Mahinda vows to go ahead with Pada Yathra

By Dasun Edirisinghe

The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday vowed to go ahead with the Pada Yatra as scheduled from tomorrow despite threats of disciplinary action and other obstacles.

Addressing the media at Dr N.M. Perera Centre in Borella, JO National Organiser and Matara District MP Dullas Alahapperuma said their protest march starting from Kandy was not against the SLFP policies and it would be a joke to take disciplinary action against SLFP parliamentarians who participate in the march.

“Our Pada Yatra is based on SLFP policies and it represents the party’s objectives,” he said, noting it was hilarious for any to threaten disciplinary action against those who would take part in the protest. Alahapperuma was responding to a threat made by SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake.

He said the government was in the process of taking all actions it can to stop the Pada Yatra.

As an example, he said, a high profile UNP minister representing the Kandy District had booked all the public grounds from Kandy to Colombo to prevent the JO from holding meetings.

Alahapperuma said that similarly the Commissioner of Agrarian Services had sent a circular to all Agriculture Development and Research Officers attaching them to distant districts from July 28 to August 01.

The party convention and reorganising of the party had been discussed at the meeting between the SLFP MPs of the JO and President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday.

He said President Sirisena had asked them to protect the party without causing it to be divided.

Leader of the Joint Opposition Dinesh Gunawardena said the Pada Yatra would be staged against proposed Constitutional reforms, postponing of local government elections, increasing of taxes, special war crimes court, ETCA, curtailing concessions of farmers and the on-going political witch hunt.

Leader of the Deshavimukthi Janatha Party Ven. Galagama Dhammaransi thera, former Ministers Prof. G.L. Peiris, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Keheliya Rambukwella, C.B. Ratnayake, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Parliamentarians Ranjith Zoysa, Prasanna Ranatunga and Namal Rajapaksa also attended the media conference.