Dharma Sri Abeyratne and Lahiru Fernando
Rivals of the United National Party-led New Democratic Front are against its presidential candidate, Minister Sajith Premadasa, as he is working to eliminate nepotism and family-based politics from the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.
“His father, late Executive President Ranasinghe Premadasa also strived to eradicate family rule, and therefore, it is not surprising that certain Hambantota-based politicians are opposed to Sajith Premadasa even 26-years after the assassination of his father, the Premier pointed out to the massive crowd at the maiden public rally organised by the NDF in support of its presidential candidate, Premadasa.
The ‘Ekwa Idiriyata’ (Forward together) political rally was held at the Galle face Green with the participation of an estimated 500, 000 party supporters gathered from across the country.
Wickremesinghe said the rivals have started to tarnish the image of late Premadasa from the very first day his son Sajith Premadasa was nominated for the next presidential election due to this situation. “We must realise the hatred those individuals had for Ranasinghe Premadasa”, he added.
“Sajith is a leader who came from among the ordinary people. Today we have nominated him to continue the battle against family-bandyism. So, elect him as your president on November 16,” he added.
Responding to a remark by former Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa that the SLPP would bring a ‘terminator’ this year, the Premier said the people of the country should decide whether a killer of people or the leader of people should be elected as the President of the country this time. The Prime Minister also reminded the crowd of the development that successive UNP governments had brought to the country so far.
He also challenged former President Mahinda Rajapakse and SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa to respond on the political stage whether or not they wanted the proposed 10,000-acre industrial zone for the Hambantota area.