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‘More UNP MPs to join us’

Land Development, Human Settlement and Ranaviru Welfare Minister Johnston Fernando says the undated resignation letters signed by the UNP candidates are not an obstacle to them to cross over to the Government. The Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said after April 08 General Election more UNP MPs would join the Government. To cover up its weaknesses, the UNP leadership attempts to keep its candidates by forcing them to sign undated resignation letters.

Q: The UNP says the Government has no way to obtain a two third majority. Your comments?

A: The UNP would really end up in a humiliating defeat while the Government would achieve a landslide victory at the April 08 General Election. Despite the Opposition efforts to deny a two thirds majority, the Government is fully convinced of an easy victory. Similarly when the UNP wanted to defeat us, we won the last Presidential Election with an overwhelming majority. Today the UNP does not say that they would defeat the Government at the next election. The struggle launched by the UNP is not to give two-thirds to the Government. The Government is confident that it would obtain two-thirds with the blessings of the country’s people.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa fulfilled all that the UNP claimed he would not. After mobilising all Opposition forces, though the UNP led its crusade to the President at the last Presidential Election, at last they had to eat humble pie when he won with a majority of 1.8 million votes. This clearly indicates, all predictions made by the UNP went wrong! Therefore that we will get two-thirds at the upcoming General Election is crystal clear to the country.

Q: To prevent its MPs crossing over to the Government, the UNP has obtained undated resignation letters from its candidates. Do you think this will be workable?

A: This is another feature of bankrupt politics. This shows the political bankruptcy of the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was also in the Cabinet of President Premadasa who would have never asked him for his resignation letter. The irony is that he has obtained an undated resignation letter from President Premadasa’s son as well. This shows there is no democracy within the UNP under Wickremesinghe’s dictatorship. This shows even the UNP candidates are not ready to accept the leadership of Wickremesinghe. The Opposition leader knows very well that another group of UNP MPs will join the Government after the election. First Prime Minister D.S.Senanayake will go down in history as the founder of the UNP while Wickremesinghe, the Leader who destroyed the party.

These resignation letters signed by the UNP candidates are not legally valid. This is just another “joke” by the UNP leadership which betrays the party and commits traitorous acts against the partymen. This kind of resignation letters were first obtained by President J.R.Jayewardene. President Rajapaksa too could have done a similar thing. Instead he has reposed themselves confidence in his candidates. The President has clearly stated that his doors are kept open to everybody to come and go at any time. To cover up his own weaknesses, Ranil Wickremesinghe attempts to keep his candidates by forcing them to sign resignation letters. This resignation letter is not a problem for UNP MPs to cross over to the Government.

Q: According to the UNP, your ministerial portfolio and that of Minister Indika Bandaranayake are not valid as two of your MP posts have been cancelled by the party. Your comments?

A: The Government has sought legal advice from the Attorney General on this issue. The Attorney General said there is no legal problem for us to hold ministerial portfolios in the Cabinet. After the dissolution of Parliament, the President reconvened the Parliament to pass the emergency. Therefore, it was not a new Parliamentary session. Other matters were included into that day’s agenda. The President reconvened the parliament only to extend the emergency.

The UNP General Secretary cannot understand this. He is the person who challenged the Government to hold the Presidential Election and the General Election. The person who made such challenges does not contest a seat in the General Election, he knows he cannot win from Kandy district. He has his name included in the UNP National List. This is the kind of person who makes these allegations. We should find out how Tissa Attanayake became a millionaire after he was appointed the UNP General Secretary.

Q: Do you think the UNP and the Democratic National Alliance together can form a Government with the number of seats they would obtain at the election?

A: How can they form a Government? The UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is doing his utmost to get more preferential votes and come to the Parliament.

Q: Why did the UNP and Sarath Fonseka fail to contest under one alliance at the General Election?

A: Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted to commit various traitorous acts against the country. He wanted evidence for it. Therefore, he used Sarath Fonseka and the JVP to sling mud at the President, his sons and his brothers. According to the information received by us, a huge amount of foreign funds had been received by Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sarath Fonseka and the JVP conducted their Presidential election campaign. Wickremesinghe could fulfil the traitorous acts during the last Presidential Election campaign. But his plans misfired after the Presidential Election. I know even Wickremesinghe and his wife also voted for the President.

