Massive victory for President inevitable -Minister Rajitha
Construction and Engineering Services Minister Dr. Rajitha
In an interview with Sunday Observer Construction and Engineering
Services Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said President Mahinda Rajapaksa
will definitely get over 65 percent votes at the Presidential Election.
The Minister expressed confidence that after winning the Presidential
Election, the people will give a massive mandate to the Government to
form a Parliament with a two thirds majority at the General Election.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
|In that Parliament, the
JVP will be at a minimum and the UNP will be very weak.
There will be more UNPers who will support the new
Government. Because they will not wait for another six years
in the Opposition. We will create a two thirds majority and
move forward removing all obstacles laid down by this
Q:The Government has declared that a Presidential Election would be
held first. Will the Opposition candidate pose a serious challenge to
the President, even if it is General Sarath Fonseka ?
A: Now we are prepared for the Presidential Election. We have
announced the election. The next day after the election was declared,
all the SLFPers and pro-Government supporters had come to the roads and
distributed leaflets and started the campaign. Still we are on the
The Opposition say they have a common candidate. There is a third
candidate as Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne has announced he is also going
to contest. Now how many days left for the Common Candidate to go around
and get votes ?
There is no threat by anybody coming to compete with the President.
Because he is the one who saved our country. He is the Leader who will
move forward to develop the country and he is with the people. Therefore
there is no threat at all.
Q:Is the Government also confident of gaining a two thirds majority
or a massive victory margin at the General Election which should follow
shortly after the Presidential Election ?
A: The President will definitely get over 65 percent votes at the
Presidential Election as well. Whoever the candidate there will be a
difference of two or three percent and the difference would be very
marginal. Whoever comes, we would go ahead with the campaign to show how
much of votes that the Opposition can get.
They will see the reality at the end of the day. We would form a two
thirds majority Parliament at next General Election. The late President
J.R. Jayewardene introduced this Constitution thinking that it would
last forever. Because the two main parties will never come together to
change this Constitution.
But at the last victory from the North Western Province up to the
Southern Province, all the provinces were won by the UPFA by a two
thirds majority. That will be followed. After winning the Presidential
Election, definitely the people will give their mandate to form a two
thirds majority Parliament at the General Election.
In that Parliament, the JVP will be at a minimum and the UNP will be
very weak. There will be more UNPers who will support the new
Government. Because they will not wait for another six years in the
Opposition. We will create a two thirds majority and move forward
removing all obstacles laid down by this Constitution.
A strong leader and a two thirds majority of a Parliament can develop
a Third World country. That is how Lee Kuan Yew developed Singapore,
Mahathir Mohamed developed Malaysia and Park developed Korea. Therefore
it would be a strong leader plus a strong Parliament.
Q: Why has the UNP and the JVP decided that their own leaders Ranil
Wickremesinghe and Somawansa Amarasinghe are not good candidates for the
Presidential Election ?
A: That is the reality. When I told the UNP this is the fate of UNP
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, certain hardcore UNPers blamed me. Today
they have no guts to put forward their Leader into the fray. That means
they know definitely Ranil Wickremesinghe will lose his deposit as well.
That is why they are trying to find outsiders.
This is the fate of the UNP today. The UNP has never ever tried for
candidates from outside. They always had a good Leader to fight with the
Left. That is how the UNP has won all the elections. But today the UNP
has no such candidate. The JVP does not have a presidential candidate.
Their former Presidential candidate is in the Government now. All the
JVP’s popular characters are now with the Government. Therefore the JVP
also doesn’t have a candidate. Due to this desperation, the two enemies
have come together.
Q: Why have the UNP and the JVP, which have diametrically opposite
views on many issues, decided to work together?
A: The UNP and the JVP were always against each other. They were
sworn enemies. Whenever they meet, they try to kill each other. But when
there is flood in the area, they both will get into the same timber log
to save their lives. They will move forward to save their lives without
fighting. This is what has happened to the UNP and the JVP. It has come
to that point for their existence. So they have come together now.
Q: The UNP and the JVP say the Executive Presidency should be
abolished. Is that a mere slogan or a genuine demand ? What is the
Government’s stance on abolishing the Executive Presidency?
A: What is the stand of the JVP ? If they are so against the
Executive Presidency, why did they press former President Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to take over three key ministries from the then
UNP Government using her executive powers.
What principle they had then? Why did they push former President
Kumaratunga to dissolve the UNP Government using her executive
presidential powers ? Later President Kumaratunga had blamed Mangala
Samaraweera and the JVP for pressurising her to take this decision. If
they are so principled parties, how can they use the executive
presidential powers. They say they saved the country.
What saved the country ? The executive power of the President saved
the country. Why the Executive Presidency is bad for them now ? If they
could have saved the country at that time, why cannot the country be
saved now ? President Mahinda Rajapaksa used the executive powers for
better purposes. That is to save the country from Prabhakaran.
