Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to those who attended the massive rally in Nugegoda on Wednesday urging him to return to active politics said he could not ignore the hands of honour and affection extended to him by the people and the leadership forces of the UPFA led by the SLFP.
The message read out to the applause of a large crowd by former ambassador and academic Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka said: “I would like to emphasise that I cannot ignore the aspirations of the people who think about the country and had dedicated themselves for the country. I would like to state again that I would embrace with honour and comradely the hands of comradeship extended by the people and the leadership forces of the UPFA led by the SLFP.”
The message said that the thing he told the people who came to meet him was that what he suffered was not a defeat but the result of a conspiracy.
“I do not hesitate to accept the defeat as a defeat because it is not new to me and disgrace is not new to me either. Even jail is not new to me. All of you know that I have undergone all of them for your sake,” he said in the message.
He said that what the country was experiencing today was not a defeat but the outcome of the conspiracy against the country.
“This is clear when you consider the two-thirds majority of the Opposition in parliament. I challenge the opponents of the country to state that they had obtained a great victory with their heads straight. I emphasise to them that enjoying the benefits of a shrewd agenda is not a victory,” he said.
Meanwhile, speaking at the rally, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa said they called on the people who were disgusted by voting for the ‘Swan’ to come forward to make Mahinda Rajapaksa the prime minister to save the country from the clutches of the Western forces.
“The creation of a federal government is imminent in the country and the unitary state of the country is in danger under the present government. We must make Mahinda Rajapaksa the prime minister to save the country. We will go to every city with this national struggle to achieve that goal,’ he told some thousands of supporters.
Due to the rally, the roads passing through Nugegoda junction were closed for few hours, as the thousands of supporters filled the roads.
The rally was organised to promote former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as the UPFA prime ministerial candidate at the next general elections.
Mr. Weerawansa said what existed the country today was not a national government but Ranil’s government, where Maithripala Sirisena was president in name only.
“If this is Sirisena’s government why are SLFPers being attacked and transferred? This is not a Sirisena government,” he said.
He said that for country to be properly governed and developed, Mahinda Rajapaksa should be made the prime minister, adding that he did not lose and would never be defeated.
Mr. Weerawansa said the government had deceived the government servants by promising to increase their salaries by Rs. 10 000 but had failed to do so while reducing the prices of inessential items even though they had promised to reduce the prices of essential items.
“No one will be able to stop this peoples’ force by mudslinging campaigns and insults. Mahinda Rajapaksa is living in Medamulana.
He has no place to live in Colombo. He did not earn property but he earned people. people have lost faith in the government in 30 days how will things be after the next 40 days?” he asked.
Mr. Weerawansa said the government was making false allegations against the previous government regarding corruption but had not been able to prove any of them.
“Where are the helicopters, Lamborghinis and golden horses they spoke of? They keep on saying my wife would be arrested but they have not even taken a statement from her,” he said.
Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila said it was the day when Provincial Councilor Azath Salley would leave politics as he had promised to do so if 5000 people came to the rally.
Mr. Gammanpila said a separatist agenda was in operation under the pretext of 100 day programme and said they had predicted before the election that if Maithri won it would be the victory of the LTTE.
He said that they pressed the government to accept that the LTTE was raising its head again.
Mr. Gammanpila said the country which was rescued from the LTTE were being looted by the Western forces and the LTTE was raising its head again and requested Mahinda Rajapaksa to return to politics to protect the country.
MPs Vasudeva Nanayakkara andDinesh Gunawardane, along with Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila and number of UPFA MPs (including T.B. Ekanayake, C.B. Rratnayake, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Vidura Wickremenayake and Jayantha Ketagoda) had come to attend the rally. Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga and WP-PC members, including Upali Kodikara and Roger Seneviratne, were also present.(Ajith Siriwardane)