Chief Ministers on PC polls:
Southern PC to reach greater heights - Shan Wijayalal
Shan Wijayalal de Silva who entered Provincial Council politics in
1993 contesting the Southern Provincial Council and has never had
setbacks in his political career was fortunate to reach the top position
of the Council.
Council, Chief Minister Shan Wijayalal de Silva
As a person who always lived in the hearts of the southern people,
this time he has been able to secure 95,860 preferential votes to top
the UPFA preferential vote list in the Galle district. That made him the
Chief Minister of the Southern Provincial Council for the third
consecutive time which is a record shared by very few politicians in the
As a mature politicians he was never moved by actions of his
competitors and moved silently to the position of Chief Minister of the
Southern Provincial Council to lead it to new heights among Provincial
The Sunday Observer had an interview with him on Thursday a day prior
to taking oaths.
Excerpts of the interview:
Q: At this election too the UPFA has been able to secure an
unprecedented victory at the Southern Provincial Council. In you opinion
what were the factors that made this victory possible?
A: This is the sixth consecutive time we have taken over the
administration of the Southern Provincial Council. Since 1993, for the
past 21 years, we governed the Southern Provincial Council. Since our
first victory in 1993, people voted us into power on six consecutive
time, as we were able render what people have expected from us through
the Provincial Council system.
I entered the Southern Provincial Council in 1993 after obtaining
21,000 preferential votes. I have been able to increase that number upto
96,000 this time. That number has never descended at any election and
our party has been voted into power at each election.
Therefore, we are happy that we have been able to render service to
the Southern people. We have been able to secure this victory as we have
done service to the maximum within the parameters of the Provincial
Q: Following the Provincial Council election, the Opposition
stated that there is an erosion in the vote base of the UPFA at this
election compared to the previous election?
A: They are making this comparison based on the 2009
Provincial Council election result. We faced the 2009 Provincial Council
election soon after defeating the LTTE. The mentality of the people at
that time was totally different from the present mentality of the
The date of the election also had an impact on the election result
since it was close to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Those who are
employed in the Free Trade Zones in Katunayake and Biyagama were planing
to come to their home town on April 6 or 7 for the New Year and they
opted not to return to their homes for the election as they have to come
back again for the New Year.
That had a big impact on the voting pattern. Therefore, we cannot
compare the 2009 result with the election result of 2014 as it was a
special victory for the UPFA. When we compare the number of Members in
the council, the Opposition also cannot be satisfied with the number of
votes they have obtained.
We have obtained clear majority in all three districts. Anyone can
understand the political set up that can be created when a single party
runs the Council for six consecutive terms. I see this as a great
achievement for us to have this type of victory after contesting the
election in such a scenario and after governing the council for six
Q: There was a big competition to get the Chief Ministers post
for each district of the province and also on individual basis to get
that post personally for them. Amidst this situation you have become the
Chief Minister for the third consecutive term. So how do you see this
A: Any one can claim the Chief Ministers post when a political
party has not nominated an official Chief Ministerial candidate at the
election. They can keep hoping for the post. Some made this claim to
increase their preferential vote base. The people have clearly given
their responses to those who claimed the Chief Ministerial post.
I was never moved by the claims made by some candidates because I was
aware of the process of appointing persons to the post of Chief
Minister. I was aware what criteria the party considers when appointing
the Chief Minister. I did not make any trouble for those candidates
either. Now the President, as the leader of the Party has taken a
decision in this regard and we have act according to his decision.
Q: Do you think that the competition for the Chief Ministers
post and the mud slinging campaigns carried out by some candidates had
an impact on the number of preferential votes you have obtained?
A: People used their vote with a good understanding about the
situation whatever said and done by others. My preferential votes have
been increased by 5,000 this time. That clearly shows that my popularity
has not gone down at personnel level.
When we consider the number of people used their votes on the
election date, there is no possibility to increase the number of
preferential votes under such scenario. Amidst this situation also I
have been able to increase my preferential votes by 5000. Therefore,
there is no decrease in my popularity. Therefore, whatever the things
said and done by the opponent to achieve their petty goals, the wise
people of the Galle district have taken that intelligent decision at the
Q: At this election we saw a tendency of second generation
politicians entering to politics with a huge popularity among the
people. What is your opinion about this young generation entering
A: Truly speaking entering of young politicians must be there
in politics for its sustenance. Becoming a child of a politician should
not be considered as a primary criteria for his entry into politics. If
that person was popular and earned the appreciation of the people, he or
she should not be deprived of the chance of entering politics because he
or she is a child of a politician.
But this time they have been given chance to contest the election and
they have earned the appreciation of the people. Therefore, there is no
problem regarding their entry into politics. The entry of young
politicians to the political field should be there for the continuity of
the politics and the political parties.
Q: What kind of a program you are having in mind to get
effective service from the young Provincial Council Members entering to
the Provincial Council under your third term as the Chief Minister?
