Why they were denied nominations…
With only a few weeks remaining until the general election, Ceylon Today interviewed several individuals who were once high up on the political totem pole, and now – according to what they say – to the disappointment of their supporters, have been thrown down from it.
Nominations to contest the 17 August General Election were denied to several prominent individuals in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the United People’s Freedom Alliance, who were constantly in the limelight, due to various reasons. The General Secretary of the SLFP has not given a reason for denying them either nominations or a spot on the UPFA National List, other than stating that it was the party’s final decision. Former MPs Mervyn Silva, R. Duminda Silva, Sarana Gunawardena, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan and Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena were denied SLFP-led UPFA nominations.
MR fought for me – R. Duminda Silva
?How do you feel about not receiving nominations in the upcoming polls?
A: The SLFP-led UPFA let me down. They gave me hopes before the general election, implied that they would give me nominations. But at the final moment, they denied me of that right to contest.
?Do you intend to take any action against this?
A: I have contested three elections and from all those I have turned out to be the winner in the entire electorate. So I do not know why I was denied nomination to contest the upcoming polls. I know for a fact that the former President fought with the party leaders, asking them to give me nomination and a fighting chance. My supporters came to me and said that they wouldn’t vote for either party. Finally, former President Rajapaksa advised me to convince the party leaders to give me election nomination. And that is what I am going to do.
?How do you feel about being an exception among other allegedly corrupt politicians?
A: There were murderers who were still incarcerated who signed nominations, but I don’t understand why I am the exception among others. I would like to ask them [party leaders] what are the charges against me? I have not been found guilty or convicted of the allegations against me. In the case of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s murder as well as the alleged involvement in the drug-trafficking of Wele Sudha, I have not been convicted. If I am convicted, I would step down from my post. But until then I have the right to contest elections which was unjustly denied to me this time around.
? What will your career be like in the future?
A: I never went looking for nomination from other political parties, and they never came forward with the opportunity. After this general election, I will wait and see what happens and whether I should contest alone. But I would not leave the SLFP without a good reason.
I only worship those who are worthy of my worship – Mervyn Silva
BY Kavindya Chris Thomas
?How do you feel about not getting nomination?
A: Several conspirators in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) have now kidnapped the party entirely. Due to their subtle interferences and manipulations, the general election nominations were denied to me. I had lodged a complaint against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his entire family over corruption and criminal activities. I have also complained against the former President’s second son, Yoshitha Rajapaksa, regarding a case which involves my own son, Malaka Silva.
But most of all, the biggest reason why I was denied nomination was that I supported current President Maithripala Sirisena in the Presidential election. I won them the Kelaniya electorate for the Swan in the Presidential election. Several individuals of the UPFA and the people who paraded the former President around the country on their shoulders have concocted the plan to deny me nominations.
?Several other politicians with allegations against them, even some in remand custody, received nomination. Why do you think you were an exception in this?
A: Yes, there are some individuals who received nomination even with various criminal charges against them. I will not talk about them as they are still my friends, and I firmly believe that they are innocent until proven guilty. But what charges are against me? As far as I know there are no charges whatsoever against me. The nominations were denied because I stood against the former President, his brothers Gotabhaya and Basil Rajapaksa.
?Did you ask for nominations from other parties?
A: I did not go around asking for nominations from other political parties. I do not have double standards. I talk straight and I walk straight. I only worship those who are worthy of my worship and if I find them to be unworthy, I will act against them.
?Will you continue your career in politics?
A: I have no doubt about my future. I have supported and worked for the betterment of the country’s Buddha Sasanaya as well as other main religions. My people know me and I know my people. A farmer who has a paddy field continues to farm until the day he dies. He will provide for his family and the entire village. It is similar in the case of a doctor. He will treat the sick and the sad if he has the knowledge to do so. Similarly I will continue to be in active politics in order to assist my people.
?Do you think the people will support you?
A: I once worked towards bringing the Rajapaksa to the fore. Unlike the Rajapaksas, I have no lust for power or to retain power. There is no doubt that people including the Maha Sangha, religious leaders, those in the Hambantota District, the Tissamaharama electorate, the Gampaha District and the Kelaniya seat who love me, will be saddened by this gross injustice. I expressed my objection to the SLFP led United People’s Freedom Alliance seeking advice from Basil Rajapaksa who has serious charges against him. I am very happy with Sirisena’s statement made on 14 July. He has acted as an experienced politician and with foresight. I salute the people of Hambantota, Kelaniya and Gampaha. Whoever orchestrated this injustice might escape me, but they will not escape God.