Saturday, 7 February 2004  
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PM would have given Eelam to Prabhakaran, but for President - Mahinda Rajapakse

Maharagama special correspondent

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would have permanently given Eelam status to LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran if President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had not taken over the Defence Ministry, said Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse.

Addressing the Sri Lanka Independent Party rally at Mawaramandiya Junction on February 4, he said the government was planning to make Sri Lanka a new foreign colony.

An Act was passed in Parliament recently making provision for foreigners to buy lands in Sri Lanka. Foreigners have started buying lands down South on lease to construct tourist hotels, the Opposition Leader said.

"In the near future, Sri Lanka's indigenous people may happen to be labourers of those foreign enterprises", he said.

The President took over three ministries at the correct time to stop this anti-national sabotage, Rajapakse said.

He said the President invited the Prime Minister to form a national government at least for a short period to overcome problems in the country.

"The Prime Minister is insisting over the ministries taken over by the President.

The President has the power to be in charge of any ministry under the Constitution passed in 1978 by the UNP Government. The Prime Minister has no right to quarrel over the President's decisions," Rajapakse said.

The President decided to form an alliance with the JVP. The Eksath Janatha Nidahas Sandanaya" is the result of this. By now, six registered political parties, SLFP, JVP, SLMP, MEP, Mrs. Ferial Ashraff's party and Desha Vimukthi Party have joined the Alliance, Rajapakse said.

"The LSSP and the CP will also join the Alliance soon. Muslim Congress MPs of the Eastern Province are urging Minister Rauf Hakeem to join the new Alliance. Minister Thondaman is not sure whether to contest with the UNF in the forth coming general election", the Opposition Leader said.

The Tamil Alliance is also at a dilemma over the next election. Douglas Devananda's EPDP will join the Alliance soon, he said.

Former Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Jeevan Kumaratunga, said the Education Reform proposal made by the Education Commission in 1988 was set a side till 1998.

"The President had to implement them herself. Under reforms made by the PA government, many changes had been made to the lives of our younger generation", he said.

This government has not done anything to youth. Being the country's back- bone, the youth must be given facilities and opportunities to participate in the development projects.

The government had allowed the National Youth Services Council to die a natural death. This was the only state institution to serve the youth, Kumaratunga said.

"The government was forced to bring down the prices of some consumer commodities. The public cannot be cheated by this type of temporary steps", he said.

Chairman of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., Kesarralal Gunasekera said the country was celebrating the 56th National Independence day.

"Nearly 75 per cent of the people are at their homes today without engaging in National Day festivals. The majority of the people do not hoist the National flag in their houses," he said.

"In other countries the National Day is the most important day of the year. They enjoy the National Day festival", he said.

"The results and the first of the Independence is owned and possessed by a handful of rulers and moneyed people. They are enjoying the independence suppressing the masses. Then how can they celebrate the National day? he asked.

"It is our responsibility to start a new war against the rulers who have robbed the freedom of the poor from them from 1948", the Chairman said.

The rally was organised under the patronage of Provincial Councillor Keerthi Udawatte by the Provincial Working Committee, and the Muslim Association of Dehiwela electorate.

This rally was held to make the public aware of the present political situation in the country.

Provincial Councillor Keerthi Udawatte, Upali Kodikara, Member of Maharagama UC, Kanthi Kodikara, Municipal Councillor, Chief Organiser of SLFP Colombo, Fawsan Anwar and the Municipal Councillor Raja Pushpalal Rodrigo also spoke.

Exercise books worth Rs. 100,000 out of the decentralised funds of Keerthi Udawatte were distributed among 800 students and other goods worth Rs. 5,000 were distributed among 88 persons in the Dehiwala electorate.

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