Referring to reports that he had been granted UNP candidature on the condition, presidential hopeful Sajith Premadasa said yesterday he would not be anyone’s puppet if assumed presidency.
“There was a news item which said I have been given UNP candidature subjected to conditions. I am not anyone’s puppet. Sajith Premadasa will be the only candidate to contest presidency sans conditions. I will only work according to my conscience,” he said yesterday at a rally held in Matugama.
“Those who anticipate prime ministerial and ministerial posts should be prepared to toil without merely clinging on to perks. It is not fair for rulers to enjoy comforts when ordinary citizens suffer. I will convert mansions including Temple Trees and the presidential palace in Jaffna into institutions which teach IT and English language,” he said.
On a different note, he pledged to mull over national security in a broader sense if elected president.
“The security of a country comprises socio-economic and political components. It is not possible to ensure security without national unity. One cannot ensure the security of a country by destroying places of worship. I will work genuinely to safeguard Buddhism and will not make this a showpiece. I will introduce new legislation to uphold gender equality,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Harin Fernando said the campaign to get the party to name Mr. Premadasa had begun with the slogan 'Sajith Enawa' (Sajith is coming). “Den Sajith Avilla (Sajith has now arrived),” he said amid cheers.
Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe took time to decide on the candidate. “The Premier took time as he is a forward-thinker,” he said.
A large group of MPs participated in the rally. However, Kalutara District MPs Palitha Thewarapperuma, Rajitha Senaratne and Lakshman Wijemanna were notable absentees. Minister Gayantha Karunatilaka was seen at the pro-Premadasa rally for the first time as he did not attend the three rallies held previously. (Yohan Perera)