Sajith challenges MR

New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa in a letter to Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said today he condemned in the strongest possible terms Mr. Rajapaksa’s desperate attempt to drag the Venerable Mahanayake Theras of the Three Nikayas into his fear-mongering election campaign.

He said in his letter, “On Wednesday, you publicly appealed to these Venerable Prelates to inject themselves into a political debate on your behalf by manipulating and misrepresenting the letter and spirit of my election manifesto. For your information, the Venerable Mahanayake Theras was among the first to receive copies of my manifesto. I have nothing to hide from the people of this country

“I am committed to maximum devolution within a “ඒකීය රාජ්‍යය.” I call it an “undivided and indivisible country.” You may call it a “unitary state.” I have pledged repeatedly and categorically that I will protect not only the unity of our state (“ඒකීයත්වය”) but also its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. The greatest threat that I see to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state is a cabal of extremists who will stop at nothing to terrify and divide our people just to consolidate their own power.”

Mr. Premadasa said the political coalition that Mr. Rajapaksa led was packed with every breed of extremist Sri Lanka had ever seen and asked him several questions, which are as follows:

“Since your brother, the candidate cannot muster the courage to face a debate or answer any question of substance, perhaps you can give the people the answers he will not to the following questions: Your secret deal with Pillayan, your secret deal with Vardaraja Perumal, your secret deals with Karuna Amman and M.L.A.M. Hisbullah

“I cannot fathom how a political leader of your maturity, who has witnessed the devastation wrought by endless ethnic strife, could continue sowing seeds of division and fanning flames of fear among the citizens you have sworn to protect, merely because of your pursuit of power,

“It is your duty as much as it is mine to reach out across ethnic and religious divisions, unite all Sri Lankans and move forward together, not to seduce our citizenry into turning on each other for petty political gain. I refuse to be lectured on defending our sovereignty and Constitution by a politician who only one year ago trampled our Supreme Law to seize power in an unconstitutional coup d’état,

“I do not believe it is a coincidence that you were defeated five years ago at a presidential election held on 8th January, the anniversary of the murder of senior editor Lasantha Wickramatunge. Perhaps it is your destiny that the upcoming election falls on 16th November, the first-year anniversary of the day the whole country saw how you and your allies reacted in parliament to the democratic defeat of your ill-conceived power grab. I firmly believe that on this anniversary, the people of this country will prove once and for all that they value their democracy over your family’s unquenchable thirst for power.”

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