BY RATHINDRA KURUWITA
It is the responsibility of all citizens in the country to safeguard the victory of the 8 January revolution by defeating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said after signing a MoU with the United National Party (UNP) to contest the coming general election yesterday at Temple Trees. “The defeat of Rajapaksa was a golden moment in our history. With his defeat we safeguarded our freedom. The UNP and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe made great sacrifices to make this happen,” he said.
He added that those who signed the MoU, a number of SLFP MPs, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and the UNP, will contest under the ‘Elephant’ symbol of the UNP as there was no time to form a new party or a symbol. “We arrived at this decision at the last moment. We have united all the forces that brought President Sirisena into power. We also have the blessings of Ven. Maduluwave Sobhitha Thera. We will be joined by all politicians who love the country and are not corrupt. We request the people to vote for us to continue the mandate of 8 January,” he said.
Senaratne, who was extremely unhappy about President Sirisena giving nominations to Rajapaksa and is said to have had a heated argument with him, was careful not to antagonize Sirisena. “After we win we will link up with President Sirisena and pass 20A and other legislations we could not pass. With 20A we will prevent corrupt persons from entering politics. In the 100 days we did a lot, we revitalized the economy, established media freedom and people were finally able to live freely,” he said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe added that the parties who signed the MoU yesterday came to protect the 8 January revolution and that all the constituents will be able to safeguard their identity. “There was no time to form a new party and we will contest under the Elephant symbol. But none of the constituents will lose their own identity,” he said.
Meanwhile Minister Champika Ranawake said that the Rajapaksa loyalists are trying to return the country to the dark days of the Rajapaksa administration. He added that it’s the responsibility of all to unite with the forces of freedom and defeat this threat.
Meanwhile Rajitha Senaratne, Arjuna Ranatunga, M. K. D. S. Gunawardane, Hirunika Premachandra (all from SLFP) and JHU’s Champika Ranawaka signed nominations to contest the coming election under the elephant symbol.
Senaratne will contest from Kalutara, Ranatunga from Gampaha and Ranawake and Premachandra will contest from Colombo.
MR’s re-entry shows SLFP’s bankruptcy’
July 13 (SO) The re-entry of Mahinda Rajapaksa by arm-twisting his party leadership reflects the party’s political bankruptcy, Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said. Senasinghe, a long-term UNP campaigner against corruption and a promoter of political reforms, said the SLFP of today rides on personalities than policies. He said, with the entry of Rajapaksa, the Bring Back Mahinda campaigners have ensured not their victorymore..