No agreement with any political party in North: PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the UNP led-alliance has not signed any covert or overt agreement with any party in the north.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe made this remark at a rally in Kytes shortly before the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) announced its decision to support the UNP –led New Democratic Front (NDF) candidate Sajith Premadasa.

“We have not got into a secret or an open agreement with any party. We have nothing to hide,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.

“A future government of NDF candidate Sajith Premadasa will only devolve power as it is stated in his election manifesto. Accordingly, power will be devolved to the provinces based on the proposals which came out during the terms of late President R. Premadasa, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We will do so after discussing it with all the parties. SLPP cannot say we are betraying the nation as power will be devolved based on proposals which came up during the tenure of its leader,” he said.

“Our government could not enact a new constitution because we did not have a majority. Therefore, we ask the people to give a sufficient mandate to all the parties which are in favour of a new constitution at the next general election,” he added.

The Prime Minister said a future government of Mr. Premadasa will introduce a Senate which will comprise of provincial council representatives. He said 25 per cent of the Senate will be women. In addition, he said 25 per cent of the national list members will also be women in the future under a new constitution.

Also, he said India had agreed not to allow the South Indian fishermen to come into Sri Lankan territories and therefore the fisheries issues will be resolved.

Minister of Fisheries Agriculture and Rural Economy, P. Harrison also pledged to resolve the issues faced by the Northern fisheries.

Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ravi Karunanayake said steps would be taken to employ Tamil people to read electricity meters in the Northern households in the future. He said 40 persons had already been employed as meter readers.

Deputy Minister Vijeayakala Maheshwaran said people in the North do not want to live in fear any more. She said people in the North do not want night curfew.” Vote for peace at the presidential elections,” she said.  (Yohan Perera in Jaffna)

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