UPFA officially launches election campaign


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Having made representations to Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya on death threats to Matara District candidate Dallas Alahapperuma and intimidation of many other candidates, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha briefed the media at the Elections Secretariat, Rajagiriya. Among those in the UPFA delegation were MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, Dullas Alahapperuma, Prof. G. L. Peiris, Sarath Kumara Gunaratne and Bandula Gunawardena. Premajayantha alleged that the caretaker government was engaged in an organised campaign to suppress the UPFA. (Pic by Saman Abeysiriwardena)

The UPFA officially launched its election campaign under the theme, Let’s Power the Nation-Let’s Start Afresh yesterday at the Opposition Leader’s office.

UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha told the media that despite President Maithripala Sirisena’s statement on Tuesday, the UPFA was going ahead with its campaign with the inaugural meeting taking place in Anuradhapura today (July 17) and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would lead the campaign as the Chairman of the Elections Operations Committee.

The UPFA’s election manifesto would be launched at the end of the month, he added.

Commenting on an enjoining order issued by the Colombo District Court on Wednesday preventing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee from holding its scheduled meeting, Premajayantha said that the meeting had been called off when they received the court order.

He said that both he and SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa were lawyers and therefore they knew the party’s constitution very well. The meeting was not scheduled to be held without President Sirisena. SLFP General Secretary Yapa had informed the President via phone and due to an unavoidable circumstance the meeting had to be postponed. However the person who had sought the court order was not aware of the postponement of the meeting and it clearly showed his political immaturity.

SLFP Vice President Dullas Alahapperuma said that the lives of 90 per cent of the UPFA candidates were at risk and he said that the Police had failed to take any action against the death threats received by him on Monday.

Alahapperuma stressed that the SLFP should suspend the party membership of the defectors who were contesting the general election from the UNP.

"The UNP is violating the election laws; the Justice Minister and Deputy Justice Minister are the worst culprits," he added.

NFF Leader and former Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that the President Sirisena’s speech had shown that the corrupt Treasury bond deal had actually happened. However, he said the President should have sacked the Central Bank Governor instead of asking the PM to call for his resignation.

The former minister asked whether the President could not act without obtaining the Prime Minister’s permission first. He stressed that the President had fallen into an international trap and former President Rajapaksa’s victory was not dependent on the statements made by President Sirisena.

Former Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader Udaya Gammanpila, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe, Praba Ganeshan, Tiran Alles also attended the media briefing.

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