Eastern Poll will uphold democracy, human values and freedom
Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle states in one of his
In one of his last full-length interviews given to the media,
Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said a grateful Eastern populace
will hand over a resounding victory to the UPFA on May 10.
Expressing his views on the forthcoming Provincial Council elections
in the East to the Asian Tribune, Minister Jeyeraj Fernandopulle stated
that a Muslim or a Tamil should be the Chief Minister.
Recent local government election results clearly showed that the
people are happy with the Government and with the Tamil Makkal
Viduthalai Pulikal. They now control nine Local Government bodies.
They have a choice at the Provincial Council elections that is
between the Government coalition or any other group contesting the
elections. He added whatever is said and done, the people in the East
will vote with the Government at the Provincial Council elections,
because the people in the East know that they have to get lot of things
done by the Government in their areas as it had been neglected for a
Excerpts from the interview Minister Fernandopulle had with the Asian
Q: On 10 March people in the
Batticaloa district voted in nine Local Government bodies. Now the
Government has come forward to hold the East Provincial Council
elections. Your comment?
A: In the forthcoming Provincial Council People of the liberated East
will come forward and vote in the election to uphold the democratic
principles and values of democracy, human values and freedom. This is
what our Government under the leadership Mahinda Rajapaksa wants by
holding the provincial Council elections in the East.
It is up to the people of the East to decide and vote. The most
popular party voted by the majority of the voters will run the Eastern
province Provincial Council. I believe they have a choice between the
ruling party, United People's Freedom Alliance or any other party
contesting the elections. Whoever win in the elections, unmindful of the
results of the forthcoming polls the Government would continue with its
development programs which is already launched by the Government.
In case the people vote for the ruling party candidates, it would be
easier for the Government to continue with the development programme
already launched without any let or hindrance.
Even in case the people voted for the Opposition, our Government is
not going to stop the development work that has been launched in the
East especially in the Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts. But it will
be easy for the Government to continue with its development works if the
Government is in power in the East.
Q: What is in store after the
Batticaloa Local Government elections .....?
A: Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle: The election results clearly
predicted that the people are happy with the Government. People are
happy with the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal. After the elections to
the local Government bodies in the east people have given the
administrative control of nine Local Government bodies to the TMVP.
The results clearly show that the people in the district are happy
with the Government and also happy with the TMVP. My view is that people
will naturally vote with the Government.
Whatever is said and done, the people in the East will vote with the
Government because the people in the East knowthat they have to get lot
of things done by the Government in their area as it had been neglected
for a long time. Areas such as Kokkoddicholai, Valaichchenai, part of
Tirukkovil, were neglected for a long time and most of these areas were
under LTTE control also for a very long time.
Also Sampur, Vakarai and other places earlier under the control of
the LTTE, had been neglected and these areas have to be developed. That
can only be done only if the Government wins in the elections and work
smoothly with the people of the area..
Q: One more question. UNP after the
recent Pradeshiya Sabha elections on 10 March, its leader Ranil
Wickremasinghe, Secretary Tissa Attanayaka and other leaders staged a
protest rally in front of the Elections Commission.
They shouted that there is an armed group in the region and as such,
Provincial Council elections should not be held. But suddenly now they
have decided to contest in the Eastern provincial council elections. Why
was there a change of mind? Please comment on the sudden change of
stance by the UNP.
A: That is the outcome of the pressure they received from the rank
and file of there party. Some people think now that they could have
easily won the Batticaloa Municipal Council. They think like that
because the UNP got more votes from the Batticaloa Municipal area in the
last Presidential election.
Therefore they think that Ranil has made a miserable mistake. A very
big mistake. Suddenly they have realised that if they don't contest then
they will be totally forgotten by the people in the Eastern province,
for the next six years. I think that is the pressure Ranil received from
the Party rank and file.
Q: Please tell us the chances of UNP
winning any seats in the East Provincial Council elections?
A: They might win a couple of seats. There are UNPers in the Ampara
Q: In the 1989 elections which was
held for the merged North East provincial council, UNP got only one seat
from the East? At that time Late J.R.Jayewardene was the President.
A: Yes ... yes. But in Ampara they have got a little support and also
they have a little amount of support in Batticaloa also. I think they
will get a couple of seats.
Q: Your comment about Sri Lanka
Muslim Congress chances?
A: I think they too have some support in the midst of a section of
the Muslims in the Eastern province.
Q: Do you think that that the SLMC
would join with the UNP ?
A: In fact, I feel that the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leaders and
members do not want to join with the UNP, but its leader Rauff Hakeem
wants to join with the UNP. I think that the majority of the Sri Lanka
Muslim Congress members want to join with the United People Freedom
Alliance and get things done for their areas.
The grassroots level people in the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress want
their political organization to join with the Government and get the
Eastern province developed. But unfortunately what its leader Rauff
Hakeem wants is to join the UNP and support Ranil.
Today, Wickremesinghe is like a deflated car tyre. Whatever they may
do, he cannot win in the race.
Q: Do you know the position of the
Tamil National Alliance and the Members of Parliament representing that
party. There is a rumour that TNA is trying to support UNP behind the
A: Yes for sure, TNA will be supporting the UNP. Because TNA and UNP
both are supporting the LTTE. Therefore for sure the TNA would support
the UNP. It is a public secret that UNP and TNA are supporters of the
LTTE and as the TNA is not contesting in the election; the TNA would
urge their supporters to vote for the UNP. Definitely that will happen.
That is what Prabhakaran also wants.
Q: What is the position of the JVP?
A: I think that there is a chance for JVP to have one or two seats in
the Ampara district. I think that they will get one or two seats on the
whole of the East.
I don't agree that TMVP should be disarmed. If TMVP is disarmed then
the LTTE will come and kill all the people. All the TMVP people.
Definitely that will happen. In fact the UNP wanted to get that done.
In fact when I was speaking at the Galgamuwa public meeting, I said
that people like Ranil Wickremesinghe who demands TMVP, in fact
Pillaiyan should be disarmed are not clamouring that LTTE and
Prabhakaran should be disarmed.
They are not asking that, but they are only asking that Prabhakaran's
rival should be disarmed. When Prabhakaran's rival is disarmed then his
rival Pillaiyan would be an easy target for Prabhakaran. I think that
TMVP should have their arms for their self-defence until such time
Prabhakaran is disarmed.
Q: Your comment about who should be
made the chief minister?
A: I don't know. But my personal view is that a Tamil should be the
Chief Minister. To clarify further my personal view is that either a
Tamil or a Muslim should be the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province.