Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera asked recently not to criticise President Maithripala Sirisena in public or in private even if we would be able to elect a UNPer as President in future.
The Minister was addressing the councillors elected to the Local Government Bodies from the party in the Matara district.
“By agreeing to contest the 2015 Presidential Election as the common candidate, President Sirisena risked his freedom and life. He would have suffered a worse fate than Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka suffered if we lost. Therefore, do not criticise President Sirisena and put the government in jeopardy. The government has got a new lease of life as the ministers who sat in the Cabinet and pulled us back have resigned and decided to sit in the opposition,” the Minister said.
“I sincerely hope that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be UNP’s candidate at the next Presidential election and get elected to the post because Ranil Wickremesinghe is a patriotic leader, whose vision can take this country forward,” the Minister said.
Minister Samaraweera said that when Anura Bandaranayaike revolted to oust his mother, SLFP leader Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, she had confided in him and said that she was not willing to relinquish leadership until she identified a suitable person capable of keeping the party together.
The Minister briefly explained the need for the recent fuel increase and outlined the rural development projects the government to spend the revenue on. Referring to the incident that took place in Polathumodara, Minister Samaraweera said that on principle he did not participate in opening ceremonies pf projects initiated by others.
“There is an instance that a foundation stone I laid was removed and dumped in the Nilwala River on completion of the project as I had left the government by then,” Samaraweera recalled.
“Being members of the ruling party who have to sit in the opposition of the local government bodies except in the Weligama UC is a challenge. It is you that receive the bouquets as well as the brickbats first for any action taken by the government. Our government will help you serve your constituents and develop your wards in every way possible. You have less than 18 months more to win back the confidence of your constituents which will be the first step to forming a UNP government,” Minister Samaraweera said