Fortunately the Kurunegala District UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa had not played cricket. Had he played and won the limited over cricket World Cup in 1996, he would have still been the captain of the Sri Lanka team, Gampaha District UPFA candidate Arjuna Ranatunga said today.
He made these remarks when he addressed a large gathering of supporters, when former President Chandrika Kumaratunga visited the main election propaganda office in Gampaha.
“I was able to lead a fantastic cricket team wherein all members were a dedicated, extremely talented and patriotic lot. We also produced a second rung of players from up and coming young cricketers, who were ready to replace seniors when they retire.
“But President Rajapaksa failed to build up a second ring of political leaders from among young and skilful politicians in the SLFP but concentrated on keeping power among himself and his family.
“That is why I told you that if he won the World Cup in 1996, he would have never given up the captaincy of the team,” Minister Ranatunga charged.
Minister Ranatunga said former President Kumaratunga worked hard to bring President Maithripala Sirisena and the Yahapalana Government to power as she loved the country.
“She has worked hard to strengthen the concept of good governance, prevent corrupt politicians being elected to Parliament and to protect the January 8 Silent Revolution,” he said.
“The August 17 election is a contest between the good and bad, evil and justice and law and lawlessness or a fight against the UNP and the UFPA that represent the good and the bad respectively.
“The voters of this country deserve to be represented by decent, corrupt free and educated members in Parliament. They can find respectable and intelligent candidates only from among UNP candidates in each and every district. Therefore it is up to the voters to elect a member they can call their Manthrithuma with pride,” he stressed.
Minister Ranatunga said Mrs. Kumaratunga was deeply disappointed and heartbroken over the fate of the SLFP today, which was established by her illustrious father, late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.
“She is determined to bring the SLFP to its former glory after August 17 poll and that is why she wants a government with clean and honourable politicians,” he said.
Commenting on the plight of war heroes, Minister Ranatunga lamented that under the Rajapaksa regime, Ranawiruwo used to sing with grief but not with a feeling of victory and added the UNFGG government to be formed after August 17 would not let anyone to belittle war heroes.
“It was sad to witness how the Rajapaksa regime deployed ex-war heroes on menial duties like to water flower beds excavate and clean drains forgetting that they were the warriors who saved the country from terrorism. Some politicians may not have resorted to corruptions and misdeeds if those war heroes did not do that. The corrupt politicians have exploited the prevailing peaceful situation to their advantage to rob the country,” Minister Ranatunga added.
A large number of retired war heroes were present at the occasion. (Sandun A Jayasekera)