- Reiterates GR submitted documents to EC to prove his citizenship
- Insists GR campaign does not engage in mudslinging, calls on other parties to do the same
- Argues allegations of white van abductions baseless
By Nuwan Senarathna
The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday defended its presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s renunciation of his US citizenship and attempted to frame any criticism on the issue as a political move to undermine his election campaign.
Fresh debate erupted over Rajapaksa’s citizenship during the weekend as Sports Minister Harin Fernando alleged in a Twitter message that Rajapaksa had not renounced his US citizenship.
Speaking to the media, SLPP Spokesman Dullas Alahapperuma reiterated Rajapaksa had submitted relevant documents to the Election Commission to prove that he had successfully renounced his US citizenship. He noted Rajapaksa had not criticised his opponents during his election campaign, which indicated he had changed the country’s political culture.
“Gotabaya Rajapaksa did not criticise any of his opponents. He did not even mention their names. This is the politics we all have been waiting for. Considering Rajapaksa’s political practice, it is somewhat unacceptable how the United National Party (UNP) is now slinging mud at Rajapaksa to gain political mileage,” Alahapperuma said. He refuted the claims of the UNP’s alleged white van abductions during the tenure of the previous government. Alahapperuma argued that the UNP failed to prove any of their accusations of white van abductions or any other allegation levelled against Rajapaksa.
“Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne attempted to tarnish Rajapaksa’s reputation by presenting an individual whom he claimed was a white van driver. But that was a baseless accusation. They are still sticking to outdated mudslinging politics, which shows their mindset.”
Referring to Dr. Senaratne’s accusation that Rajapaksa smuggled 7,000 tonnes of gold from Jaffna, Alahapperuma argued that the Government had time to investigate and arrest those responsible for such crimes. He argued that the public would not be fooled by the Government’s baseless accusations as they had time to prove if such crimes were committed by Rajapaksa during the past five years.
Alahapperuma criticised the UNP’s political campaign as a repeat of the same pledges given ahead of the 2015 Presidential Election. He asserted that the public had started to question why the Government was unable to prove any of the allegations levelled against the Rajapaksa family or members of the previous Government.
“The public are smarter than the UNP thinks. The public will think rationally and take the smart decision. They cannot be misled by the baseless accusation of the UNP. People will vote for Rajapaksa because they want a prosperous future,” he said.
Pix by Ruwan Walpola