Ranil dares MR to contest

‘will reduce his 5.8 million votes to 5 million’

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has dared former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the next general election as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate.

Addressing a meeting of UNP Puttalam District activists at Wennappuwa on Saturday, Wickremesinghe said he would reduce Rajapaksa’s votes to five million from 5.8 million if the latter entered the fray.

Wickremesinghe said: "There has been a call for Rajapaksa to come forward as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate. Last time 6.4 million people voted to make me the prime minister. I have contested with Rajapaksa only once. He became the president with the help of Prabhakaran. Now, he is talking big. If he enters the fray with me I will reduce the number of his votes to five million.

"Some others claim they have a majority. I tell them that there is no meaning in shouting at Nugegoda. I challenge them to bring the no-confidence motion against Minister John Amaratunga next week and pass it if possible. If they did so, I would ask the President to dissolve Parliament the following day itself.

This is my challenge. There is no point in shouting at Nugegoda. Come to Parliament, which is just two miles away.

"How are they planning to take power? From which party Mahinda Rajapaksa could contest? Will Mr Maithripala Sirisena hand over the SLFP to Rajapaksa? The symbols, betel leaf, chair and hand are belonging to Mr Sirisena. He would not give any of them to Rajapaksa. From which symbol they could bring Mahinda Rajapaksa? Is it from the Cartwheel? There is no party to bring him, no mechanism to bring him."

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