MR Advises SLPP Members to Up Their PR Skills

By Gagani Weerakoon | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 6 2021
Ceylon Politics MR Advises SLPP Members to Up Their PR Skills
By Gagani Weerakoon

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) celebrated its fifth anniversary at a time the Government is increasingly facing dissent of the public and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who still commands huge popularity amongst people compared to his brothers was seen in a desperate attempt to retain the trust people had in Rajapaksas years ago. 

While acknowledging shortcomings in the incumbent Government, Rajapaksa told SLPP members the importance of reaching to the people during their worst even when the public is critical of the ruling party while recalling how he went to face the public far back in 2006 disregarding security warnings. 

“The people may criticise us, they may burn effigies, but we must go to them. I went to the Kebithigollewa bomb blast site in 2006. They were crying, those people held their dead children in their arms. I was able to console them, and vouched them to defeat the LTTE. You may also remember the incidents in Beruwala and Aluthgama. I went there. I saw with my own eyes what had happened. That was how I acted both when I was in Government and in Opposition. We visited the churches after the Easter bombings even before the then Government was there,” he said.

He said that SLPP is a party that has always welcomed unity, a quality inherited from the SLFP.  “The SLFP always stood with the left. They worked together despite much internal debate. The SLPP, too, must think about this. Some parties may not be represented in Parliament. They may be small in size. However, it’s not size that matters in politics but a party’s vision.

“These are people who are on the same path with us, people who were with us in hard times and fought for one goal. We cannot push any of them away. Nor are they our tools or crutches. All the parties that were together then must continue to be together. Protecting that unity is our responsibility as the main party,” Rajapaksa told the SLPP members present at Nelum Pokuna.

“We need to understand that the people who voted for us are in a very difficult situation. We are used to such trying times. Isn’t that right, Vasu? At times like these, people blame the Government even for things it didn’t do. That’s just how it is,” the Premier said while gesturing at Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara who has been vocal about recent controversial deals of the Government.  

The Prime Minister also remembered the youth who engaged in painting parapet walls and bridges in 2019 and 2020. 

“I remember in the early days of our victory, the youth of this country painted murals on walls everywhere. They used paint they had themselves paid for. It was a voluntary effort by patriotic young people with no affiliations to the party. Today we have no idea where those youths are. The youths’ appeal to us, with their art, was to not tarnish the country with the brand of politics they had seen thus far. We must understand that message. We need to find out if those youths are now in the queues at the passport office waiting to leave the country.  We need to engage in a kind of politics that will make them want to come back,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the teachers’ protest escalated because the politicians took a step back from active politics after coming to power. 

“The farmers’ protests today are dragging to such a degree also because we didn’t have a working presence among them. We must listen to the voice of the people. When we deviate from active politics, the forces that we defeated try to creep in, looking to create chaos. To embed the SLPP in this country, as a party, it should continue to engage in politics among the people even when in Government. It was a historic victory that the people gave us, and we need to understand what the nation expected form us in return,” he said. 

Sajith, Mujibur becomes vocalists

The SJB has initiated a programme aimed at educating its MPs on various topics.  As part of this new initiative the SJB MPs took part in a special workshop which was staged out of Colombo last week. 

This workshop organised by Opposition Leader’s Secretary Ravi Jayawardena, was held for two days. The workshop kicked off at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday (30 October) and on day one it concluded at 5:00 p.m.  During the workshop the MPs’ several topics including means of spearheading the party’s journey to election victory was discussed. After the workshop was concluded a reception was held in the night. 

During the function, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa was seen visiting all the tables and cordially speaking with the MPs. 

MP Mujibur Rahman then took hold of the microphone and began to belt a number. He dished out a popular song of late vocalist Gunadasa Kapuge. At the end of the song, Rahman invited Premadasa to follow suit. 

After Premadasa ended rendering a song all MPs then urged the leader in one voice to sing another song. Afterwards a request was made to MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to also sing a song and he obliged singing two numbers.

At this juncture MP Kins Nelson said that Fonseka could even be sent for a song competition as he was versatile in the craft. When MPs Hesha Vithanage and Chaminda Wijesiri were preparing to sing a song together MP Nalin Bandara invited all MPs to join him in dancing to the numbers belted by Vithanage and Wijesiri. 

Among those who exhibited their dancing skills were MPs Ashok Abeysinghe, Thushara Indunil, J.C. Alawathuwala and Bandara himself. Though MP Rahman invited MP Manusha Nanayakkara to also sing a song, MP Indunil said Nanayakkara would not sing due to Manusha’s friend MP Harin Fernando not being there. Although Nanayakkara was repeatedly requested to sing, he did not comply.

SJB General Secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara, too, was invited to sing, but he did not comply either. 

The MPs expressed their satisfaction about the workshop and told the leadership that they hope it would continue further. 

The SJB Wattala Office was opened this week on Monday (1). 

Top leadership of the party including Premadasa and many members participated in the event. Premadasa gave the letter of appointment to MP Harin Fernando as Chief Organiser of Wattala Electorate at the event. 

After that, Fernando also handed over a letter to Premadasa which expressed his intentions to leave politics. However, Premadasa told the shocked audience that Fernando will only be leaving politics only after he reaches 60. 

Meanwhile, Fernando’s birthday was celebrated last week and the MPs held a small celebration for that. MP Patali Champika Ranawaka during the celebration stated according to Fernando’s letter, he (Ranawaka) only has four more years in politics. Maddumabandara too, stated that he was embarrassed about the age set by Fernando to retire, but looking at few politicians, who are in the top level position in the country, eased his guilt a bit.

Premadasa, who also spoke about the standard set by Fernando regarding the retirement age, said what is needed for politics is not the age, but skill, ability and talent. 

The late President J.R. Jayewardene’s death anniversary fell on 1, November while Premadasa had organised a donation of Rs 2 million worth of medical equipment to Avissawella Hospital on behalf of the SJB.

Late President’s grandson and the SLFP East Colombo Organiser, Pradeep Jayawardene also attended the event.  

Meanwhile, a well-known Buddhist Monk called Premadasa and stated though the former President’s party had forgotten his death anniversary, the SJB Leader had not been that ungrateful and commended him for his initiative.

Premadasa said that he would not forget the services delivered by former President Jayewardene to the country.

By Gagani Weerakoon | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 6 2021

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