Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday vowed to continue with the ongoing campaign against the government regardless of consequences.
The former SLFP leader was addressing the Joint Opposition rally at Kirulapone. In spite of dire warnings by President Maithripla Sirisena, over 46 UPFA members of parliament joined the rally. MPs Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Shalinda Dissanayake were overseas and MP Niroshan Premaratna could not attend the rally due to a family funeral.
Addressing the rally before the arrival of former President Rajapaksa, Ven. Murutthetuwe Ananda declared that the government could be defeated if people took to the streets. He said they could adopt tactics used against the Thai government.
Former President Rajapaksa claimed that he was facing the threat of arrest. Turning towards his eldest son, MP Namal, the President said that he would be arrested soon. MP Rajapaksa accused the government of planning to arrest his brothers, former Minister Basil and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya.
“Wimal, get ready; we can go to prison together,” MP Rajapaksa said, stressing that he wouldn’t allow a split in the Joint Opposition.
The former President castigated those who had been propagating the claim that the Rajapaksas were having a deal with the government.
There wouldn’t be a deal with the government under any circumstances or split in the Joint Opposition, the former President said.
Rajapaksa said that he attended the Kirulapone rally as a member of the SLFP. Those attending the SLFP rally in Galle could take the Southern expressway built by the previous government to join the Kirulapone rally, the former President said.
The former President declared that their common enemy was the UNP.
Recollecting the struggle against the LTTE, former President said that his government had brought the country under one flag. People should decide whether they wanted the country to break up again, he added.
The former President lashed out Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his government for misleading the people in respect of various development projects SriLankan airline, as well as Mihin Lanka.
The UPFA members present at the rally were Wimalaweera Dissanayake (Digamadulla), Sriyani Wijewickrema (Digamadulla), S.M. Chandrasena (Anuradhapura), Shehan Semasinghe (Anuradhapura), H.A. Muthukumarana (Anuradhapura), Weerakumara Dissanayake (Anuradhapura), Kumara Welgama (Kalutara), Rohitha Abeygunawardena (Kalutara), Vidura Wickremanayake (Kalutara), Piyal Nishantha (Kalutara), Jayantha Samaraweera (Kalutara), Kanaka Herath (Kegalle), Balasuriya (Kegalle), Johnston Fernando (Kurunegala), Dinesh Gunawardena (Colombo), Bandula Gunawardena (Colombo), Gamini Lokuge (Colombo), Wimal Weerawansa (Colombo), Udaya Gammanpila (Colombo), Prasanna Ranatunga (Gampaha), Prasanna Ranaweera (Gampaha), Sisira Jayakody (Gampaha), Indika Anurudda (Gampaha), Ramesh Pathirana (Galle), Mohan Silva (Galle), Geetha Kumarasinghe (Galle), C.B. Ratnayake (Nuwara Eliya), Sanath Nishantha, Roshan Ranasinghe (Polonnaruwa), Sena Vidanagamage (Badulla), Mahindananda Aluthgamage (Kandy), Keheliya Rambukwella (Kandy), Lohan Ratwatte (Kandy), Dilum Amunugama (Kandy) Dallas Alahapperuma (Matara), Chandrasiri Gajadeera (Matara), Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena (Matara) Nishantha Premaratne (Matara), Kanchana Wijesekera (Matara), Janaka Bandara Tennakoon (Matale) Vijitha Berugoda (Moneragala), Pavitra Wanniarachchi (Ratnaoura), Ranjith De Zoysa (Ratnapura), Janaka Wakkumbura (Ratnapura), Chamal Rajapaksa (Hambantota), Namal Rajapaksa (Hambantota) and D.V. Chanaka (Hambantota)
More than 260 UPFA Provincial Council members out of 357 and more than 2,000 UPFA local government members out of 2500 had attended the Kirulapone rally, organisers said.