Joint Opposition and UPFA Member of Parliament Mahindananda Aluthgamage says that if Ranil Wickremesinghe loses the premiership tomorrow, Mahendran, Aloysius, and Ravi and everyone else will reveal everything regarding the Bond fraud.
You contested the election to make Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime Minister. Many weeks have passed by but aren’t you still in the same position?
A: This government worked against the people’s mandate for three years. A great opposition to it arose up in the country. That opinion was built up by spreading massive falsehoods against Mahinda Rajapaksa. The people understood this. Therefore, we told the people of the country to hand over the country once again to Mahinda Rajapaksa. For the first time in history the people of the country made a decision like this. We will end this only by making Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime Minister of the country.
Did you not try to push Nimal Siripala De Silva into the chair of the Prime Minister when you were unable to make Mahinda Rajapaksa the PM?
A: No. Even today our attempt is to make Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister. If they are ready to give us the post of Prime Minister tomorrow we are ready to show them a majority of 113. There is no problem regarding that.
Why have you not been able to show a majority as yet?
A: We can build up a majority. We have not yet made a decision on that. Like Ranil Wickremesinghe, this government has also not become permanent as yet. Therefore, we have not halted the project to make Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime Minister.
Is it because there is nothing else to be done that you are asking for the post of Opposition Leader?
A: No, no. What we are saying is if the government is not going to be changed we should be given the post of Opposition Leader which we deserve. That is fair. The reason is that we are the Opposition in parliament with a majority.
If Mahinda Rajapaksa was not there, today you would have been destitute, wouldn’t you?
A: Clearly 95% of contribution behind this victory is Mahinda Rajapaksa. Similarly of the defeat of the UNP about 75 to 80% goes to Ranil Wickremesinghe. Therefore those characters have an impact.
Doesn’t this amount to cheating the people using the name of Mahinda Rajapaksa?
A: No. It is not cheating. Why do they love him? They love the character, not the face or the appearance and the procedure he follows.
How can people understand these politics which you are engaging with your feet on either side?
A: We, SLFPers are of the same view that we were from way back. We do not have another Party. However, the only reason why we cannot stand together with the SLFP is due to the union that the SLFP is engaged in with the UNP. They have two policies.
If the problem is this, why have you been unsuccessful in removing the SLFP from the UNP?
A: If the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in the government makes a proper decision it is easy to establish a government.
Are you thinking of contesting the Provincial Councils in the same manner?
A: We will decide on it at that time. The SLFP contested on its own and they realized it. They will consider that and make a decision at the next election.
As you see it, is this conflict between the President and the Prime Minister false? Or is there a strong conflict in fact?
A: At first we thought this was just an act. However, by today, it has become a serious political crisis. The President got the Prime Minister by the ear and shut down the Economic Council. When an attempt was made to shut it down at the Cabinet, excuses were given by the Prime Minister. The President will order the officials of the Treasury to do this. As of now, things that were done and said during the Local Government Elections, the facts that were presented against the Prime Minister at the Bond Commission, with all of that the President and the Prime Minister are unable to go forward with this government.
It seems as if you have rejected the defeat in Nawalapitiya where you provided leadership, isn’t it?
A: It was won. My seat was won by 7,900 votes. If the Betel Leaf got together with us, we would have won by 17,000 votes. There were the two Pradeshiya Sabhas and the Urban Council. We won the two Pradeshiya Sabhas. We lost the Urban Council by 700 votes. It is a city where the vote of the minorities exists.
When you consider the result of the election, isn’t the majority from votes of the Sinhala divisions?
A: You cannot say that. Kandy and Badulla can never be won.
But you did not receive votes from the North and East either did you?
A: The North and the East are different. Districts that had mixed minorities, we won. However, the lack of the North and the East was there for us. Mahinda Rajapaksa won the war. He established democracy and developed those areas. However, he was unable to win over the hurt minds of the people there. That was the only thing he was unable to do. That shortcoming is there for us. Now, we are working towards getting rid of that.
Now, you say that you will take to the streets asking for a General Election. Why don’t you understand the fact that such a thing can only be won in Parliament with a two thirds majority and not on the streets?
