President Rajapakse hands GR to the Nation as Presidential-Candidate of SLPP
It was one of the finest & most refreshing speeches delivered by former President Mahinda Rajapakse now Opposition Leader and had all the power and verbatim of a national leader. He raised the tempo high enough before declaring to the Nation the candidate whom he said the Nation had already elected. Some of the salient points covered in his speech delivered at the Sugathadasa Stadium is noteworthy.
Date: 11 August 2019
Venue: Sugathadasa Stadium
Event: Sri Lanka PoduJana Peramuna National Convention to announce its Presidential Candidate
The President took us back through memory lane from how the SLFP was first formed, the ideological basis on which the SLFP existed and the manner SLFP had weathered political victimization that even included the removal of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s civic rights by UNP for 7 years. To all who lived during this period every word spoken by Mahinda Rajapakse would have brought home emotive sentiments.
He also took us back to the day he stepped down before election results were released and went to his hometown where for months lakhs of people travelled to show the world that they still loved him.
The journey thereafter that began with the formation of the SLPP he credited rightly to Basil Rajapakse. The cheers & applause acknowledged his role.
All that President Rajapakse spoke about what the country now needs showed what the country had lost under the present government.
When President Rajapakse told the Nation that we need to bring back law & order, he reminded all of the law & order lost since January 2015.
When he spoke of the numerous methods adopted to crush their spirits, and defeat their popularity amongst the public, it brought to mind the string of revengeful politics that was always part of UNP ideology.
When he spoke about the imprisoning Maha Sangha & Armed Forces personnel and victimizing SLFP supporters, the people’s minds were taken back to all the revengeful incidents that happened since January 2015.
When he spoke of the 19th amendment and highlighted how a constitution was amended to prevent 3 brothers from being elected by the People – the reality dawned on how and who was part of this set up.
When he said that inspite of the victimizations, vengeful politics and revengeful acts, that he or his family did not betray the Nation’s sovereignty for their independence, it was nothing other than the truth.
While the UNP 24×7 and their supporters threw mud & humiliated the Rajapakses – President Rajapakse did not utter a word against them.
When President Rajapakse said that this government has attacked all religions, all religious heads and humiliated them – Buddhists, Catholics/Christians, Hindus and Islamic adherents would have all nodded in silent acknowledgement.
When he said that hate-filled revenge politics had lasted long enough & must be put to rest – it was a sentiment we all wanted to hear.
His ideology was never hatred or to take revenge and that is what makes him Mahinda Rajapakse
– වෛරකර මට දිනන්න දෙයක් නෑ
කාලය විසින් අපව නිර්දෝශී කලා.
කාලය විසින්ම අපිව නිර්දේශ කලා.
– මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ -”
“රටම බලාපොරොත්තු වූ ජනාධිපති අපෙක්ෂකයා ගෝ
President Rajapakse also took many on a guilt trip … he roared…
When Hambantatot Port was put for sale
When Mattala Airport was put for sale after referring to it as a paddy storage
When the Govt went to Geneva and signed resolutions in UNHRC against our forces
When even betal leaves were taxed
When people had to wait in queues for petrol
When people suffered from natural disasters
When murders were taking place in broad daylight… People remembered the independence that the Rajapakse Government gave
When garbage piled & the stink became unbearable.. People remembered us, he said
When this government began delaying elections .. people remembered us
When bombs went off … all communities remembered us
These victims had no solace – the SLPP is for them and the thunderous applause was enough.
President Rajapakse went on to say that the lifespan of the Government was no almost over.
Time had returned faith in them and had absolved them but he reminded the Nation that what happened after January 2015 had reversed all that they had accomplished since 2005 and that a new government was retaking a destroyed nation, a nation that was not the same as that handed over in January 2015. It brought home a lot of realities to the People.
He reminded all where the destructions have taken place since January 2015
Sri Lanka was now a nation that had given little attention to National Security and he reminded the Nation that without National Security there can be no Nation and safety for its People.
He brought relief to mothers when he said a new government must put an end to mothers guarding school, it was the task of the law enforcements not parents. He mocked at the manner that the present government had said Rs.100,000 would be given for every dead child. He said that national security must return so that all religions can practice their faith without fear.
We don’t need a government who tells civilians to look after national security, he said.
President Rajapakse took people down memory lane covering all that his government had done
- People didn’t think we could end 30 years of terrorism – but we did
- The Jaffna people didn’t think they could ever travel by train to the South – but they did
- The Muslim refugees never thought they would come out of their refugee camps- but they did
- The People never thought development could happen at such a fast pace – but we did
- People never thought Colombo could become such a beautiful city – but they saw
- It was only after elections were held in North that even TNA was free to travel to the North, President Rajapakse thundered!
President Rajapakse next went on to draw in our minds the picture of what the Nation needs and who the Nation needs to rebuild the Nation
- We need a person who will take ownership of the Nation’s National Security
- We need a person who will prevent without taking action afterwards
- We need a person who grew up with discipline because only such a person can bring discipline to the country
- We need a person who will not bend the law, who has the courage & will to take on the task of rebuilding the Nation
- We need a person who knows how to protect our national assets both on land & in sea
- We don’t need a person who has only tons of vision with no action
- We don’t need anyone who boasts he will do – we now need someone who has shown he can do
- We need a leader who will not fool the youth with promises like free wifi, chewing gum, bracelets, small cars – the Youth must have a leader they can believe in & look up to
- We need a leader who will terminate poverty, drugs, mafia
- We need a leader who both Youth & Old can look up to, a leader who loves the Nation
- We need a leader who doesn’t just boast – we need a leader who is honest, with courage, who is fond of children & who leads a good marital life
President Rajapakse said that the Nation has been seeking such a leader since January 2015 and he too was aware of what the Nation was seeking, but he went on to say that his decision didn’t matter because the People had already chosen their to be future leader, that person has already won the hearts of the People, whatever the government has been doing against him has not spoilt their hope in him.
In a very emotive few seconds later, former President Rajapakse declared
‘I am now handing my brother to you – he is no one else but Gotabaya”
He also declared to the Nation that Gotabaya never asked to be made President, he never begged to make his hands strong and he told Gotabaya that he was now selected not to make his hands strong but to strengthen the Nation & to strengthen the hands of the People.
President Rajapakse next declared, that just as his ideology was to put the Nation – first, second & third … Gotabaya must also put the Country & Nation first at all times.
Thus, President Rajapakse handed over his brother Gotabaya as Presidential-candidate of SLPP and the rest of the story will be written by the People of Sri Lanka.
Shenali D Waduge