Popular actress and politician Geetha Kumarasinghe gave an interview to Daily Mirror on her journey in politics so far, her plans as a politician, and of her aspiration to become the next Chief Minister of the Southern Province.
Q: How has your experience in politics been so far? A:My entry into politics was not an overnight occurrence. I was barely 16 –and didn’t even have my voting rights – when I obtained membership of the SLFP. Since then I have been actively involved with SLFP campaigns. Although I was invited to contest from the UNP on several occasions, I rejected them mainly because my affiliations and loyalties have been with the SLFP.
When the President inquired of my interest to contest at the 2010 parliamentary elections, I expressed my willingness because I was impressed with his honesty as a politician and the promise he made to win the war. But I made a firm request to be permitted to contest from the Benthara- Elpitiya electorate. My request was granted and the battle was extremely tough. Apart from the complications that arose during the vote counting process, I was subjected to mud-slinging campaigns by other male politicians. But I was certain of my capabilities and did not get discouraged. Some who challenged me were drug peddlers who hung around the streets; so I knew that with my level of education and knowledge, they were of no real challenge to me.
Q: What are the services you have carried out for the welfare of the people in the southern province, so far? A: I am strictly against injustices and have always stood for empowerment of women and the strengthening of the rule of law. Although I was not elected to the Parliament in 2010, I was determined to serve the people using my capabilities. I moved my residence to Elpitiya and established the Geetha Kumarasinghe Foundation in order to serve the people of my electorate better. I hold public meetings twice a week, in order to give the people of the area a chance to voice their grievances. Although they maybe preliminary steps, I am content with the work I have been able to accomplish on my own, without any government involvement.
Recently, I conducted an employment fair in Galle where I brought entrepreneurs from 100 different organisations and managed to provide 400 jobs for the youth in the area within a day. Similarly, my attention is to reduce the rampant homelessness in the villages as well as improving the provincial education, agriculture and health sectors.
Q: What are the preparations you have carried out so far pertaining to the upcoming southern provincial polls? A:The Provincial Councils today have turned into dens of corruption and I wish to make a change in the existing system. My expectation is to be elected to the position of Chief Minister because I believe that way; I could make the kind of impact I wish to create in the people’s lives without being just another provincial councillor.
Q: Have you been promised of the chief ministerial candidacy? A: Post of Chief Minister is what my voters want me to be elevated to. True, the final decision on the chief minister position lies in the hands of the Party Leader and the seniors but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Together with women and the youth who wish to make a positive change, I believe I could make my contribution to eradicate the shortcomings in the system of governance in this country.
Even at present, a significant crowd has joined me and they accept my vision. They have now realised that in contrast to what certain politicians attempted to make of me, I am not just a pretty face. I have proven my capability through my actions and have even spent my private finances for the betterment of the people.
Q: You referred to irregularities that occurred during the counting of votes at the previous southern provincial council elections. Are you anticipating similar issues this time too? A:I will be signing my nominations at the party office and I am about to kick start my campaign activities this week. There is a limited amount of time left to carry out campaigning and I wish to make the most of it. However, I should mention that I have kept my full faith in the present Elections Commissioner and although there is no possible way to predict any issues that may arise, I feel that he would do his utmost to ensure that all election processes are free and fair.
Q: What are your comments concerning the recent trend of popular actresses entering the political fray? A: This is a democratic country and anyone has the right to appear before the nomination board interviews and put themselves up for consideration, to represent people. But it is up to the party to select those who deserve it and I believe in that regard, the party seniors have made their decision and that chapter is now closed. Nowadays, even if an individual makes a single appearance in a TV drama they tend to call themselves actresses. So it is up to the party to decide whether or not to give these so-called actresses a chance to represent their party.
Q: Popular figures who enter politics are often accused of becoming politicians in expectation of perks and benefits. How would you respond to such accusations? A: I will quit politics the day anyone is able to prove any kind of corruption charge against me. This is a challenge to all – come forward and prove any financial misappropriation or misuse of public property committed by me and I will immediately quit my political career. I have earned enough money, I am a dutiful tax payer and there is absolutely no need for me to steal from the people.
Q: What are your future political aspirations? A:My only expectation is to serve the people till the day that I die.
Comments - 1
Punny Pellow Thursday, 06 February 2014 02:16 AM
Where is her preeetttyyyy face?
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