Election choice between militarisation and prosperity: Sajith | Sunday Observer

Election choice between militarisation and prosperity: Sajith

The people of Sri Lanka needed leaders who built bridges between communities, but his opponents were determined to sow racial and religious hatred in a bid to win power, New Democratic Front presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa said yesterday.

In a broadside at his main rival, the SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is dogged by allegations of human rights abuses during his time as Defence Secretary, Premadasa insisted that the November 16 presidential poll will be a choice between creating a militarised state, in which state terror and state terrorism reigns and moving forward towards a prosperous and developed nation.

Addressing Colombo and Colombo East bala mandala meetings at the National Library Auditorium last afternoon, Premadasa reiterated that the country cannot be made more secure by creating divisions and mistrust between communities.

“To sow fear between communities is to destroy the country in a bid to grab power,” the NDF candidate charged.

“Their effort is to win the highest office in this country by causing its destruction,” he added.

“Some say if we destroy Churches, Mosques and Kovils Buddhism will be protected,” he said.

Premadasa questioning if these individuals even had a thorough knowledge of Buddhism’s five precepts. He noted how Buddhism has been given prominence through the country’s constitution. He added that likewise, the constitution should give due protection to other religions as well. “In the country, harmony must exist among the communities,” he said. “Only traitors try to create communal rifts,” he added.

Premadasa also slammed the SLPP for trying to claim sole custodian of Buddhism, recalling that it was the same regime making these assertions that held car races around the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy against the wishes of the Buddhist clergy.

While crying over the mistreatment of ‘war heroes’, it was the Rajapaksa Government that used soldiers to stack sandbags around the Dalada Maligawa to hold motor races.

“It is the leader who can fall at the feet of his people, who must take over the future of this country,” Premadasa said.

Speaking at the same meeting, State Minister for Finance Eran Wickremaratne said that the choice before the people at the November 16 presidential election was not a choice between two faces.

“It is a choice between two systems of governance,” Wickremaratne said, adding that in all his years in politics, Premadasa had refrained from appointing members of his family to state positions.

“There is no space for family politics in the UNP. Our candidate represents the impoverished, oppressed masses in the country,” the State Minister noted.