Shamindra Ferdinando, in the Island, July 21 and 28 July 2015
Today, the electorate is at a crossroad with twice-president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, launching a new movement to form a government, at the Aug 17 parliamentary polls. A confident Rajapaksa launched his parliamentary polls campaign at Anuradhapura where he vowed to overcome the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe combination. The pledge was made at the largest ever gathering in the historic city, where Rajapaksa recalled ancient kings had defeated foreign invaders. The war-winning leader alleged that the present Yahapalana government had destroyed, within six months, what his administration had achieved since the conclusion of the war in May, 2009. The former President asked what would have happened if the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration had continued for five years. Since the change of government, in January consequent to Rajapaksa’s defeat, some of those, who had switched their allegiance to the then common presidential candidate, Maithripala Sirisena deserted the new administration. Having joined Yahapalana project, late last November, Liberal Party Leader and State Education, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, quit the administration in March. The UPFA included Prof. Wijesinha, in its National List submitted to the Elections Secretariat on July 13, hence making him a key element in Rajapaksa’s team.
Full text of an interview with Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha
(Q) What led you to join the Maithripala-Wickremesinghe combination last November?
(A) I felt the last government had run out of steam, and was no longer acting in accordance with its manifesto. There was far less consultation than earlier, and the government seemed to support individuals who were acting in a silly manner while essential problems were not being addressed. The behaviour of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) worried me, as did the assault on the then Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner, in the UK, Chris Nonis, while we seemed to have lost the confidence of India, as was exemplified by it voting against us at the UN in 2012 and 2013. And then when India did not vote for the resolution against us in 2014, we failed to re-establish the sort of understanding that had held us in good stead in 2009. Continue reading