A: Due to the bad qualities of the previous administration, we left that government and came out to create good governance in this country. Who was the ruler then? Mahinda Rajapaksa. Once this country was saved, Mahinda Rajapaksa did not do the important things that should have been done for the future. Subsequent to the African struggle, Nelson Mandela brought about changes, as expected. However, what happened here was following Mugabe's procedure who freed Zimbabwe. Today the entire world is condemning Mugabe. Similarly, people began condemning the Rajapaksa administration as well. At a juncture when this country was on the verge of being slapped with sanctions and nearly destroyed by becoming isolated, we left the previous government. The majority of the people of this country acted against Mahinda Rajapaksa to defeat dictatorship, extreme poverty and family bandysm and bring to power President Maithripala Sirisena. Can Maithripala Sirisena form an alliance with Mahinda Rajapaksa? Maithripala Sirisena can in no way agree to a request of an extremely corrupt group from the previous government. It cannot be done morally either.
: Aren't there problems that have cropped up regarding the 20th Amendment to the Constitution
A: We will solve all those problems. We will definitely get the 20th Amendment passed. How many challenges there were even against the 19th Amendment? I mentioned earlier that another leader similar to Bandaranaike has been born. That is, President Maithripala Sirisena. He can overcome any challenge. A non-violent, humble person with a slim figure has become the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, after a lapse of time. Then, Bandaranaike created a social revolution. It is the second phase of this mission that Maithripala Sirisena is involved in.
: Then, didn't Mahinda Rajapaksa provide any service to either the party or the country
A: I did not say he has not done any service. He acted to free the country from terrorism. However, he did not carry out the most important things that he should have done subsequently. One day I had a
1 ½ hour discussion with Mahinda Rajapaksa about what he should be doing. I prepared a programme to make Mahinda Rajapaksa the second Nelson Mandela as well as a world leader. If he had carried that out, Mahinda Rajapaksa would have won even the Nobel Prize. A two-day workshop was held in Beruwala. Here G. L. Peiris delivered a speech that executive powers should be increased. The proposal I made to Mahinda Rajapaksa in reply, I presented like a speech. At the end of the speech, Mahinda Rajapaksa said that Rajitha gave an excellent speech. Then I asked Mahinda Rajapaksa whether he is thinking in that manner? He then said yes. Then we spoke to Vasudeva as well and told him that we should give what we are giving to the Tamil people and create reconciliation and move forward. It was decided to carry out this programme within two weeks. But those two weeks never arrived.
: What was the reason for that
A: The main obstacle was Mahinda Rajapaksa's brothers. The fools who did not know about any politics joined together and took Mahinda Rajapaksa to the graveyard of politics. Mahinda Rajapaksa grew up among political colleagues. The reason for his defeat was that he distanced himself from those colleagues and joined his brothers in political nepotism. Just because you end a war it does not mean that there will be peace. There are a number of other things that have to be done when a war has been won. Where did Mugabe go after he freed Zimbabwe? Where did Mandela go after he freed South Africa? There are a number of lessons to be learnt from these two persons. People become exceptional by devolving their powers and not by acquiring more powers. Accordingly, President Maithripala Sirisena gave up some of his powers on his own and became an exceptional person.
: A media report said President Maithripala Sirisena had said that if Mahinda Rajapaksa becomes the Prime Minister of this country, it is just a bullet's distance away from the next post. What is meant by such a statement
A: President Maithripala Sirisena said that he knows Mahinda Rajapaksa very well, more than all the party leaders of the Alliance who were there. That is true. There is a huge meaning in what he said. He said that when he gets the Prime Minister's post it would be just a bullet's distance away to the next chair. When Maithripala Sirisena was asked to come to Temple Trees during the previous government, he did not oblige to do so on many occasions. When Maithripala Sirisena was asked about it, he told the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he could not come to Temple Trees when there was a plan to assassinate him. That is what President Maithripala Sirisena has said using the distance of the bullet as a metaphor, that such a thing could take place.
: Then someone could argue that the present Prime Minister also has only a bullet's distance to acquire the next chair
A: Present Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is not someone who acts in that manner. There is no need to have any suspicion about that. He has worked to reduce the executive powers of the post of President and to empower the independent commissions. Therefore, Ranil Wickremesinghe has shown that rather than acquiring more powers he would prefer to give up powers.
