The challenge of filling up the Galle Face Green with Joint Opposition (JO) supporters was fulfilled successfully and now the government should hold the elections for the local government (LG) bodies without a delay to test people’s franchise, former president and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa challenged today.
Addressing the large crowd that thronged the Galle Face green for the May Day Rally organised by the JO, the former President said the government was trembling and shaking after witnessing the crowd gathered at JO rallies.
“We accepted the challenge and fulfilled it. Now, it’s only fair that we challenge the government. We challenge them to hold the elections for LG bodies immediately. However, after seeing this crowd, it will never go for any election,” he said.
If the government still continues to postpone the elections, the JO would have to show the power of the people by even taking to the streets, he said.
While claiming that they have accepted challenges of more magnitude, Mr. Rajapaksa said their My Day rally was historic and it would decide the end of the government.
He said the JO would do what’s necessary in the event the government introduces a Constitution which divides the country. “We shouldn’t wait till it does this. As Wimal Weerawansa and Vasudeva Nanayakkara said, people will take it to the streets. That’s when we will teach a lesson to this separatist government,” he said.
He criticized the government of dragging the construction of the Colombo Port City now known as Colombo International Financial City (CIFC), handing over operations of the Trincomalee Harbour to India and alienation.
He went on to note that the people are suffering from the loans obtained by the government and the Central Bank Bond sale issue and not because of the loans obtained during the previous regime.
Meanwhile, he said though Sri Lanka hadn’t become a signatory of the Rome Statute, members of the tri-forces and hierarchy of the commanders could be tried at an international war crime tribunal because of a recent Bill approved by the Government.
He said President Maithripala Sirisena had crippled the country and had removed functional electoral organizers of the Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP) on the whims of ‘Sirikotha.’
“This May Day rally is not only about trade union action. This should be used as a platform to send this government home,” he said.
Addressing the event, MP Wimal Weerawansa said the people gathered at the rally would surround Temple Trees and the President’s House if the government brought in a separatist constitution.
He said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka during the Vesak festival would not be in favour of the country and therefore, requested people to hoist black flags in protest over his visit and handing over of Trincomalee port to India.
He also said the people cannot wait till 2020 general election and said people’s force is the one and only option to go for in order to request for an early election.
MPs Dinesh Gunawardane, Dullas Alahapperuma, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Sarath Weerasekara, Gamini Lokuge, Dilum Amunugama, Udaya Gammanpila, former Ministers G.L. Peiris, Tissa Vitharana and many others spoke at the May Day rally. Except for one MP, who is abroad, all MPs of the Joint Opposition were attended the rally. (Lahiru Pothmulla)