by Zacki Jabbar
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday that for the first time in the history of election campaigns in this country, members of the same government had publicly criticised each other, having forgotten the principle of collective responsibility.
Addressing the post-cabinet press briefing at the Information Department, Senaratne said one of the main reasons for the defeat of the UNP and SLFP at the recent local council elections was the two parties trading various allegations. “This led to the loss of a lot of votes for both the UNP and SLFP”.
When it was pointed out that it was President Maithripala Sirisena who had caused the most damage by accusing certain UNPers of graft, while failing to prove his allegations against the Rajapaksas even after three years in power, Senaratne smiled and said, “Journalists know better. Do I have to answer that question.”
He observed that due to the damaging remarks made in a bid to attract as many votes as possible, many people had decided to support the Podujana Peramuna saying that the “The UNP, the SLFP and the Podujana Peramuna consisted of rogues. But, they would vote for the party led by Mahinda Rajapaksa since he had at least been able to finish the war against the LTTE.”
Senaratne said that the other reasons for a below par showing of both the UNP and SLFP had been the cost of living including fertiliser prices and doubts in the minds of people as to whether the accusations made by both Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Sirisena against the Rajapaksas, were in fact true.
The government had, he said, introduced many relief measures including fuel and gas price reductions, more funds for the education sector and providing quality medicinal drugs at prices much less than what it used to be under the previous Rajapaksa administration. Some drugs sold at Rs. 13,000 earlier cost only Rs. 2,000 now. But some how many people did not show gratitude for that.”