PM warns voters to be wary of ethnic-oriented parties | Daily News

PM warns voters to be wary of ethnic-oriented parties

‘Samagi Jana Balawegaya espousing divisive politics’:

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday warned voters to be wary of giving credence to political parties that favour certain ethnic or religious communities over the other.

In a statement he added that the terror attacks on Easter Sunday took place when such a Government was at the helm.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Premier referred to the ‘dangerous consequence of this brand of politics’ since “a political party restricted itself to just one ethnic or religious group, becomes a prisoner of circumstances”.

“When the extremist preacher Zahran Hashim built himself a small following in the East, communal political parties had to compete for the votes of that group. That enabled this extremist to summon all communal candidates for election in that district and even impose conditions on them. Though this process, extremists controlled the communal political parties and the communal political parties in turn controlled the national political party running the Government. Ultimately the extremists indirectly controlled the Government. The Yahapalana government was not able to prevent the Easter Sunday bombings because they had fallen victim to this brand of politics,” he said.

The Prime Minister in his statement referred to G.G. Ponnambalam, Alfred Duraiappah, A.C.S Hameed, M.H Mohamed, Bathiudeen Mohamed and Alavi Moulana stating that while they represented the Tamil or Muslim communities, they were stalwarts of either the UNP or SLFP.

“The politics of trampling the majority community and obtaining privileges for one’s own community through political extortion never existed at that time. The reason why this poisonous political culture has flourished up to this point is because those engaged in such politics have benefitted enormously from it.”

The Prime Minister stated that the political “Mara-Senawa” (Lethal Force) which came together to capture power through the presidency and to divide the country after trampling the majority community, was made up of the same elements in 2010, 2015 and 2019. “These political parties which were earlier with the UNP, have now shifted their allegiance to the Samagi Jana Balawegaya on the grounds that Ranil is incapable of winning the required number of Sinhala votes whereas Sajith is better positioned to do so. We see the Samagi Jana Balawegaya trying to fulfill their side of this bargain by giving election pledges such as an allowance of Rs. 20,000 for every family. They tried to win the Presidential Election also with promises of various handouts.”

He warned that the constitutional proposals in Sajith Premadasa’s manifesto were identical to the proposals in the Draft Constitution tabled in Parliament by UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in early 2019. “An essential precondition to the division of this country is to remove from our Constitution the phrase ‘Unitary State’ which has a special technical meaning. The International Community can then take note of the fact and act accordingly.”

He warned that the inclusion of constitutional proposals aimed at the division of the country in the manifesto of a major political party, is a cause for grave concern.

“This document was presented to the Most Venerable Mahanayake Theras and Anunayaka Theras with a great deal of publicity without however giving them any prior warning about its contents.

If they had won the last Presidential Election, these proposals would have been implemented on the claim that it had received a mandate from the people and the blessings of the Maha Sangha.”

He added that the manifesto of Samagi Jana Balawegaya contained proposals that would see the words ‘Unitary’ in the Constitution replaced with ‘Undivided and Indivisible’ in describing the Sri Lankan State. Devolving the powers of the Central Government to the provinces to the maximum extent possible and creating a Second Chamber of Parliament made up of Provincial Council representatives to further limit the powers of the Central Legislature are also part of this plan, the Premier said.

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