Toppling the govt conspiracy not needed - Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena
By Prageeth Sampath
The United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Member of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena says Mahinda Rajapaksa carried out development work while the war was being fought. "He ended the war and carried out massive development projects in the country. He built ports, airports, and expressways. If Rajapaksa had not built them, the yahapalana government would have sold the people as slaves".
? How is the new party?
A: It is still being talked about. Let's see what will happen in the future.
? Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says next year there will be enough and more elections. Is this true?
A: That is what he says. But there is no sign of an election. The reason is that the government is attempting to fold up the election map.
? If they hold an election, what's your position?
A: We'll consider it then.
? Will you contest the election from the new front or the SLFP?
A: There won't be a general election. It will either be a Local Government or Provincial Council election. Whichever election is held we will contest through an alliance.
? Does that mean it will be the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna?
A: Most probably, yes.
? Will SLFPers join the alliance?
A: If they want, they can do so.
? Will they leave their ministerial posts and join the Joint Opposition?
A: They can join it in any way they like. That will be a task for those who have taken over ministerial posts saying that they belong to the SLFP.
? Party membership of those who support the Joint Opposition (JO) are being annulled. They are being removed from the posts of electoral organizers. Disciplinary inquiries are being held. Are you in agreement with such a process?
A: Definitely not. It is a decision of the SLFP. We are not in Parliament as the SLFP, but as members of an alliance. The UNP too is an alliance in Parliament. Therefore we too will contest every upcoming election as an alliance.
? The JO believes that they have 100 per cent advantage at the Local Government Elections. Is this a daydream?
A: It is not a daydream. That is the truth. Very clearly we will gain 100 per cent victory at the village level in elections.
? People in villages of course say that both the previous and the present governments are the same?
A: We have not been told so. However, people in villages are now disgusted with the government which is torturing people in both villages and the cities. All of them say that they do not want the yahapalana government.
? Will the JO make false election promises?
? Why not?
A: We will not give political pledges. We cannot do politics by giving promises to the people. What they expect is how the country would be built by telling the truth and how the country would be taken forward. Today, at this moment, no one in the country thinks about the future. Today the country is in such a state that nobody can think of the future. There is no plan for tomorrow for the people of the country. The yahapalana government has created this situation. All hopes of the people have been dashed to the ground. Today people think how to exist. They cannot think of the future. There is no development in the country. Even the government has no development plans for the future.
? The Prime Minister says that by 2022 the country will be free from the debt burden. If that is so, JO's claims have no basis. Is the JO coming out with politically deceitful claims?
A: We never say politically deceitful things. The government said the country will be free from debt in 2022. Is it to fulfil that promise that they are selling off the country's assets? They sold the Hambantota Port. Now they are going to sell the Mattala Airport. They are selling everything that can be sold. They are even trying to sell the Bathalagoda Paddy Research Institute which belongs to the Agricultural Department. They are also trying to sell the Mahailuppallama Farm. When everything is sold there will be nothing left for us by 2022.
? Certain national assets were sold when the alliance was in power. Do you deny it?
A: We love the country and we did not sell the country's assets. We got investors to carry out projects. Mahinda Rajapaksa thought of the country before approving such projects. The people are aware of them. The former President carried out development work while fighting a ruthless war against the Tigers. He ended the war and continued with his development work. He built ports, airports, and expressways. If he had not built them, the yahapalana government would have sold off the people as slaves. Whenever the UNP came to power they always sold the country's assets to foreigners. In a way, the SLFP builds and the UNP sells!
? However, the President is the former General Secretary of the SLFP. Do you say that he has no concern for the country?
A: We regret to say that SLFP policies are not being implemented today. That is what certain ministers of the SLFP in the government say.
? Is it because these things are being criticized that disciplinary inquiries are being held and people are chased away from the party?
A: I believe so. However, now we cannot find what the SLFP is. The SLFP has been betrayed. It was reported in last week's Mawbima what the President had told the UNP backbenchers. When you look at that, what do you feel? The SLFP has already been mortgaged to the UNP.
? Do you mean to say that the Executive President is working according to what the Prime Minister says?
A: Yes, that is what is happening now.
? Is the JO against the new tax law?
A: Yes. Although the government says that both the SLFP and the UNP agreed with the contents of the law, there are conflicts within the ranks.
? Are the conflicts due to the divergence of opinions in the Unity Government?
A: Very clearly.
? If you do not like the government, what is the alternative?
A: The government should be defeated in an election to save the country.
? If you defeat the government, who will come to power?
A: That is what we are preparing for.
? Werern't you removed because you did not carry out your duties properly?
A: No. We were removed because of some of our faults. Now the people want us back.
? Will you support the 20th Amendment?
A: No. We won't. The government is trying to postpone elections by bringing it.
? What do you really want?
A: We want an amendment to change the system of elections and abolish the post of President.
? What is the 20th Amendment about?
A: As we have suspicions about the 20th Amendment, we will not support it.
? The government says a good price is paid for paddy, tea and rubber. It also says that concessions have been given for agriculture. Do you agree with their claims?
A: What lies! Today there is no agricultural industry in the country. Everything is imported from abroad. When the government came to power there was no place to store excess paddy. As a result, excess paddy had to be stored at the Mattala Airport. Today more than 50 per cent of our requirements are imported to the country. That is the policy of the yahapalana government.
? Is there an attempt to make Chamal Rajapaksa the Prime Minister?
A: No. That will never happen. What we want is an election. When we were in power we held elections every six months.
? The President said the government can be toppled only through a conspiracy. Why did he say so?
A: The government is trying to create news. There is no use of toppling the government through a conspiracy. What will happen then is that the country will be in chaos. The government has to be toppled through an election.
? The government says there are rogues in the JO. However, the JO is bringing No Confidence Motions against the rogues in the government. Can you explain?
A: The government is trying to silence the JO by bringing in law suits against them. However, the government knows that it is fighting a losing battle. Very soon it will be toppled democratically.
? The government has charged that with the change of the Minister of Justice the JO is trying to fish in troubled waters. How far is this true?
A: The former Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe spoke up on behalf of the country. He objected to bringing foreign Judges to hear cases against Sri Lankan soldiers. Finally, the government removed him from the ministry.
? Is it true that he had deals with the JO?
A: They are baseless allegations. The government is trying to cover up the Central Bank Bond scam by diverting the people's attention. The Hambantota Port deal is another fraud. The whole country has been mortgaged to foreign countries.
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