Thousands gathered at the rally in Nugegoda last evening in support of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa – Pix by Shehan Gunasekara
By Jayashika Padmasiri
Several United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) strongmen yesterday called on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to re-enter politics and compete for the Prime Ministerial post at the next general election.
This request was made at a mass rally held yesterday at Nugegoda, chiefly organised by politicians Wimal Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Udaya Gammanpila and Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Amongst other politicians present were T.B Ekanayake, Salinda Dissanayake, Manusha Nanayakkara, Kumara Welgama, C.B. Rathnayake, Mahinda Yapa, Jayantha Katagoda, Dilum Amunugama, Vidura Ratnayake and several Provincial and Local Council members and former diplomat Dayan Jayatilleke. Organisers claimed a crowd of 500,000 attended last evening’s rally. MP Wimal Weerawansa said that now that the corrupt politicians who surrounded former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had abandoned him he could start all over again and walk towards victory and become the Prime Minister.
UPFA Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa gestures at the massive crowd during yesterday’s rally held in Nugegoda. The other main organisers of the event, Dinesh Gunawardena, Udaya Gammanpila and Vasudewa Nanayakkara, look on
“All the people who should not be with him have abandoned him now. So now the path is clear and clean without the dust and the filth for Rajapaksa to come back. So we will commit ourselves to making Rajapaksa the Prime Minister under President Maithripala Sirisena. Today the people who voted to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa are regretting their actions. So if the presidential election is held again then Mahinda Rajapaksa will win with a majority of one million votes,” Weerawansa said.
Speaking about the present administration he further stated that the new Government and its allies are conducting a file exhibition in the name of corruption while also pointing out that none of the corruption charges of the previous Government have been proved yet.
“Ranil Wickremesinghe became Prime Minister by taking shelter under Maithripala Sirisena. He will have to find a new tree for himself soon as we are going to bring Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. The present Government is not Maithripala Sirisena’s Government but it is Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Government. That is why UPFA people are being treated unjustly today. So this is not a UPFA Government. But we will show President Sirisena that it is much better to be in an administration with Mahinda Rajapaksa rather than with Wickremesinghe,” Weerawansa also stated.
An aerial view of the massive crowd at Nugegoda rally
Meanwhile Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila, addressing the rally, said that they would not allow Mahinda Rajapaksa to retire and stay at home. Pointing out at the massive crowd at the rally, he invited Rajapaksa to listen to the requests of the public and come forward as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
“You cannot retire as our country needs you and we are ready to come to Madamulana with these people if that is what it would take to convince you. At the same time we request those UPFA politicians who sold their loyalties for the two vehicles and petrol to listen to the voices of the people and join us again,” Gammanpila added.