expected bigger allowances. People expected the prices of essential goods to come down. All those people who expected relief from the present Government are now disappointed. They are waiting to express their disappointment at the forthcoming election. In conclusion, if the UPFA gets the very same votes received at the presidential election, it would come out as the victor. But with these reasons, its vote bank has now tremendously increased.

 

 

Q: If the victory is so evident, why do you want Mahinda Rajapaksa to be the prime ministerial candidate?
A: As I explained before, in order to win the election, 5.8 million people should come to the polling booth and vote for the UPFA. Their hero has lost the election. They are upset about it. That is why when we held a meeting in honour of him, hundreds and thousands of people flocked to Nugegoda. Those people are not identified with the betel leaf, not with the blue colour, not with the UPFA, but with President Rajapaksa. That is the brand. So without bringing that brand to the market, we cannot attract the crowd.

 

 

Q: Why do you say people prefer the ex-President over President Sirisena?
A: Although Maithripala Sirisena is the de jure leader of the people, he is yet to be the de facto leader. He is yet to be in the hearts of the people. He is yet to be recognised by the people as their leader. But there is a golden opportunity for him. If he understands the pulse of the people and invites President Rajapaksa to be his prime ministerial candidate, people will start accepting him as the leader, because they will determine how to respect President Sirisena by watching how treats their hero, President Rajapaksa. This is a golden opportunity for President Sirisena to establish himself in the UPFA camp.

 

 

Q: What is your personal view of President Sirisena?
A: Frankly, it is too early to come to a conclusion about his leadership qualities. I am silently and carefully watching him. I do not want to jump to conclusions about him. He is yet to display his leadership qualities. Leaders will be judged by the manner in which they act in a crisis. He is yet to show his colours. I am not neither optimistic nor pessimistic about him.

 

 

Q: Is it true that political refugees like you and Wimal Weerawansa need the ex-President back in politics merely for survival?
A: It is totally baseless because we are not political refugees. We have never left the UPFA. Take Minister Weerawansa, for instance; in 2004 he topped the UPFA list at the Parliamentary election, securing 235,000 votes and it was the highest. In 2010 he was able to better it by securing 280,000 votes. He was at the top. I was able to obtain more than 115,000 preferential votes twice without pasting a single poster. That is the case with Dinesh Gunawardene and Vasudeva Nanayakkara as well. They have always been on the top of the preferential list. People who make these allegations are the ones who do not have enough preferential votes and are now struggling to survive at the next election, so their allegations are factually incorrect and baseless.

 

 

Q: Is it true that you have requested a meeting with President Sirisena?
A: If we believe websites, Udaya Gammapila left Sri Lanka on 8 January and is living in Melbourne with his family. If we believe websites, President Rajapaksa has written off Gammanpila’s loans worth Rs. 8 million in return for his support of the former President. If we believe websites, I have sponsored buses to bring people to visit President Rajapaksa after the election. If we start responding to websites, we will end up wasting away. This is not true. Unfortunately, irresponsible journalism created by websites has resulted in many rumours but I don’t think we should waste our time responding to such allegations.
I have never requested a meeting with President Sirisena. Why should I? If he wants to meet me, of course I will see him because he is the head of this country.

 

 

Q: Are you denying allegations that you are trying to make peace with President Sirisena in order to write off your remaining bank loans?
A: The JHU alleged that I supported President Rajapaksa for writing off a loan of Rs. 8 million. Now they say I am trying to patch up with President Sirisena because I have overdue loans. Those days they were mere allegations. Now that they are with the Government, why don’t they come up with the details, why don’t they come up with evidence without merely slinging mud at their rival politicians? If I am in an attempt to strike a deal with President Sirisena to cover up my bank loans, why don’t they expose this before the people?