222 buses transported people to Nugegoda pro Mahinda rally
by Zacki Jabbar
The “Official SLFP” and not small organizations such as the one headed by Wimal Weerawansa would decide on who its prime ministerial candidate would be , a leading member of the party said yesterday.
Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who along with President Maithripala Sirisena now wield considerable influence in the SLFP, told the “Sunday Island” that last weeks rally in Nugegoda organized by the NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa and two other left parties calling for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to be named the SLFP’s next Prime Ministerial candidate would not be able to apply any pressure on the “Official SLFP”.
“Who is Weerawansa to decide on who our Prime Ministerial candidate should be? He, heads a very small party, which people normally refer to as Three Wheel Pakshaya . Even the other two left parties who joined Weerawansa in organizing last weeks Nugegoda meeting fall into the same category,” he pointed out.
When told that a large number of people had attended the Nugegoda rally, the Minister replied ” Do not be fooled by the numbers you see at Weerawansa/Mahinda organized meetings. People were transported in a total of 222 buses to Nugegoda. Even before the last Presidential Election, Mahinda who had enough resources at his command, took bus loads of people to his rallies. But those numbers did not reflect in the final result. The people who attended our meetings came of their own free will using public transport.”
Senaratne said that when he crossed over to the Opposition prior to the January 8 Presidential poll, only two local level politicians from his electorate joined him. But he continued his mission knowing very well that Mahinda would be defeated.
“I told my critics that I would win my electorate by around 15,000 votes just as I had done at the previous Presidential Election and it turned out just that way, on Jan. 9.”