: In the forthcoming parliamentary elections, are you and your group contesting from the UPFA
A: Yes, under the betel leaf symbol of the UPFA. However, the UPFA should be entirely committed towards good governance.
: The Chairman of the UPFA is President Maithripala Sirisena. The General Secretary is Susil Premajayantha. If Mahinda Rajapaksa is not allowed to contest, once a resolution is submitted to the executive council of the alliance and it is adopted, Vasudeva Nanayakkara has said that, Susil Premajayantha can give nomination to Mahinda Rajapaksa. Then there is a chance that you can lose the betel leaf symbol
A: Although Vasudeva Nanayakkara is crazy, everyone else is not crazy. Where are the decisions taken, in either a party, an alliance or a front through a majority? All of these decisions have been taken on resolutions by the party leader in office. If we had acted according to the decisions taken by Vasudeva Nanayakkara's party members, Vasu should have been with us. However, Vasu's party acts according to what Vasu wants. Although Vasu is like that, the members of his party are with us. Vasu's private secretary also voted for us.
: Shouldn't the General Secretary of the UPFA act according to the decision of a majority of the Executive Council
A: The General Secretary cannot take such decisions. Don't forget that the present Chairman of the UPFA is a leader who has received a mandate from 6.2 million voters. How many votes did the General Secretary of the Alliance get? Therefore, the General Secretary of the Alliance should work according to the instructions of the leader of the Alliance. Were there decisions, apart from those of Mahinda Rajapaksa's when he was the leader of the UPFA? Leaders of the UPFA were with their tails between their legs and fearful in the presence of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Now under good governance these people have become deceitful lions.
: If the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa does not receive nominations from the UPFA led by the SLFP, it has been declared that they will take alternative action. If he contests the general elections in some other way, will he be a challenge to you
A: It will not be a challenge at all. Vasu and others engage in such analyses to gain contentment for a few days. Those things are called 'political filth' in the language of villagers. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa does not have a problem with his head, to enter Parliament as an opposition member and sit there.
: However, a considerable number of people participate in the meetings organized on behalf of Mahinda Rajapaksa? What is your assessment of that
A: Mahinda Rajapaksa has not participated in any of those meetings so far. He goes to temples to engage in Bodhi Pooja and talks politics standing near the Bodhi. People attend Bodhi Poojas in any case. A friend of mine went to one of these events at Tissamaharama. There were about 40,000 people there. They came to attend the annual pinkama and not to see Mahinda Rajapaksa. How can you say that just because Mahinda Rajapaksa came there, 40,000 people came there on behalf of Rajapaksa?
: So, you think that there is no wave of supporters behind Rajapaksa
A: There could be. Those are party rallies. We have seen those rallies. Party rallies cannot take over the power of the country. There should be a trend that rises from among the people. Maithripala Sirisena had such a popular wave of the people. Everyone including learned people, intellectuals, youth and minorities were included in that. There is no such wave of people behind Rajapaksa today.
: There are various protests and opinions against the 20th Amendment to the Constitution which contains electoral reforms. Will it be possible to get this passed in Parliament with a two third majority
A: We will definitely get it passed. No one will be allowed to sabotage it. Only minority races should be given the opportunity and not minority parties. We have granted justification to requests of those parties. Now the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is trying to sabotage it. That cannot be allowed.
: Has the enthusiasm that the UNP had in connection with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution waned in any way regarding the 20th Amendment
A: It has clearly diminished. I don't know whether they think that good governance means only the 19th Amendment. That is why the SLFP submitted the 20th Amendment.
: Can the President directly ask Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe about this
A: There is no need to ask. We will transform these into a political dialogue. This is not a private matter of one person or the other. Since other people are against this, the Prime Minister says that we should listen to this. That is correct. We should listen. That is not to sabotage it but to get it passed. Parliament will be dissolved once everything in the 100-day programme is carried out. Some people want Parliament dissolved soon. That will not work.
The President will fulfil all promises given and then only dissolve Parliament. People do not want Parliament dissolved according to a schedule. They want the work promised on behalf of the country to be completed. If he had listened to what we said then, Mahinda Rajapaksa would have been the President of this country today as well. Chamal Rajapaksa has mentioned this in public too.