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Monday, July 15, 2024

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Government Gazette

Stunning polls victory; People’s endorsement

The stunning victory of the United People’s Freedom Alliance at last weekend’s elections to the North Central and the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils is a triumph for all loyal and patriotic people who love their motherland.

It is not only a victory for democracy which demonstrates the desire of all peace-loving people to eradicate terrorism but is also an inspiration to our gallant Security Forces. Voters in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kegalle and the Ratnapura districts gave a clear mandate to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government to continue the good work. All in all, it was an election where the country emerged victorious.

The masses in the two provinces gave a fresh mandate again to the Mahinda Chintana, which has been successfully implemented since President Rajapaksa took office in November 2005. Whilst the relentless battle against terrorism is now liberating the Mannar, Vavuniya and the Killinochchi districts, the Government has also implemented several mega development projects.

The Government’s battle against terrorism and the mega development work has won the hearts of the masses. People in the North Central and the Sabaragamuwa provinces rely mainly on an agro-based economy. Local farmers have received a better recognition and an added value to their produce under the Mahinda Chintana.

President Rajapaksa kept his 2005 election pledge by granting a massive fertiliser subsidy which was a boon to paddy farmers. On the other hand, the Government also launched a massive cultivation program under the Api Wawamu, Rata Nagamu concept. The masses were encouraged to go for local produce and as a result, the local farmers reaped better returns.

Local paddy and dairy farmers, especially, have been enjoying high returns as they find a better market for rice and fresh milk. After the liberation of the Eastern Province from the clutches of LTTE terrorists, people in those areas too have started contributing to the national economy.

The tremendous growth in paddy, dairy and fishing industries in those provinces resulted in a greater flow of money to those rural areas. That in turn, increased the purchasing power of the people in those provinces.

The Government’s efforts in strengthening the rural economy and eradicating terrorism have won the encomiums of the masses in the two provinces.

There is no doubt that the public opinion in the North Central and the Sabaragamuwa Provinces reflects the belief of the entire country. While the majority of our people have been able to defeat the wily schemes of traitors against the country, the strength that the Security Forces will receive from this polls victory in their battle to crush the blood-thirsty terrorism of Velupillai Prabhakaran from our country is immeasurable.

President Rajapaksa and his Government has given people the foremost place in the country. The public mandate at the Provincial Council elections to the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and the East have given more strength and courage to expedite and energise the Government’s march to protect the country. President Rajapaksa’s plea at the Presidential Election of 2005 was to build the country devoid of political, social or religious differences.

The UPFA victory was also an eye-opener to the main Opposition - the United National Party, which has been making various attempts to regain power at any cost, ignoring its responsibility on issues of national importance.

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe ate humble pie again on his 18th successive election defeat under his leadership. The time is now opportune for responsible UNPers to think twice, whether they should continue with their petty political differences or support the Security Forces who are on their final march towards Prabhakaran’s Wanni hideout.

Many UNP stalwarts have realised this stark fact and are challenging Wickremesinghe’s weak leadership which has brought the party to its lowest ebb. As the President emphasised after the PC election victory, the doors are still open for those who have delayed to join the patriotic forces on the victorious march.

Without identifying the aspirations of the rural masses or winning them over, the UNP leader was under a delusion that he could gain from bringing an ex-military man and capitalise on the popularity of a celluloid hero. Hence, he co-opted two outsiders - a retired Army officer and an actor.

The duo who did not even have voting rights in those areas, were made UNP’s Chief Ministerial candidates.

In doing so, the UNP relegated to the background the long-standing provincial leadership of their party, which was not willing to entertain outsiders. Should a provincial leadership of a party sacrifice everything to pave the way for a total stranger? The blunder in selecting the Chief Ministerial candidates’ would teach an unforgettable lesson to the UNP and its waning leadership.

Though the UNP leader made several attempts to cover his party’s defeat by alleging election malpractices, all major election monitors have observed that this was a free and fair poll. Many UNP stalwarts too acknowledged that the polls were peaceful and the reason for their defeat was due to the short-sighted and power greedy decisions of their party leadership.

People in these two provinces endorsed the Government’s policies at this critical juncture as they were acutely aware that President Rajapaksa is the only leader who could provide the correct leadership in the current battle against terrorism.

The masses in the North Central and the Sabaragamuwa provinces by this verdict ensured that no insidious elements are allowed to thwart the Government’s battle against the LTTE terrorists. The election victory was a clear manifestation that the people who truly love the country are with the Government and the Security Forces who are engaged in the liberation of innocent civilians from the LTTE’s terror.

The people have also approved the Government’s rural development drive despite various misconceptions propagated by parties with hidden motives.

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