Mustapha berates Pada Yathra organisers


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Joint Opposition had conducted a Pada Yathra to divide the SLFP, Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faizer Mustapha alleged yesterday.

Addressing the media in Colombo, he said as SLFP and UPFA General Secretaries had said disciplinary action would be taken against the SLFP members who criticised the party and its Central Committee during the protest march.

Minister Mustapha said though the JO members were holding protest marches all around the country shouting slogans against the government, it was necessary to secure the support of at least 113 parliamentarians to topple the government.

Highlighting the JO demands, the Minister noted the JO members including Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dullas Alhapperuma, Ramesh Pathirana and all others had agreed to the constitutional amendments being discussed and were actively participating in the process. Therefore, the slogan of ‘Constitutional Trap’ was baseless.

Referring to the Local Government polls, Minister Mustapha claimed that all political parties including the members of the JO had agreed to wait for the delimitation report and until its report came, the polls couldn’t be held.

About the VAT issue, Mustapha said the government had to pay back around Rs. 9,000 billion in loans which had been obtained by the previous government and therefore it had been compelled to increase taxes.

But, President Maithripala Sirisena had promised that the welfare of the people would be ensured, Minister Mustapha said.

Reiterating that the JO’s demands were baseless, Minister Mustapha said the government would never sell public properties and also it would not give Sri Lankan job opportunities to foreigners.

Meanwhile, Science and Technology State Minister Lakshman Seneviratne lashed out at Wimal Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunawardena and Udaya Gammanpila for using former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to regain power by dividing the SLFP.

"Many SLFP members of the JO did not want to divide the party but several non-SLFP political parties are working towards that," the State Minister said.

SLFP would establish its own government in the future but this was not the right time for it, he added.

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