Former Parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera today urged Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to retire from politics and hand over the leadership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa so that he can implement his policies independently.
The Thera told a news conference that the government had failed to implement its policies such as implementing sustainable development, organic farming and bringing in laws against Islamic extremism.
The Thera said he would give a deadline of twenty-four hours to the government to reveal its stand on the implementation of policies on addressing the current Islamic extremism issues such as to declare whether it would legalize or ban the Madrasa's which are currently producing religious fanatics. and its policies on Muslim Marriage and Divorce laws and threatened to quit supporting the government if it failed to do so.
“Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa should not contest at the general elections from the Kurunegala District. His contesting at the elections during the last election was justifiable as he had a security threat. Since his brother won the Presidency that security threat has ceased to exist. He should now retire from active politics and act in a advisory role.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa should be given the leadership of the SLPP. He has no place in the party leaders’ meeting. He was given a mandate to govern the country. It is wrong to hijack that mandate. He should be given the freedom to implement his polices.
He should forget about brotherhoods and mediate in governing as a diplomat. His brothers and sons are the people of this country. We have no intention of supporting this government if the past mistakes are repeated,’ he said.
Ven. Rathana Thera said if the government failed to reveal its plans on the above policies, he would form a national force comprising of Buddhist monks and scholars and take a decision to contest the general election.
Commenting on Buddhist monks engaged in politics, the Thera said he would continue his fight to get his policies implemented outside parliament.
“If anyone tries to prevent me from doing politics and challenge me to quit politics, I will get Buddhist monks to contest elections from throughout the country. I have been there in Parliament for 15 years. I have no intention of going to parliament. But I will continue my fight,” he said. (Ajith Siriwardana)