- Accuses Rajapaksa of dragging Buddhist clergy into debate on his manifesto
- Says the first persons he presented manifesto to were clergy members
- Says extremists aligned with Rajapaksa biggest threat to country’s unity
- Communities must be brought together, not incited against one another: Sajith
NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa yesterday rejected accusations by Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa that he had agreed to a federal form of government to win the support of the Tamil community, saying that what he pledged in his manifesto was maximum devolution under a unitary State.
Premadasa also condemned Rajapaksa for his attempts to drag members of the Buddhist clergy into a political debate by making baseless allegations against him.
“This is an attempt to misinterpret the contents of my manifesto. You may not be aware, but the first persons to whom I presented my manifesto were members of the clergy. I have nothing to hide from the people of this country,” Premadasa said in a statement. He added that the biggest threat to the unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country comes from extremist groups who are set on instilling fear in the minds of the people to retain power.
“The political alliance you give leadership to consists of extremists of all types that are in this country,” Premadasa said, naming Pilliyan, Varadaraja Perumal, Karuna Amman, and M.L.A.M. Hizbullah as among those who are part of the alliance.
“I refuse to be preached to about safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, by a person who tried to grab power in an unconstitutional manner one year ago. Our responsibility is to bring together all Sri Lankans, irrespective of their ethnic or religious backgrounds, instead of inciting one group against another for political advantage,” Premadasa said.
Rajapaksa, in a statement issued earlier this week, accused the NDF candidate of attempting to replace the unitary State with a formulation that describes Sri Lanka as an ‘undivided and indivisible’ State.