Lotus Bud will bloom into Eelam


Opposition Leader Sampanthan Castigates and Exposes in Parliament the Malicious, Vicious and Fallacious False propaganda of Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna During Polls

(Full Text of Speech made in Parliament on February 19th, 2018 by Leader of the Opposition and Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Parliamentary Group Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan)

19.02.2018/4.36 p.m. – 4.48 p.m. /

ගරු රාජවරෝදියම් සම්පන්දන් මහතා (විරුද්ධ පාර්ශ්වයේ නායකතුමා)
(மாண்புமிகு ராஜவரோதயம் சம்பந்தன் – எதிர்க்கட்சி முதல்வர்)
(The Hon. Rajavarothiam Sampanthan – Leader of the Opposition)

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I thought I would say a few words on this debate, Sir. People have delivered a verdict and, in a democracy, the people’s verdict must be respected. The Hon. Member who moved the Motion and the Hon. Member who seconded the Motion has referred to various matters. I think, Sir, I will primarily do a brief analysis of the result of the Local Authorities Election held on 10th of February.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna polled 44.69 percent of the votes cast at that election. The United National Party polled 32.61 percent. The United People’s Freedom Alliance polled 8.90 percent. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party polled 4.48 percent. If one was to add the percentage of the votes polled by the United National Party, the United People’s Freedom Alliance and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, those three parties put together polled 45.99 percent, almost 46 percent.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna polled 44.69 percent, that is almost 2 percent less than the other three parties put together.

The People’s Liberation Front – JVP – polled 6.26 percent and the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi polled 3.06 percent. If one was to add the percentage of votes polled by those two parties together with the percentage of votes polled by the United National Party, the United People’s Freedom Alliance and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the total would be 55.31 percent. So, in other words, parties opposed to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna have polled 55.31 percent and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna has polled only 44.69 percent. This is indisputable. [Interruption.]

ගරු කථානායකතුමා
(மாண்புமிகு சபாநாயகர் அவர்கள்)
(The Hon. Speaker)

Please, do not disturb him. Everybody has the right to speak.

ගරු රාජවරෝදියම් සම්පන්දන් මහතා
(மாண்புமிகு ராஜவரோதயம் சம்பந்தன்)
(The Hon. Rajavarothiam Sampanthan)

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election held in 2015 polled 47.58 percent. The votes he polled at the Presidential Election in January, 2015 were more than the votes he polled now. There have been three elections in recent times; the Presidential Election in 2015, the Parliamentary Election in 2015 and the Local Authorities Election held this month. In none of these elections has former President Mahinda Rajapaksa been able to obtain more than 50 percent.

His vote has always been below 50 percent at the Presidential Election, at the Parliamentary Election and at the Local Authority Election. So, there is nothing to get excited about: elections are held; parties win; parties lose. The Local Authority Elections have been held and you have won. One does not dispute that fact, but the fact of the matter is that you have polled only 44.69 percent as opposed to 55.31 percent cast against you. So, what is there to get excited about? Nothing at all. Parliament is not constituted on the basis of votes cast at the Local Authority Elections. Parliament is constituted, -the President is elected, on the basis of votes cast at the Presidential Election – at a Parliamentary Election held for that purpose in keeping with the Constitution and the laws of this country. The Constitution and the laws of this country cannot be subverted by your claiming benefits under the Local Authority Elections to your advantage in the way you please.

I want to make a few comments, Mr Speaker, if you permit me in regard to the nature of the propaganda that was carried on at this election. I do not want to do something controversial. But, I must refer to the fact that I was quite alarmed when, quite early in the campaign, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the course of an election rally, said that sometimes this election would result in Tamil Eelam blooming after the election is over. The reason he gave for that was, there was a new Constitution being framed which might result in that happening. Sir, ever since the Thirteenth Amendment was enacted in 1987 – 1988, there had been continued efforts on the parts of various Presidents and various Governments to improve the Thirteenth Amendment in such a manner as to bring about a political resolution acceptable to all the citizens in this country. During President Premadasa’s time, there was a Mangala Moonesinghe Parliamentary Select Committee Proposals which made recommendations which went far beyond the Thirteenth Amendment. During President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s time, there were the 2000 Constitutional Proposals brought to Parliament by no less a person than Prof. G.L. Peiris which went far beyond the Thirteenth Amendment and contained various new features in that proposed Constitution and that had been brought as a Bill to Parliament.