A: We all are planing to work as one team when we established
the administration of the Council. We are trying our best to add the
concepts of this young generation and their ideas into our programs. We
are trying to accommodate the view of the Members, government officials,
the Non Government Organisations and specially the views of the young
Members when formulating our programs. We will prioritise them according
their importance and implement those programs for the well-being of the
Q: There is a perception that forward march of the Provincial
Council will be stalled when one person from one district is appointed
as the Chief Minister for three consecutive terms. Do you agree with
A: I never believe in that perception because the Chief Minister is
always appointed for the whole province but not for a single district.
There is no argument that they should work according to the boundaries
of the district he represent. If the Chief Ministers post is rotated
among districts there will be another argument that it should also be
rotated according to the ethnicity also.
People will talk in terms of religion also if that tendency is
continued. That position always goes to the most qualified and prominent
person in the province. The person and the district is immaterial when
making this selection from the Members elected to the council. That
position will not be decentralised within the province.
Q: Doní t you that it is unfair by other districts when Chief
Minister is appointed from the same district again and again?
A: I don't think so. We have never treated the districts like
that. When we are allocating fund for the projects we are equally
allocating the funds for the each district and those projects will
benefit the whole province without making any injustice to any district.
Q: During you third term as the Chief Minister what kind of
development goals you are expecting to achieve within the province?
A: When we are implementing programs in the province there are
two criteria that governs and control our work. One is the powers vested
with the Provincial Council. The second is the financial allocations for
the Provincial Council. Those are the two key factors governing the
activities of the Provincial Councils.
At the same time we have to give priority for the subjects such as
education , health, agriculture and irrigation which have direct impact
with the livelihood of the people in the province. Therefore, we have to
prioritise the proposals we receive considering their importance and the
impact on the people living there.
That is how we are implementing the projects in the province . At the
same time we have to implement the projects in accordance with the
vision of the President and also without making clashes with the
programs of the central government.
Therefore, we are planing to implement the economic, social and
cultural development programs of the province according to Mahinda
Chinthana program and its future vision.
Q: When we consider the sectors like education, health
transport which are having direct impact on the people sometimes facing
setbacks and problematic situation. What are the plans you are having to
manure those situations effectively?
A: Those things will be handles when the issues arises. We
cant predict the problems and solve problems before hand. Therefore, we
are ready to provide the best and most effective solution to the problem
when such situations arise.
Q: The election for the Western and Southern Provincial
Councils were conducted two days after a US sponsored resolution was
passed against Sri Lanka at UNHRC sessions. What kind of impact it had
made on the final result of the election?
A: There are few factors that will decide the voting pattern
of the people. The resolution against Sri Lanka adopted at UNHRC might
be one factor considered by the people when voting for the UPFA at the
election date. I will not say that is the only reason for our victory.
Q: The United National Party has stated that they were able to
make their first step towards toppling the Government from this
elections. How do you take this view of the UNP?
A: They made use the same slogan again and again in the past
elections. But today when we consider the gap between the UNP and the
UPFA they can find the correct answer to their question.
Q: The Democratic Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has
been able to increase their vote bases at this election. Do you think
that this situation will make an impact on the UPFA in the future
A: As a political party, the president as the leader of the
party and other leaders will study this situation when making their
future plans for the elections. Therefore, they will consider their vote
base also when planing for the future elections and make strategies for
the election campaigns.
Q: Many candidates adopted different strategies to get their
preferential votes increased at the election. Have you adopted any such
strategy during your election campaign?
A: We are a people who lives with the people. We feel the
pulse of the people and have better understanding about the hopes and
aspiration of the people. We are living with the people. Therefore, we
don't need any new strategies to become popular among people. We always
live in the hearts of the people.
Q: What do think of the group you have got in the Provincial
Council this time?
A: We have different types of people. We have veterans in the
field, novices to politics, Members representing the older generation
and young generation and also women are in our team. So we have good mix
of people in our group. They have diverse talents in different fields.
Therefore, I humbly believe that we will be able to have good program
for the Provincial Council this time compared to the past.
Q: Do you think that you have the ability to go forward with
A: Why should we be pessimistic about our team. So I don't see
any reason why we cannot work together. Therefore, we think that we can
go on good path this time. If any problem arises we have the ability to
settle those issues with the consultation of the President and the other
Q: Finally can you tell us what kind of targets you planing to
achieve at the end of the next term of the Provincial Council?
A: We are yet to start our work and we are yet to discuss the
targets we are going to achieve. But we are planing two types of
programs when serving the people. We will have a long term plan for the
entire five years period and at the same time we will also adopt a short
term plan to solve the issues that may arise time to time and give give
benefits to the people on short term basis.
We are trying our best to do our service within the Provincial
Council system according to our conscience and take the Southern
province to much higher position.