Rajapakse, JVP kick off joint election campaign

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 September 2005, 19:26 GMT]
Sri Lanka's premier Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse nominated as the SLFP presidential candidate vowed Tuesday to thwart all attempts by opposing parties with "vested interest" to defeat him in the forthcoming SL presidential polls on November 17. Mr. Rajapakse was addressing his first presidential election rally in Colombo Town Hall ground attended by representatives of political parties extending support to Mr. Rajapakse, including the Sinhala extremist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). However, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) key figures including Mr. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake were absent.

SL Presidential campaign rally
Crowds attending the joint-rally


An estimated crowd of six thousand people, most of them JVP supports carrying red flags, attended the rally. Security was tight surrounding the town hall. The meeting commenced around three p.m. and continued till 8 p.m.

Mr.Somawanse Amerasinghe and Mr.Wimal Weeravanse of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) attended the joint-rally.

The meeting marked the official beginning of the election campaign for Sri Lanka's Presidency, political sources in Colombo said.

SL Presidential campaign rally
JVP leader Mr. Amarasinghe [Left] and Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse [Middle]


SL Presidential campaign rally
Mr. Rajapakse with JVP leader Mr. Amarasinghe
Speaking at the rally, Mr. Rajapakse said he will not allow division of Sri Lanka at any cost and will uphold the unitary form of constitution. He was addressing the meeting along with three senior ministers Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena, SLFP general secretary, Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva and Mr.Susil Premajayanth.

The joint-rally was also attended by the party leaders and representatives from Majana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), the Lanka Sama Samja Party (LSSP), Sri Lanka Communist Party (SLCP) and the Eelam People Democracy Party (EPDP), the parties extending support to the SL premier.

However, the representatives of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), the extreme nationalist party of Buddhist monks did not attend the rally, political sources noted.

SL Presidential campaign rally
JHU meeting at BMICH
JHU held a separate meeting at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo and accused Mr. Rajapakse for wavering on his policy pronouncements in the agreement signed earlier between JHU and Mr. Rajapakse.

President Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga who is also the president of the SLFP and her brother and the Lankan Foreign Minister Mr. Anura Bandaranaike, did not attend the meeting as they were yet to return from abroad.

 

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