By Skandha Gunasekara
Emphasising the need to find a lasting solution to the national problem, the Leader of the Opposition yesterday condemned former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, for inciting racial disharmony during the run-up to the recently concluded Local Government elections.
“During the early stage of their campaign, Mahinda Rajapaksa said that Tamil Eelam was blooming again. If you continue behaving the way you have, Eelam will bloom; it will bloom out of your own lotus bud,” Opposition Leader and leader of the TNA R Sampanthan said.
The Opposition Leader made these remarks while taking part in yesterday’s adjournment debate on the political crisis, which has arisen in the country as a consequence of the outcome of the Local Government elections, adding that “It is abhorrent to play the racial card.”
He then warned that such actions were detrimental to the reconciliation process. “We want a solution in a united, undivided, indivisible and single country. We have made our position clear. It is wrong to instigate communal feelings against a single community while we are demanding a political solution,” Sampanthan said.
He then pointed out that the results of a local authority election had no impact on the constituency of the Parliament.
“The team led by Mahinda Rajapaksa could not poll at least 50 percent in the last three elections including the recently ended local government elections. Parliament is not constituted on the basis of local government polls results. It is wrong to demand power in parliament on the basis of local government results.”
Meanwhile Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayaka pointed out that the SLFP voters had shifted their allegiance away from its long-time base to a new faction, while going on to rebuke the President and the Prime Minister for safeguarding ‘thieves’.
“The Local Government elections results showed the world that SLFP is no longer at Darley Road but at a new camp. The JVP could not reach our target but we achieved some success. The results also tell Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena not to dream of contesting for the President’s seat again. Neither would be able to muster the forces which brought them to power at the 08 January 2015 election. The country needs to end this power struggle,” said Dissanayaka.
He then pointed out that though the Government was to blame for their own defeat at the LG polls and that the results could not be considered a referendum.
“Some try to interpret this election results as a referendum. If anyone does so, then there is no clear-cut victor in this referendum, for none had polled more than 50 percent. The incumbent Government provided safe heaven to fraudsters and thieves. The Government acted in a manner against the mandate it received. The Prime Minister protected one set of thieves while the President protected another set of thieves. The Government failed to punish thieves and murderers. The Government delayed investigations. Therefore the people responded and voted to defeat them.”