Thereafter President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office. If he will recall his speech that he made at the initial meeting, the inaugural meeting of the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) and the Experts Committee, he talked of maximum possible devolution. He appointed an Expert Committees that came up with the reports. There was Prof. Tissa Vitharana Committee which came up with their own report which took the Constitutional proposals much beyond the Thirteenth Amendment and that was the position. After the assumption of office of this Parliament, this Parliament was evolved into a Constitutional Assembly. As per a Resolution adopted unanimously in this Parliament with all the Joint Opposition Members being supportive of that Resolution, – none of you opposed it – there was a Steering Committee appointed. You participated in the proceedings of the Steering Committee. None of you opposed it. None of you talked of Eelam in this Parliament. None of you talked of Eelam at the Steering Committee. You accepted it; you went along with the process. Suddenly, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa says, “There Eelam is likely to bloom after the Local Authority Elections if the people are not careful.”

I have information, Sir, that this message was propagated amongst the innocent Sinhala people in this country. They were told, “This is a referendum for an Eelam. If you vote for the Government or if you vote for the UNP, it will result in an Eelam being created. So, do not vote for them. Vote for the ‘Lotus Bud’ ”. I am told, Sir, that particularly this propaganda was very virulently carried out in all the temples, in all the villages in the Sinhala South. This, I think, is unfortunate, Sir. I want to put on record that my Party at this Election, in our manifesto, talked of a political solution within the framework of an undivided, indivisible, single country.

There was no campaign carried on, anyway, in the North and East which talked of division of the country. We only talked of a solution that is acceptable to our people, that is reasonable substantial power-sharing within the framework of a united, undivided, indivisible single country. That was the propaganda we carried out in all our areas and when we did that, how dare President Rajapaksa say that Eelam could bloom after the election. This is not merely a deception of the people in the South, innocent Sinhala people in the South, but it is the deception of everyone including himself.

I would like to put this on record because I want everybody in this country to know that it was a and if you proceed with this agenda, I want to tell you, Eelam will bloom, not on account of us, but on account of your “Lotus Bud”. Your “Lotus Bud” will bloom into an Eelam. That is what will happen. Therefore, please resist your temptation to achieve cheap political gain by carrying on such false propaganda.

Thank you, Sir.


Lotus Bud will bloom into Eelam

Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan in Parliament on Feb. 19

Sampanthan

I thought I would say a few words on this debate. The people have delivered a verdict and, in a democracy, the people’s verdict must be respected. The Hon. Member who moved the Motion and the Hon. Member who seconded the Motion has referred to various matters. I think, Sir, I will primarily do a brief analysis of the result of the Local Authorities Election held on 10th of February.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna polled 44.69 percent of the votes cast at that election. The United National Party polled 32.61 percent. The United People’s Freedom Alliance polled 8.90 percent. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party polled 4.48 percent. If one was to add the percentage of the votes polled by the United National Party, the United People’s Freedom Alliance and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, those three parties put together polled 45.99 percent, almost 46 percent. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna polled 44.69 percent, that is almost 2 percent less than the other three parties put together.

The People’s Liberation Front – JVP – polled 6.26 percent and the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi polled 3.06 percent. If one was to add the percentage of votes polled by those two parties together with the percentage of votes polled by the United National Party, the United People’s Freedom Alliance and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the total would be 55.31 percent. So, in other words, parties opposed to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna have polled 55.31 percent and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna has polled only 44.69 percent. This is indisputable.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election held in 2015 polled 47.58 percent The votes he polled at the Presidential Election in January, 2015 were more than the votes he polled now. There have been three elections in recent times; the Presidential Election in 2015, the Parliamentary Election in 2015 and the Local Authorities Election held this month. In none of these elections has former President Mahinda Rajapaksa been able to obtain more than 50 percent.