What is the stand of the UNP ? They are the people who brought this
Executive Presidency and it was no other person than Ranil
Wickremesinghe’s own uncle. Ranil Wickremesinghe was a Cabinet Minister
at that time. What did he do at that time? Now he has changed his mind
after 31 years.
What principles did we have when he became the UNP Leader after 15
years? He has lost twice and he cannot lose the third time. So he is
against the Executive Presidency.
This is a mere slogan for their existence. The Government is ready to
discuss whether the executive Presidency should be abolished or remove
certain clauses of it which have adverse affects. But this has to be
done through a rational dialogue.
Q: UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake has stated that his party
to ready to take back the 17 dissidents including you, who joined the
Government. Will you rejoin the party before or after the elections,
especially if the UNP/JVP/SLMC/TNA candidate wins the poll?
A: I don’t think anyone in our 17 member group has any mental problem
to rejoin to a bankrupt party by now. At present the former UNP is not
there. This is a new group of people who are only bothered about their
posts and not the victory of the party. What can be done to the country
by Ranil Wickremesinghe and Tissa Attanayake’s party ? Who will go back
there ? We all are fully confident that President Rajapaksa will win
with a thumping majority.
Q: On the other hand, are more UNPers ready to join the UPFA
Government ahead of the Elections ?
A: Actually there are members not only from parliament but also from
Provincial Councils and other Local Government bodies who are willing to
cross over to the Government.
In addition, some of the Leaders who have signed for the new
opposition alliance are also ready to cross over. At the moment we can’t
take too many people and expand the cabinet. There is no time for it. If
we need one or two to get the two thirds majority, we will take them
after the election.
Q: The Opposition alleges that the Government misused state property
and engaged in other malpractices to win the Provincial Council
elections. They say the same thing will happen at Presidential and
General Elections. Can the Government guarantee a free and fair election
in all areas including the North-East ?
A: What did the UNP Ministers do when they were in power? Didn’t they
use their official vehicles and departmental facilities ? What nonsense
is this ? How many of the UNP members who propagate these things used
all their state machinery for their purpose in 1994 and 2004 elections.
Then how was that election a free and fair one which the Opposition
won. The Government’s victory cannot be changed by this kind of
malpractices. It will be a free and fair election. But some people may
misuse state properties. How can we change it? The same thing happened
during the UNP regime as well.
Q: The Opposition says the Government wanted to hide the conditions
imposed by the IMF for the loan through passing a Vote on Account
instead of a budget. Did the IMF impose any conditions and how do you
view this allegation?
A: The IMF Director General is the best person to talk about this. He
gave a complete interview and stated that the IMF did not impose any
conditions. The IMF did not put forward any conditions to the Government
to remove any health facilities, educational facilities or other social
welfare measures. But the UNP Leader was so impotent to accept the
conditions put forward by the IMF. The Opposition thinks President
Rajapaksa will also do the same thing. President Rajapaksa is a very far
He will never bow down to any international pressure. Even when the
President was fighting with Prabhakaran, World Leaders put forward so
many conditions. But he never bowed down to any condition. The
Government will definitely present the budget in April 2010 after the
Q:The Government has expedited the release of IDPs from camps and
granted to freedom of movement to Jaffna residents and IDP inmates. The
Opposition says these have been done under international pressure and
also with an eye on the elections. Is this true?
A: If we did this under international pressure, we would have
released the IDPs earlier. When there are landmines, how can we resettle
the IDPs? In order to expedite the de-mining activities, the Government
purchased 10 de-mining machines spending millions of rupees.
They have done a lot of work and certain areas have already been
cleared. This has facilitated to resettle the IDPs. Otherwise how can we
resettle the IDPs ?
The Government has not been subjected to any international pressure.
Landmines are the only pressure to the Government.
It is nothing to do with elections. The President at the very
beginning said 85 percent of the IDPs will be resettled before the end
of this year. Now the President has stated that the balance IDPs will be
resettled by the end of January 31, 2010.
Q: Is the Government ready with proposals to solve the genuine
grievances of Tamil civilians in the North and the East? Will they be
implemented after the Presidential or General Elections if the
A: Yes, that has to be done. The President will seek views from all
the political parties. He will be more powerful after the elections. We
will have a more powerful and stable Parliament as well. Earlier some of
the people said the President cannot win the war against terrorists.
But he won the war. Now that very same people say we cannot win the
election. But we will win the election by a thumping majority. The
President will definitely settle the problems faced by the minority
communities and develop the country.
Q: What are the major constructions planned by the Government for
expediting development especially in the North-East?
A: Anybody who visits Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara can witness
the massive development taken place under the “Eastern reawakening
program.” At present a massive development is being taken place in the
North under the “Uthuru Wasanthaya Program.”
Two corporations of my Ministry have engaged multimillion rupee
projects in the North to expedite development work in the area. Up to
now, private sector contractors have done over Rs.86 billion worth
projects in the north while my Ministry has done over Rs.100 billion
worth projects in the North.