I do not think that the opposition has any chances of winning Uva Provincial Council elections by a mere gesture of holding hands on stage. The Opposition Leader and MP Sajith Premadasa held hands on stage during a recent meeting at Passara to shore up confidence in their party, but, this will not make any difference to the party’s electoral chances in the Uva Province. The UPFA has already won the hearts and minds of the people by looking in to their needs and solving their burning problems. The UPFA has served the people well. The people will not be deceived by various opposition gimmicks, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva told the Daily News during a recent interview.
Q: Hailing as you are from the Uva Province, how do you assess the UPFA’s chances of winning the upcoming Uva Provincial Council Election?
A: The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) will win the Uva Provincial Council Election comfortably. There is no doubt about that at all.
Q: Coming from the Badulla district, can you elaborate on the massive development drive that had taken place under the UPFA Government during the past few years?
A: We have changed the old backward Uva Province into a vibrant region that has made vast development strides. The Badulla district is also enjoying the fruits and benefits of the massive development programs. More needs to be done, but the Badulla District has never experienced such vast development in its history as it is experiencing now. Basic facilities have been improved.
Now the electricity coverage of Badulla district is 93 per cent and while health facilities have improved in leaps and bounds. When it comes to education standards, the Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examination results of the district are very impressive. With the setting up Mahindyodaya Technical laboratories in 84 schools in the province, science education has been enhanced allowing a greater number of students to gain admission to the science and technical streams. More facilities have been provided for all the other Advanced Level streams in all schools.
Atampitiya - Badulla roads have been carpeted. Construction work on the Bandarawela - Balangoda road was completed a few years ago.
Work on the Badulla - Baticaloa road is already in progress. We have already issued the gazette notification on acquiring lands to widen and construct this road. Once completed, Badulla, the main city of the Uva Province will be well connected to all the other areas in the country. The basic road network in the Monaragla, Kataragama and Siyambalanduwa areas have also been developed.
When it comes to water supply, there are massive projects completed in the Badulla district, especially for tourist areas such as Ella.
The Badulu Oya project has already been launched at a cost of Rs. 10 billion. The Uva - Wellassa University which has been named the best state university in the country has introduced several new courses.
All graduates passing out from the Uva - Wellassa University are assured of jobs. This is because of the high standards of education in this university. We are very proud about that fact. Infrastructure facilities in all sectors in the Uva Province have been developed. We have already achieved several goals and are moving forward in order to achieve the rest.
Q: What do you think about the current standing of the opposition and their chances of winning more seats in the Uva PC?
A: I do not think that the opposition has any chances to winning elections because holding hands on stage and talking rubbish is not going to help them them achieve anything.
The Opposition Leader and MP Sajith Premadasa stood together at a meeting in Passara to boost confidence in their party, but, this will not win them any votes. The people are sick and tired of their posturing. The UPFA on the other hand has already won the trust and confidence of the people by fulfilling their promises and helping solve their burning problems. Therefore, the people living in the Uva Province will always stand by the UPFA.
Q: How do you interpret allocating three more seats to the Monaragala District? Is this a political move?
A: This is not a political move at all. If it was a political move, the Supreme Court would not have rejected the petition filed against the decision. It was proved that there was no substance in the petition filed against the allocation of three seats for the Monaragala district. That is why the Supreme Court threw the petition out. It was done by the Elections Commissioner purely based on the Provincial Council Election Act passed by the United National Party. It has nothing to do with the UPFA Government. The Elections Commissioner did it in terms of the law passed by the then United National Party Government. A similar change was made before, and the same type of shift occurred in the Western Province. Therefore, this is not a new scenario at all.
Q: The UNP is still trying to find a ‘common candidate’ for the future Presidential Election. Your comments.
A: They are searching for a ‘common candidate’ because they have already realized their weakness. They will never be able to find a ‘common candidate’. The best common candidate is with the government. He is President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is the best common candidate and that is why the people have placed their faith in him.
Q: The UNP says that it will abolish the Executive Presidency. Do you think that it is the priority or the necessity for the country?
A: It was the United National Party which created the Executive Presidency. That is their baby. Will they kill their own baby? It is up to them and we do not know about it. But, it cannot be done to suit the whims and fancies of some. A two thirds majority is required in Parliament followed by a referendum and a long constitutional process is needed in order to abolish the Executive Presidency. They say they will abolish the Executive Presidency, but this is easier said than done. I do not think that they will be able to secure even the majority of seats in Parliament.
A: The people have already heard so much lies from the United National Party, but, they will not fall prey to these bankrupt gimmicks. The people are firmly behind the UPFA and we are confident about a big victory. The people are intelligent. They know how much we have done for them and for the development of the Uva Province.
Therefore, the people will show their gratitude and appreciation for what we have done for them at the forthcoming Uva polls, throwing the opposition’s lies and fabricated stories into the dustbin of history.