Responding to reports querying his citizenship, SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday he was born at Palatuwa in Matara and not in the US. He expressed these views while addressing a rally held yesterday in Matara.
Along with SLPP and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya addressed a series of rallies in several cities including Tissamaharama, Matara, Galle and the final in Homagama last evening.
Speaking at the Homagama rally, the former Defence Secretary pledged to take responsibility for the security of all citizens.
"This government paid no attention to national security. Such carelessness led to the unfortunate Easter Sunday attacks. A government of ours will give priority to national security. We will restore it. We won't allow any form of terrorism to rear its head on our soil. I will take responsibility for the security of you and your children," he said amid cheers.
He said the incumbent government subjected him to various harassments, spread false news and filed cases and tried to jail him.
"Attempts of this nature could resurface in the coming days. Don't fall prey to these false government reports. Our victory is definite. Enjoy the victory in a peaceful manner,” he said.
On a different note, he said a government of there should target an income of USD 10 billion from tourism and 7 million tourists per year. “The government should sponsor the promotion of our country to lure middle-class foreign tourists," he said.
He said their election manifesto was practical and all pledges in it would be delivered during his tenure.
Speaking at the rally earlier, SLPP Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa backed what Gotabaya said and added that all children of D.A. Rajapaksa were born in Palatuwa and not in the US.
Scoffing reports of Gotabaya not being a Sri Lankan citizen, the former President said, "Some people talk as if Palatuwa is in the US. We don't have to respond to these false news reports," he said.
SLPP Chairman Professor G.L. Peiris, Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera, MPs Bandula Gunawardana, Wimal Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunawardana, Udaya Gammanpila, Susil Premajayantha, Keheliya Rambukwella and Wasantha Senanayake, former cricket captain T.M. Dilshan, artistes and many others attended the rally. (Lahiru Pothmulla and Krishan Jeewaka)
Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana