Launch of election manifesto: Sajith’s Social Revolution to build a progressive nation | Sunday Observer

Launch of election manifesto: Sajith’s Social Revolution to build a progressive nation

The manifesto of the New Democratic Front (NDF) Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa was launched at a ceremony held at Queen’s Hotel, Kandy on Thursday (October 31) in the presence of religious dignitaries, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, party leaders of the NDF rainbow coalition, provincial politicians and party supporters.

NDF Candidate Premadasa in his manifesto ‘Sajith’s Social Revolution’ made not just a promise but a pledge to the people which is a testimony to his novel and innovative concepts to rebuild the nation. The NDF candidate in his manifesto called upon people to join hands with him to build a progressive country that leaves no one behind.

A salient feature in his manifesto is war on drugs, corruption and religious extremism ensuring that investigators, prosecutors and judges will have complete independence to perform their duties in bringing perpetrators to justice.

The key highlights of the manifesto are: Affordable prices and a high quality life, shelter for all, pre-school for all, higher education, healthcare, accountable leadership, zero tolerance on drugs and corruption, zero tolerance on religious extremism and violence, a tough and smart national security strategy, dignity for the public sector, Government for the people, financial markets, inspiring women, empowering small businesses, empowering the farmer, environment and energy, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, a market-ready youth, appreciation of migrant workers and public transport.

Performance

The manifesto laid down that a new Presidential Task Force for National Development will be created to overlook the delivery of key performance indicators in all ministries. All National List MPs would be professionals or other distinguished persons. An increase in the participation of women in Parliament will be legislated stipulating that at least 25 percent of the National List MPs should be female. The new Constitution will be promulgated by a referendum.

Ministers will not be allowed to hold positions where there is a conflict of interest. It also proposes to withdraw providing luxury duty-free vehicle permits to Parliamentarians while ensuring facilities to carry out their duties. The manifesto further states over the next five years the backlog of over 725,000 court cases we will clear and the speed of the legal process will be accelerated. In accordance with the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom and Social Responsibility outdated laws will be abolished and media freedom will be ensured. An additional Rs.100 million will be allocated to each electorate annually to fund infrastructure and livelihood development programs bringing the total value of the ‘Gamperaliya’ program to Rs.400 million for each electorate.

The NDF Presidential Candidate said the manifesto was introduced to effect a revolutionary change in providing benefits to people and ushering in prosperity to the country people. It will entail revolutionary socio, economic and political victories to be achieved on people oriented basis. The hope and aspirations of all nationalities and religions in the country is an economically and politically advanced state. The citizens of this country are anxiously waiting till this action plan is transformed into a reality. The new era to be heralded on November 16 would bring real prosperity to the people. He said, “Our mission is to give pride of place to human qualities and stimulants and all relief to human capital. We have created this manifesto with an exemplary program to ensure a better living for people.

As a country we have never bowed down before any country or any group of countries. I also pledge that unitary, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political freedom would be preserved by affording the foremost place to the Buddha Sasana while preserving other religions and communities as well. “

Minister Premadasa said all socio-economic development strategies will be implemented to pass its benefits to the people and the rulers will be only temporary custodians in a just society which would ensure justice to all with a praiseworthy development drive. Not only human rights but socio, economic and cultural rights will be strengthened.

“ We would put an end to the era where the then rulers thrived on tax payers money. We would introduce a fair mechanism to ensure equal distribution of dividends of prosperity among the people. Fraud and corruption will be done away with and under a new dispensation benefits will be passed on to people.

The true Sri Lankan identity will be restored in a law-abiding society,” Premadasa said.

Maximum power would be devolved within a unitary country ensuring unity, reconciliation and mutual relationship. We would formulate strategies to preserve sovereignty, territorial integrity and the unitary nature of the State without confining to the provisions of the Constitution.

Veteran media personality Victor Ivan said the post war period provided the golden opportunity to win over this malaise but it did not materialized as anticipated.

Neither the post war victor nor his successor executed the desired structural changes of a serious nature. Currently there is a massive deterioration in all institutional structures including the executive, judiciary and Parliament. In order to overcome the situation, we should move towards rebuilding a truly Sri Lankan nation. He said even if Sri Lanka can be rebuilt, the imbroglio of the social system continues to remain grim and stubborn. The inter-racial and inter-religious relations are in a deteriorating situation. Everything is looked at with suspicion and disbelief.

The governance and the state bodies are mired muck.

The country cannot take a single step forward without providing viable solutions for the outstanding problems.

Ivan said he is only a member of the Punarudaya movement whose mission is to change the public mindset to revitalise the nation and usher in a new beginning or renaissance for the country. We have not been able to rebuild our nation even though almost 71 years have elapsed after gaining independence.

The current crisis has stemmed from our failure to rebuild the nation. Caste, creed and religious differences have aggravated the crisis and this is also a major reason for racial violence in Sri Lanka since independence up to the Easter Sunday attacks. The country floated in blood during the past 30 years due to the failure in building a modern nation. He said the country lost the lives of thousands of people due to violence including the highest number of political leaders compared to other countries in the region.

In other countries, political leaders were not massacred wholesale. Those violent activities adversely impacted the society and the state as well. After the end of the JVP youth insurgency, late President Ranasinghe Premadasa appointed a Presidential Commission to find out reasons as to why youth were compelled to take up arms.

That Commission made an in depth study on the issues which paved the way for that insurgency. One of the key reasons emphasized by the Commission was that caste and creed had adversely impacted Sinhala and Tamil rebellions. Some of those recommendations made by that Commission are valid even today.

Late President Premadasa tried his level best to implement those recommendations to the letter. However, after his assassination, none of those recommendations were implemented and they were swept under the carpet. If a large number of Commissions were appointed with huge cost to investigate into various issues, we have failed to undertake reforms by implementing those recommendations.

Social revolution

He further said the NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa is dreaming of a social revolution. The constitutional making in the modern world doesn’t confine only to the Parliament.

In addition to the Parliament, the people can also largely contribute towards that exercise. Today the traditional form of representative democracy has failed in every country.

As a result many countries are adding new features to representative democracy. Even after the end of the Northern issue, we are fighting with each other and attempting to rouse racial feelings among people. Such attitudes cannot be changed through laws and we should move towards a people centered constitution making process. We cannot find solutions to our problems by undermining or rejecting certain sections of people in society.

As a sensitive person, my request to NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa is to dream of a people centered constitution. If we can move towards that direction, a genuine social revolution will be made in Sri Lanka, he said.

The New Democratic Front (NDF) Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa with his wife Jalani Premadasa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and party leaders of the NDF at the ceremony to launch the manifesto at Queen’s Hotel, Kandy.                            
Pic: Hirantha Gunathilaka                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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