A: If the government continues forwards stubbornly, if they do not learn a lesson from the results of this election. This Prime Minister is someone who does not accept the people’s mandate at all, and a leader who does not identify the problems of the people. Now, see, after so much had happened, what ultimately took place? Today there is a strike within the UNP. Range Bandara and Senanayake and others are engaged in a strike outside the Party. They did not listen to what the people said and today it has happened within Parliament. Ranil is not someone who rules the country. He is a cunning individual who can do anything to escape any problems.
If the Parliament is to be dissolved why have you not brought in a proposal as yet?
A: If it has to be dissolved we need two thirds majority. We have to build up the people’s opinion for that. We are in the process of doing that.
So it cannot be done now, is that so?
A: At present we have the power of 113. As of now a large crowd from the UNP is standing up against Ranil Wickremesinghe.
What I am asking is if that is not so, what is the reason for not doing it?
A: There is a time and a place for that. How did Maithripala Sirisena win? What is the secret of that? Keeping it as a secret until the last moment! That is what we will do as well.
Your faction said that they were going to bring in a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, what happened?
A: Clearly, we were to bring in a no-confidence motion earlier. However, as of now, the SLFP, the Joint Opposition, and the UNP all of us will get together and present the no-confidence motion.
What are the recommendations you will submit?
A: The leadership given by Ranil Wickremesinghe for the Bond Fraud, the facts that had an impact on the economy of this country as a result; we will include all of that in this.
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna says they will support this no-confidence motion only if all charges against the PM are included in it, will they be?
A: We will definitely include them. On this occasion if the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna does not provide support against Ranil Wickremesinghe that will be the funeral of the JVP. The voters have given the JVP a resounding slap in the face at this election too.
The JVP thought of going on a journey further than this. The main reason that they could not do so is because they have been supporting this government.
It is said that the Joint Opposition is also supporting the Government, is it true?
A: How could we do that?
Even if it is not the actual definition of support, there is a huge accusation that the Joint Opposition has deals with powerful leaders in the government.
A: If we had deals would we have cases filed against us and be thrown in jail? If we had deals with Ranil Wickremesinghe will we defeat him so that he has to run? Then we have to move forward in a balanced way!
Aren’t there leader who quarrel in the morning and meet in the evening?
A: Even if we have deals with the ‘bahirawaya’ we do not have deals with Ranil!
After the election, the Joint Opposition met the President and held discussions with him regarding setting up a government. Even if you make accusations about the President, you engaged in such a discussion because of the trust you have in him. Wasn’t that so?
A: We have to make certain political decisions within the present political role. We have to accept the fact that until 8 January 2020, the Executive President of this country will be Maithripala Sirisena. We have an ethical right to go to the President and hold discussions. We need not be ashamed of that. We held discussions. He agreed to establish a government led by the SLFP. We went to tell him that as the responsibility of the Joint Opposition we would support him.
However, with the aggravated clashes between the UNP and the SLFP, what you are trying to do is fish in troubled waters, isn’t it?
A: We made this very clear in pure Sinhalese on 16 August 2015. This is a government of the cow and the buffalo. If this continues we are finished. They did not listen to us.
Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot contest at the forthcoming Presidential Election. Have you already selected a suitable leader?
A: As I believe it, it is Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is the next suitable candidate. He is the hope of everyone.
Another faction says that Basil Rajapaksa is more suitable what have you to say about that?
A: We can say that too. He is a good Manager. He will be a good Manager for the election campaign of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Even while the Attorney General had ordered that you be arrested in connection with a transaction of the Ministry of Sports during the past era, there is an accusation that it was prevented with the intervention of President Maithripala Sirisena?
A: All cases that have to be filed against me have been filed as of now. I have no accusation from the Ministry of Sports. If it was necessary to protect me why was I remanded? I have four cases against me. There are no cases for those who engage in deals! We are people who talk straight and directly. We have identified the common enemy. That is the UNP. He has never protected me ever.
You had said previously that devolution of power was required. However, due to the racism that is being spread by some persons of other parties, there is an opinion that, that label of racism has been pasted on you all as well?
A: However, this accusation was not made against Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila. They are clearly of the opinion that devolution of power is required and we should do that. We are not in an extremist position like that.