- I will personally ensure security of Mahinda Rajapaksa and family: Maithripala
- ‘On 9 Jan military will only follow our orders, their hearts with us’: Rathana Thero
- ‘We are not crazy to seek to divide Sri Lanka’: CBK
- ‘I have paid my debts to my motherland’: Sarath Fonseka
- ‘KP sent explosives for LTTE to bomb Dalada Maligawa’: Champika
- Govt.-Tamilnet-Ananthi plot to enforce 2005 style boycott of poll in North: Rajitha
By Dharisha Bastians
In a final show of strength on the last day of campaigning, common opposition leaders rallied together to counter ruling party claims that the alliance was in league with the LTTE.
Opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena charged that while the Government was attempting to stick LTTE labels on the common alliance, it was the Rajapaksa regime which had the best practice of liaising with Tigers.
“They are well versed in how to deal with the Diaspora and the LTTE – the same people who gave 500 million to the LTTE in 2005,” he charged.
Sirisena said there was no one connected with the LTTE on Opposition stages.
“Look around and see where the leftover terrorist leaders are. KP, Karuna Amman, Pillaiyan, all of them are with the President,” he asserted.
President Rajapaksa was still hanging out with people daydreaming about Eelam, Sirisena charged.
The Opposition candidate also pledged to ensure the security of President Rajapaksa and his family if the incumbent was defeated on 9 January. “I will personally assure that. We will change this country’s post-election culture,” Sirisena promised.
Hitting out against Government attacks on her reference to the LTTE Leader as ‘Mr. Prabhakaran’, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said the Opposition was not “crazy” to seek to divide the country.
The ex-President revealed letters posted on President Rajapaksa’s official website refer to the LTTE supremo in similar terms.
Kumaratunga read out a letter from President Rajapaksa to the diplomatic community on 28 November 2005.
“In this regard I welcome Mr. Prabhakaran‘s remarks yesterday recognising my pragmatic approach and my invitation to talks, as extending the hand of friendship. Let me use this occasion to reiterate my invitation to Mr. Prabhakaran for talks,” she said the letter stated.
“Because I referred to him as ‘Mr. Prabhakaran’, we are going to divide the country. What nonsense is that?” she charged.
Former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka, who led the troops to victory over the LTTE in 2009, told journalists that he had sacrificed his flesh and blood to protect the country.
“I have paid my debts to my motherland,” Fonseka said.
He assured that the Opposition would go before any court of law to protect Sri Lanka’s troops. “The people who are fostering and nursing terrorists even today were never patriots,” Fonseka charged.
The Opposition candidate would restore dignity to the armed forces, he said.
“That is my personal pledge to the soldiers. Today you are being used to clean drains and sell vegetables. I will ensure your dignity is restored,” he pledged.
JHU strongman and former Minister Champika Ranawaka accused the incumbent regime of paying the LTTE through the individual Emil Kanthan to effect a boycott of the 2005 election in the Northern Province.
“Now again in 2015 this Government is attempting to disenfranchise the Northern people,” Ranawaka charged.
He said that former LTTE Chief Weapons Procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan had been responsible for sending explosives to Sri Lanka for the LTTE to make bombs.
“These are the explosives and ammunition that were responsible for the bombing of the LTTE attack on the Dalada Maligawa,” Ranawaka charged.
The JHU General Secretary warned of attempts to create religious and race riots over the next 48 hours as campaigning ended.
He urged Opposition supporters not to engage in political violence. “Be peaceful but be courageous. Go out and cast your vote,” he urged.
Ranawaka also urged the military and the police to remain independent in the final stretch of the poll.
“Remember,” he addressed military personnel, “dignity and respect lies with the Opposition.”
JHU Chairman Athuraliye Rathana Thero told the press briefing that there was no need to fear that the military would ensure the incumbent would remain in power.
“The military will only take orders from us on 9 January. Their hearts are with us,” Rathana Thero said.
Former Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne alleged that the Rajapaksa campaign had conspired with V. Rudurakumaran of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam to ensure Tamils in the Northern Province would not vote in Thursday’s poll.
Senaratne charged that TNA Provincial Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan, who has taken a stand against her party’s decision to endorse Sirisena, had been provided Government security.
“Since she called for the boycott, the Government has given her five plainclothes policemen,” Senaratne claimed, saying he had obtained the information from the top echelons of the police department.
The Opposition campaign leaders conducted their final media briefing at the Opposition leader’s office in Colombo yesterday.