Prime Minister and Leader of UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said he had instructed the party to get ready for the provincial council elections which will be held soon.
Mr. Wickremesinghe expressed this sentiments during the UNP Bala Mandala meeting in Kandy today.
He said he had instructed party hierarchy to remove those grass root members of the UNP in areas such as Central Province who does not work and replace them with others who could work.
“Kandy is a UNP strong hold. Therefore, we should not lose it at any time. We must get ready to face the provincial council elections,” the Prime Minister said.
“The airport and the port was on a standstill when UNP first took over the government in 2001. Exports were down.
However, we restored the economy. We also went into a creasefire agreement with the LTTE. Our government was accused of betraying the nation. However, LTTE Leader Prabhakaran said ceasefire agreement was a trap. The economy picketed up by 2003.
However, Parliament was dissolved in 2004. We lost the election. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over in 2005. They could not capitalize on the economic stability which we created although they won the war. They could not settle the debts. This is why they went for early elections. One has to be a fool to go for early polls or he or she does not have the ability to face a crisis. Former President is not a fool but he could not face an economic crisis.
Elections were held in 2015 and we came to power. We stabilized the economy this time as well. However, we will not allow any one to grab the government this time as our intention is to form a UNP government in 2020,” the Prime Minister said.
“Many including the media thought we are over for good after the local government election. People gave us a message. We should read it and work towards a change. We have changed to some extent but need to do some more,” he added.
UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said UNP will form a government in 2020.
Venerable Dambara Amila Thera who also attended the meeting said the government that would come to power in 2020 could be either a UNP government or a joint government of UNP and SLFP. “UNP wants to have its own government in 2020 but still there is a possibility of a joint government,” he said.
Minister Lakshman Kiriella said human rights issues in Sri Lanka has become a less important issue today. “UN Human Rights Council in 2014 allocated two days to discuss about Sri Lanka in 2014. However only 2 hours were allocated to discuss about Sri Lanka in 2016,” he said. (Yohan Perera, J. A. L. Jayasinghe and L. B. Senaratne)