UNP to face biggest electoral defeat - Minister Mahinda Amaraweera
Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said this time around
the Government will secure the highest number of votes ever won in the
history of Provincial Council polls at the forthcoming Southern and
Western PC elections. The number of UPFA members will also increase. The
Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said the UPFA would
also set yet another record by securing the highest number of members
elected from Hambantota district in a Provincial Council Election.
Minister Amaraweera said the UNP's Leadership Council would not make
a comprehensive change within the UNP. What happened in the past was
when the UNP lost an election, the party pressurised Ranil
Wickremesinghe to quit from the leadership. The only change that will
occur within the ranks of the UNP is when it faces the next electoral
defeat, the responsibility will be vested with Leadership Council
Chairman Karu Jayasuriya and other members of the council. The UNP would
face the largest electoral defeat at the forthcoming Southern and
Western Provincial Council Elections, he said..
Excerpts of the interview.
Q: What is the Government stand on the Northern Provincial
Councilís resolution for international mediation on human rights
violations and evolving a political solution for Sri Lanka?
A: TNA politics would create disharmony among communities. In
a situation where mistrust among communities is narrowing, dislike for
the TNA will evolve among other communities due to racial politics
practised by them. The TNA is harping on past incidents which took place
during the military operations against terrorists. The TNA depends on
funds channelled by the Tamil diaspora. TNA drama would not bring any
advantage to the country or to the Tamil community. The TNAís attempt to
create mistrust among communities would once again drag the Sinhalese
and Muslims to distrust the Tamils. Now this gap is narrowed down. What
is the purpose of harping on the past? Our Security Forces have not
committed human rights violation as claimed by the TNA or certain
international organisations. The Government will take steps to look into
these matters. International intervention on our internal affairs would
not be of any effect. It would once again lead to injustice to the
Q:TNA politics appears to have been radicalised due to the
backing of certain Western democracies whose political bigwigs had even
held secret discussions with Tamil politicians aiming at a regime change
in Sri Lanka. Hasn't the political establishment taken these
A: We have realised the motive of the Tamil diaspora and
certain Western countries. Their intention is to rally round the people
against the incumbent Government aiming at a regime change. We have
understood their motive. The Government is aware that the people have no
intention for a change in the Government. Recently concluded elections
are a testimony that majority of the people have no issue with the
Government. Western powers can't adopt the same strategy they adopted in
Iraq, Egypt, Libya or Iraq, in Sri Lanka. Because the majority of the
people support the Government and endorse the programs initiated by the
The TNA would deprive the opportunity created for the Tamil people to
stand on their own. The Government has already developed infrastructure
facilities in the North to a great extent while steps have also been
taken to improve economic conditions and overcome the problem of
shelter. People in other parts of the country are bound to inquire from
the Government and the President as to why a huge amount of money is
being spent when the TNA is behaving in this fashion which would then
lead to injustice to the Tamils. Despite the politics adopted by the
TNA, the Government will continue its development drive in the North.
The TNA does not reflect the Tamil voice. It is regrettable that even
resolutions are passed by the TNA at the Northern Provincial Council to
cater to the Tamil diaspora and some Western countries.
Q: Donít you think it is an insult to the international peace
crusaders to listen to former Trincomalee LTTE terrorist leader Elilanís
wife Sasitharan preaching on human rights at the UNHRC sessions in
A: It is absurd and stupid. Sasitharan will speak in keeping
with the Western countries at the UNHRC. She was also an LTTE member.
Her husband is responsible for many killings and other atrocities
committed by the LTTE. Sasitharan was also actively involved in LTTE
activities. Therefore obtaining evidence from Sasitharan at the UNHRC
sessions is akin to getting evidence from Prabhakaran so much so that if
the West drafts the evidence, she will endorse it.
Q: Ethanol and heroin will become the strong weapons in the
Oppositionís arsenal during the forthcoming Provincial Council
elections. How do you assess its impact on national politics?