His vote has always been below 50 per cent at the Presidential Election, at the Parliamentary Election and at the Local Authority Election. So, there is nothing to get excited about: elections are held; parties win; parties lose. The Local Authority Elections have been held and you have won. One does not dispute that fact, but the fact of the matter is that you have polled only 44.69 per cent as opposed to 55.31 per cent cast against you. So, what is there to get excited about? Nothing at all. Parliament is not constituted on the basis of votes cast at the Local Authority Elections. Parliament is constituted, -the President is elected, on the basis of votes cast at the Presidential Election – at a Parliamentary Election held for that purpose in keeping with the Constitution and the laws of this country. The Constitution and the laws of this country cannot be subverted by your claiming benefits under the Local Authority Elections to your advantage in the way you please.

I want to make a few comments, Mr. Speaker, if you permit me in regard to the nature of the propaganda that was carried on at this election. I do not want to do something controversial. But, I must refer to the fact that I was quite alarmed when, quite early in the campaign, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the course of an election rally, said that sometimes this election would result in Tamil Eelam blooming after the election is over. The reason he gave was that there was a new Constitution being framed which might result in that happening. Sir, ever since the Thirteenth Amendment was enacted in 1987 – 1988, there had been continued efforts on the part of different Presidents and different Governments to improve the Thirteenth Amendment in such a manner as to bring about a political resolution acceptable to all the citizens in this country. During President Premadasa’s time, there was the Mangala Moonesinghe Parliamentary Select Committee Proposals which made recommendations which went far beyond the Thirteenth Amendment. During President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s time, there were the 2,000 Constitutional Proposals brought to Parliament by no less a person than Prof. G. L. Peiris which went far beyond the 13th Amendment and contained various new features. That proposed Constitution had been brought as a Bill to Parliament.

Thereafter President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office. If he will recall his speech that he made at the initial meeting, the inaugural meeting of the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) and the Experts Committee, he talked of maximum possible devolution. He appointed an Experts Committee that came up with the reports. There was the Prof. Tissa Vitharana Committee which came up with their own report which took the Constitutional proposals much beyond the Thirteenth Amendment and that was the position. After the assumption of office of this Parliament, this Parliament was evolved into a Constitutional Assembly to frame a new Constitution. As per a Resolution adopted unanimously in this Parliament with all the Joint Opposition Members being supportive of that Resolution, – none of you opposed it – there was a Steering Committee appointed. You participated in the proceedings of the Steering Committee. None of you opposed it. None of you talked of Eelam in this Parliament. None of you talked of Eelam at the Steering Committee. You accepted it; you went along with the process. Suddenly, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa says, “There Eelam is likely to bloom after the Local Authority Elections if the people are not careful.”

I have information, Sir, that this message was propagated amongst the innocent Sinhala people in this country. They were told, “This is a referendum for an Eelam. If you vote for the Government or if you vote for the UNP, it will result in an Eelam being created. So, do not vote for them. Vote for the ‘Lotus Bud’ “. I am told, Sir, that particularly this propaganda was very virulently carried out in all the temples, in all the villages in the Sinhala South. This, I think, is unfortunate, Sir. I want to put on record that my Party at this Election, in our manifesto, talked of a political solution within the framework of an undivided, indivisible, single country.

There was no campaign carried on, anywhere, in the North and East which talked of division of the country. We only talked of a solution that is acceptable to our people, that is reasonable, with substantial power-sharing within the framework of a united, undivided, indivisible single country. That was the propaganda we carried out in all our areas and when we did that, how dare President Rajapaksa say that Eelam could bloom after the election. This is not merely deception of the people in the South, innocent Sinhala people in the South, but it is the deception of everyone including himself.

