Winning polls, a cakewalk for SLPP - Kanthi Kodikara | Sunday Observer

Winning polls, a cakewalk for SLPP - Kanthi Kodikara

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Colombo district candidate and former Chairman of the Maharagama Urban Council Kanthi Kodikara said that she is confident that the UNP or the SJB is not strong enough to compete with the SLPP at the General Election. She said the SLPP would secure a resounding victory at the election. It is the duty of the SLPP to safeguard that victory and move forward as a stable Government to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the people, Kodikara said, in an interview with the Sunday Observer.    

Excerpts:

Q.  What led you to enter politics?

A. I ventured into politics when I was 18 years old. I had a keen interest in politics. The late Speaker Stanley Thilakaratne was my political guru. I thought that I could contribute to the betterment of my village and the country through politics. I got married to a politician.

I helped my husband’s political work, who was a Minister of the Western Provincial Council. I could work on behalf of women by helping to my husband’s political career. People requested me to venture into politics. I could secure the highest number of preferential votes at the first Local Government Election I contested and became the Opposition Leader of the Maharagama Urban Council. At the next election also, I secured the highest number of preferential votes and became the Chairman of the Maharagama Urban Council. I contested the third consecutive time for the Local Government election and was re-elected Chairman of the Council.  

Q. Why should newcomers enter Parliament?

A. We should provide an opportunity to new capable and talented people who can work with the President to rebuild the country. There are many youth who have talent to engage in politics. There is a public perception that more new faces should be sent to Parliament.  

Q.  What is your view on women’s representation in politics?

A. Women are the country’s majority, but only five percent women represent Parliament. There should be more women representation in Parliament.

Women have been able to hold top positions in the country, including the presidency and the premiership.

The literacy rate of women is also at a higher level compared with other countries in the region. However, there is a lack of women representation in Parliament to raise a voice on behalf of women. Women’s burning issues are not properly highlighted in Parliament.  

Q. Women parliamentarians say that they would do their best for the wellbeing of women, but it has not turned into a reality. Will you fulfil this task if elected to Parliament?

A. I have already worked on behalf of women. Poverty is the biggest issue faced by women. They are engaged in small scale industries and other self-employment ventures. I have formulated a program to market their products. I hope to help women in low income and middle income level families. Some women have to depend on the income gained by their husbands.

 However, they are willing to engage in employment to suit their social status and receive an income. I hope to develop Pamunuwa and the suburbs at Maharagama as a trade zone. Traders and hawkers at Pamunuwa were not engaged in their business over the past few months due to the Covid-19 situation in the country. I have an action plan to develop Pamunuwa as a tourist destination.  

Q. You earlier contested the Local Government election under the ‘Hand’ and ‘Betel’ symbols of the SLFP led alliance. What led you to join the SLPP?

A. We were dragged in the direction of the SLPP.

 The key reason was that we became helpless when then SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena quit the SLFP and joined hands with the UNP. Eight Mayors, including me came to the forefront and said that we would form a new political party and bring back the Rajapaksa era once again. Gotabaya Rajapaksa also gave leadership to make our endeavour a success.  

The people were waiting to make Mahinda Rajapaksa President again. However, he couldn’t contest the presidency for a third time due to the restrictions imposed by the 19th Amendment.

The SLPP formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has turned into a massive political movement today. I am happy that I was the first woman leader to come forward to form the SLPP.

We have made sacrifices to form the SLPP and bring it to a victorious path within a short period. My policy is to safeguard the party and its leader. We have never betrayed our policies.  

  UK

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