By Harischandra Gunaratna and Maheesha Mudugamuwa
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his May Day message, read out at the UPFA dissidents’ rally at Kirulapone yesterday, said that the country had entered an era of ‘mega deals’ under the new government which was run by the lackeys of western powers.
The former President said that under the UPFA rule those forces had not been allowed to dictate terms to Sri Lanka.Rajapaksa urged the working class to rally round his party to defeat the lackeys of imperialist forces.
“Under my rule we experienced the most difficult period in the country’s political history and we were able to establish peace, but it is despicable the manner in which the present government is not making any effort to protect the peace dividend gained with much sacrifice,” he said.
The message was read by Parliamentarian Salinda Dissanayake.
The rally attended by large number UPFA supporters was organised by the Joint Trade Union Alliance and held at the Lalith Athulathmudali grounds at Kirulopane.
Leader of the Democratic Left Front and former UPFA Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara yesterday addressing the rally said they need to remove the remaining remnants of the executive presidency and invite former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to lead the march forward for a UPFA victory and to make him the leader.
He said the new government was adopting anti-people policies which would ruin the country’s economy at the behest of the western powers who were all out to ensure that Sri Lanka would not prosper in the post-war period.
The UNP had earned notoriety for killing and assaulting people of the working class during May Day rallies and the party had always tried to suppress the workers, the veteran leftist said.
Another veteran leftist and former UPFA Cabinet Minister Tissa Vitharane said that masses had realised that they should bring back Mahinda Rajapaksa as the leader of the country and added that it was a mistake that the former President didn’t opt to continue as President for the remaining two years of his second term.
Vitharane criticised the present government for promising to reduce the prices of commodities by removing all taxes and reneging on the promise by only reducing taxes by around 20 per cent.
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna Leader Dinesh Gunawardena assured that the government dominated would be toppled before exceeding another 100 days and they would form a UPFA government with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The presence of a massive crowd at the rally had sent a clear message that they wanted ex-president Rajapksa as their leader again, he added.
Gunawardena stressed that the 100-day programme of the new government was over and therefore Parliament should be dissolved.
He said that t the SLFPers would not dance to incumbent premier’s tunes once again as they knew that they had been misled by the UNP and several others who shouted that the previous government was full of racketeers.
Meanwhile, the National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa said that even if the present government were to send them to prison they would not stop their struggle bring back ex-president Rajapksa to power.
Primier Ranil Wickremesinghe was trying to make use of the votes gained by the President Sirisena at the previous presidential election to be in power and make a UNP government, he added.