I would like to put this on record because I want everybody in this country to know that it was a malicious, vicious, fallacious, false propaganda on the part of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and if you proceed with this agenda, I want to tell you, Eelam will bloom, not on account of us, but on account of your “Lotus Bud”. Your “Lotus Bud” will bloom into an Eelam. That is what will happen. Therefore, please resist your temptation to achieve cheap political gain by carrying on such false propaganda.

http://www.ceylontoday.lk/print20170401CT20170630.php?id=41233


SAMPANTHAN STEALS THE SHOW IN PARLIAMENT

The first Parliament session since the February 10 local government elections last Monday (19) promised to be a fiery affair, with political grandstanding on all sides, and the Joint Opposition (JO) flexing its muscles after the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) backed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa performed well in the polls.

Demanding a snap general election – an impossible demand under the provisions of the 19th Amendment according to legal experts – and recognition in Parliament as the official Opposition, JO Group Leader Dinesh Gunewardane agitated for an adjournment debate when the House met on Monday on the ongoing political situation.

When the debate fell flat, following an announcement by the SLFP that it would continue within the national unity coalition, it was the 84-year-old Tamil National Alliance Chief and Opposition Leader, Rajavarothiam Sampanthan who stole the show.

In a widely publicized speech, Sampanthan pitched into former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose proxy party, the SLPP, he said had run a racist local polls campaign.

The octogenarian parliamentarian said he had been alarmed by Rajapaksa’s remarks in the run-up to the elections that “Tamil Eelam would bloom after the LG election.”

Sampanthan called it “abhorrent” for responsible politicians to play the racial card. “If you continue to behave the way you have, Eelam will not bloom on account of us, it will bloom on account of your lotus bud,” said the Opposition Leader, who punned on the SLPP ‘pohottuwa’ symbol to illustrate his point.

“We have made our position very clear that the Tamil people want a solution within a united, undivided, indivisible and single country,” Sampanthan asserted. He said it was wrong to instigate communal feelings against a single community which was demanding a political solution. He also accused Rajapaksa of trying to deceive “innocent Sinhalese people in the South” during the elections campaign.

“There was no campaign carried out anywhere in the North and East which talked of division of the country. We only talked of a solution that is acceptable to our people, that is reasonable, with substantial power-sharing within the framework of a united, undivided, indivisible single country. That was the propaganda we carried out in all our areas and when we did that, how dare former President Rajapaksa to say that Eelam could bloom after the election. This is not merely a deception of the innocent Sinhala people in the South, but it is the deception of everyone including himself,” the TNA Chief raged during the debate.

Analysing the local government elections for the first time, Sampanthan also told Parliament that there was nothing for the Rajapaksa-backed JO to get ‘excited about’. “Elections are held, parties win, parties lose,” he argued rationally after his TNA also found its vote share significantly diminished in the Northern Province. As for the Rajapaksa backed SLPP, the Opposition Leader analyzed that the party had still failed to exceed 50 percent of the votes cast in the February 10 election, just as the former President had failed to do in the 2015 Presidential and Parliamentary polls. Ultimately, the vote share polled by anti-Rajapaksa forces was greater than what the former President and his SLPP had been able to muster, Sampanthan reiterated.

The Parliamentary session on February 19 began with Joint Opposition Leader Dinesh Gunawardena raising “a matter of national importance” drew the attention of the House to the anarchy created in the country owing to the political crisis in the country following the outcome of the LG election. MP Gunawardena along with over 20 MPs in the JO stood up and requested the Speaker to give a special debate to discuss the current political situation in the country. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who adjourned the House 15 minutes for a special Party Leaders’ meeting told the House when it resumed, that three hours had been allocated for an Adjournment debate to discuss the matter.

The debate was to kick off at 4 pm last Monday, but by that time, SLFP MPs who had been meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena had already announced that they would remain within the national unity government, ending seven days of political uncertainty. Later in the week, both Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera would officially inform Parliament that both coalition partners – the UNP and the SLFP had decided to continue with the National Government until the Parliamentary elections in 2020.

