Inviting people to join forces with the Joint Opposition to topple the present government which was on the wrong track and way off their promises, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said President Maithripala Sirisena by his vicious actions brought him back from retirement.Rajapaksa said he wanted to retire from politics after the presidential election defeat on Jan. 08, 2015, but he couldn’t do it because of the people as well as wrongdoings of the present government, especially President Sirisena.
Former President Rajapaksa was addressing the well-attended rally at Nugegoda organised by the Joint Opposition against the government for postponing the local government election, introducing a separatist Constitution, sky rocketing cost of living, political witch hunt of opposition members, selling of state ventures, silence on Central Bank bond scams, etc.
Rajapaksa said President Sirisena promised to scrap the executive presidency and give those powers to Parliament. People voted him to do so, but not to replace the present Constitution with a separatist one prepared according to the needs of LTTE sympathizers abroad and the so-called international community.
“If there is a problem for an ethnic group, it should be resolved, but we cannot endanger the country and the victory earned after many sacrifices even in lives of war heroes,” he said.
The former President said his government too invited them for a common table to resolve the problem, but they did not come as his government did not buckle under their demands.Rajapaksa said the present government was boasting that they had regained the GSP+ tax concession, but the EU would only grant the facility after they fulfilled its conditions, including legalizing homosexuality.
He said Sri Lanka becoming a middle income country was one of the reasons to lose the GSP+ concession, but the present government showed a wrong image to come to power.
Only two countries were still getting the GSP+ concession at present from around ten countries that got it earlier, the Kurunegala District MP said adding that his government could not get it again as it was not agreeable to EU conditions.
Rajapaksa said there were enough problems for the people at present instead of legalizing homosexuality, but the present government’s focus was on presenting cabinet papers for amending acts to legalise homosexual behaviour disregarding the culture of the country.
He said the government had lined up several public institutions to be sold and planned to sell lands to foreign countries from Hambantota, Trincomalee, Colombo, Palaly and Kankasanthurai. A gazette notification to sell an eight acre land in Colombo to a foreigner was presented to Parliament yesterday.
“We are on alert. We ask those who are eying to buy those state resources to be careful as we will take over all of them under a future government,” Rajapaksa warned.
He said President Sirisena too had accepted that frauds were taking place in the government, but he too was protecting those robbers, including those responsible for Central Bank bond scams.
“I ask people to join with us to topple this corrupt government. I’m ready to lead the force,” Rajapaksa said.
A massive crowd attended the meeting blocking all roads leading to Nugegoda Junction. Several roads and shops had to be closed due to the meeting.
Colombo District MP Wimal Weerawansa addressed the rally with a pre-recorded speech as he is in remand custody currently.
Former Ministers Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Prof. G. L. Peiris, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Raja Collure, Dinesh Gunawardena, Bandula Gunawardena, Johnston Fernando, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Kumara Welgama, Gamini Lokuge, Colombo District MP Udaya Gammanpila, Anuradhapura District MP Weerakumara Dissanayake and North Western Provincial Council member Asanka Nawarathna also spoke at the rally.