A: Ethanol and heroin is being seized on a large scale. This
is an unprecedented change that has overtaken the country. The import of
drugs and ethanol is not a recent development. Investigators are of the
view that the drug racket has been going on for years. Even during the
UNP era this racket was continuing. A similar situation existed after
1977. Now raids are being conducted to arrest drug racketeers. If the
Government wants it can direct the relevant authorities not to arrest
these drugs and ethanol stocks. When large scale raids are conducted to
seize drugs and ethanol, it is a major news in the media. Various names
are also connected to such incidents. Arresting drug racketeers is a
bold decision taken by the Government. Even if any politician is
connected drastic punishment should be given irrespective of position.
If existing laws are inadequate, they should be amended and drastic
action should be formulated to apprehend the culprits. President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has instructed the relevant authorities to take stern measures
and bring the culprits to book.
Q: Do you think the UNPís Leadership Council will recapture
its vote bank at the forthcoming Provincial Council Elections and gain
A: Certainly not. Now ethanol and heroin is the UNP's trump
card. Is this the main problem affecting the country? The UNP has so
many other issues it can take up, this is so trivial. Earlier the UNP
said there was no development was taking place now it has taken a
different turn. This Leadership Council would not make any comprehensive
change within the UNP. Earlier when the UNP lost an election, the
members pressurized Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign from the leadership.
The only change will be is when it is faces an electoral defeat, the
responsibility will be vested with Leadership Council Chairman Karu
Jayasuriya and other members. The UNP will face the biggest electoral
defeat at the forthcoming Southern and Western Provincial Council
Q: Today there is new JVP leadership. Since the JVP is
regarded as the third force, will this leadership change improve their
vote bank and political leverage?
A: I don't think so. The JVP is distanced from the people now.
There is no way to prevent that. However, we regret this pathetic
situation faced by the JVP. It would have been good if a few JVP members
were represented in Parliament, Provincial Councils, Pradeshiya Sabhas
and other Local Government bodies. But the people have categorically
rejected the JVP due to wrong decisions taken by the hierarchy.
Definitely, the JVP's vote base will further erode at the forthcoming
Southern and Western Provincial Council Elections.
Q: Is the Government confident of victory at the upcoming
Southern and Western Provincial Council Elections?
A: The highest number of votes ever won in the history of
Provincial Council Election would be secured by the Government at the
forthcoming Southern and Western PC elections. The number of UPFA
members to be elected to two Provincial Councils will also increase
considerably. The UPFA would also set yet another record by securing the
highest number of its members elected from the Hambantota district
during a Provincial Council Election.
Q: Since natural disasters are unpredictable, is the disaster
management apparatus of your ministry adequately equipped to deal with
A: We have improved when compared with the past. I can assure
that if there is an imminent threat of a tsunami, we have a systematic
program to rescue people. We have conducted rehearsals and programs to
educate the people on tsunami evacuation and other natural disasters.
However, the damage caused by natural disasters has also changed now. We
have laid al emphasis in this area and are now in the process of taking
steps regarding this. We have spent a huge amount of money to take
precautionary measures to prevent the occurrence of such disasters.
Instead of providing relief after a natural disaster occurrs, we have
spent for flood mitigation projects and to take preventive measures to
Q: With drought, water scarcity and rampant poverty, the
Hambantota district remains neglected. How would you contrast this
dismal picture with the Governmentís development drive today?
A: What we witnessed in the past was water bowers carrying
banners of various politicians distributing drinking water among the
people of Hambantota in August every year. Water was taken even from
Colombo to be distributed. Now drinking water facilities in Hambantota
is developed to face droughts. I too contributed to this effort when I
was the Water Supply Minister.
In addition, water facilities have been provided for agricultural
purposes as well. Several new water supply schemes have been implemented
in Hambantota due to moves taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Steps
have also been taken to renovate tanks and other irrigation network in
the district. Except the construction of a new port, airport and roads,
massive development has n taken place in Hambantota. Poverty in
Hambantota has declined while education levels have gone up.
Infrastructure facilities have been developed to a great extent.
Electricity has been provided to almost 99 percent of households. We are
proud about the massive development in Hambantota. Earlier when the
lists were formulated based on education and examination results,
Hambantota was below 20 in the list. Now Hambantota has achieved a top