The UNP, SLFP, JO, JVP and TNA members who joined the debate gave different interpretations to consolidate their positions on the outcome of the LG election polls and the future prospects of the National Unity Government.

JO Parliamentary Group Leader Gunawardena moving the Adjournment Motion said the Government’s time had come to an end and claimed it had lost legitimacy. The Government could not just claim that this result was for local bodies only, Gunewardane claimed, since both the President and the Prime Minister had engaged in the campaign and asked people to vote for them. “The people rejected them so this Government has no mandate to run this country,” he claimed.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told the House the results of the LG election had proved that the SLFP’s traditional support base had shifted to a new camp. Dissanayake attempted to convince the House that the election results had shown the world that SLFP was no longer at Darley Road but elsewhere. He said President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should realize that they cannot dream of winning the next Presidential election.

Making an aggressive speech, Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said the Joint Opposition had a dream of toppling the Government but their hopes had been shattered. Dr. Senaratne said there were media reports quoting Minister Mahinda Amaraweera as saying that the UPFA was to quit the Government. Now Minister Amaraweera has denied those reports.

Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake who joined the debate made the point that the UNP would concentrate on its own weaknesses and rectify them to fulfil the aspirations of the people. The Minister who congratulated the SLPP for its victory at the LG polls also warned them not to carry out the misinformation campaign that they command the majority support in the country.

As political parties made multiple claims, UNP MP Nalin Bandara quipped that UPFA members had short-lived dreams of forming a Government. “They came to Parliament to prove that they have 113 MPs. Now the JO can’t even find 13 or even three,” he taunted.

Sampanthan slams Rajapaksa for Tamil Eelam remarks

Meera Srinivasan COLOMBO, FEBRUARY 19, 2018

Tamil leader R. Sampanthan, left, called former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s remarks malicious.

Emphasises that contrary to what the former President claims, his party seeks solution within the framework of ‘a single, undivided country’
Leader of Opposition and senior Tamil politician R. Sampanthan on Monday said he was “alarmed” at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent pre-poll campaign in which he told the Sinhalese electorate that “a Tamil Eelam would bloom following the local authority elections”.

Emphasising that his party had sought a solution within “an undivided, indivisible, single country”, Mr Sampanthan asked: “How dare he say [Tami] Eelam could be created?” Observing that Mr Rajapaksa’s campaign propaganda was “malicious, vicious and fallacious”, the Tamil leader said it was aimed at deceiving “innocent Sinhalese people”.

Stern warning

“If you persist with this agenda, I want to tell you [Tamil] Eelam will bloom not on account of us, but on account of your lotus bud,” he warned, referring to the symbol of the Sri Lanka People’s Front, a new party that Mr Rajapaksa backed ahead of Sri Lanka’s local authority elections.

Mr Sampanthan made the intervention during a parliamentary debate on the current political crisis in Sri Lanka, provoked by the outcome of the recent polls. Mr  Rajapaksa’s party won in a majority of councils, while ruling coalition partners — who contested separately — came second and third. The results caused a virtual split in the national unity government, with partners attempting to form government independently.

However, pointing to the vote share of Mr Rajapaksa, Mr Sampanthan said he failed to exceed 50% not just in the local elections, but also in the 2015 presidential and parliamentary polls, which the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe combine won.

Reaction to results

In the first instance of a national leader responding publicly to Mr Rajapaksa’s big win, Mr Sampanthan said there was nothing for the Rajapaksa camp to get excited about.

“Elections are held, parties win, parties lose,” he said, adding that the vote share polled by anti-Rajapaksa forces was greater than what he obtained.

Amid growing uncertainty over the government’s future, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has said the coalition would stay. President Sirisena is yet to make his position known, but Minister S.B. Dissanayake, a member of his party, on Monday said they would remain in government.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/rajapaksa-slammed-for-tamil-eelam-remarks/article22800425.ece


 

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Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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