In this General Election, UNP and JVP contest separately. The JVP which also backed the conspiracy hatched by the UNP to betray the country could also learn a bitter lesson! Sarath Fonseka went against the President who appointed him as the Army Commander and sent him abroad to receive further medical treatment after the LTTE suicide attack. According to the preachings of the Buddha, he had to face the consequences of his own actions! Therefore, Wickremesinghe got what he wanted from Sarath Fonseka. At present the “swan” is under arrest while the party is also under “arrest” . Today it is very difficult to find the symbol of this party as well. Both JVP and Ranil Wickremesinghe used Sarath Fonseka to gain political mileage. While Sarath Fonseka is under arrest, the JVP uses his wife for their political campaign- to gain even a single MP post under the cover of Sarath Fonseka. The JVP will be completely wiped out after the election.

Q: Do you think the UNP contesting separately would help them to secure more seats?

A: No I don’t think so. The UNP’s vote base is 3 million or 3.5 million. At present, the UNP’s vote base is further deteriorating. The UNP’s vote base will be further reduced by nearly 1.5 million at the upcoming General Election. A small percentage of UNPers will not cast their vote. Another percentage will join hands with the President, as they do not like the party leadership. They know the party leadership deceived them. They are well aware that Ranil Wickremesinghe did not field Sarath Fonseka as the Opposition Common Presidential Candidate with honest intention.

Most of the UNPers believe Wickremesinghe also voted for President Rajapaksa at the last Presidential Election. Ten days after the defeat of Sarath Fonseka, Ranil Wickremesinghe met the President.

If Wickremesinghe is genuine, he would have led a demonstration demanding Sarath Fonseka’s release. Certain percentage of UNPers supports the President to obtain two third majority at the election. The UNP vote base in Kurunegala district was reduced by over 100000 votes at the last Presidential Election. Another 100000 votes will be added to the Government from Kurunegala district at the forthcoming General Election.

A similar trend will follow in other parts of the country as well. At present, the UNPers very well know that voting for Ranil Wickremesinghe means providing again the opportunity for him to enjoy all perks and betray the country. Therefore, UNPers are not ready to vote for this kind of person. At this General Election, they will add more votes to the six million votes obtained by President Rajapaksa at the last Presidential Election. At present, the UNP finds its difficult to gather enough people to conduct their election campaign.

Q: Your crossing over to the Government and contest under the UPFA banner at the forthcoming General Election, have a serious impact on your vote base?

A: Nearly 150,000 UNPers in Kurunegala district voted for the President at the last Presidential Election. They fully endorsed the decision taken by me to join the Government. Another 100000 UNP votes will be added to the Government at the upcoming General Election. Over 10,000 UNPers in my electorate have already obtained the SLFP membership.

A large number of UNPers in other electorates in Kurunegala district is also joining hands with me. Even the SLFPers have highly appreciated the decision taken by me on behalf of the President and the motherland. Therefore, I can win this election with an overwhelming majority, because as a politician I always live with the people by giving leadership to them. My name will go into history as a politician who crossed over to the Government from the UNP and obtained a resounding victory under the UPFA within a very short period.

Q: The Opposition argues that the people voted for the President as he rescued the country, but they will not vote for some Government Ministers due to its alleged bribery and corruption charges levelled against them. Your comments?

A: This is just another slogan made by the Opposition. The Government has put forward the senior and new candidates for the General Election. After six years, the opportunity is provided to the people to elect their representatives. Therefore, the people will decide who should be elected to the Parliament. I think this is applicable to UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who has been continuously defeated 17 or 18 elections. If any politician has indulged in bribery or corruption , it is entirely up to the voters to take a decision on them.

Q: The Opposition complains the Government has deliberately made the Bribery and Corruption Commission defunct due to charges levelled against some Government Ministers. How do you respond to this allegation?

A: The Bribery and Corruption Commission has not been defunct as the UNP claims. How many such complaints have been made against former UNP Ministers? What is the action taken by the UNP against them? They only launched various mud slinging campaigns against the President and his brothers? The UNP has failed to provide any evidence on such allegations. If the UNP has adequate evidence to prove such allegations, they would have gone to courts or asked to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee. Why did the UNP fail to ask for a Select Committee or disclose the information to the public on such corrupt practices? This is just another UNP slogan to mislead the people of this country.

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