Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed “much regret” over comments made by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to the foreign media and accused her of insulting the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
Rajapaksa said that Mrs Kumaratunga is a former leader of the SLFP and a current member of the Central Committee and co-Patron of our party and whatever she tells the foreign media while on overseas trips, reflects on the SLFP and the country.
The former President, now a member of parliament, said that throughout an interview with The Hindu, Mrs Kumaratunga expressed her elation and glee at being able to defeat the SLFP led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government of which he was the president and she dwelt garrulously on her own role in the conspiracy.
“No Indian would ever see a former leader (or a Central Committee member or Patron) of the Congress Party or The BJP expressing joy at the defeat of his or her own political party in that manner. While that alone would be cause for much shame and embarrassment for all members of the SLFP and the UPFA, some of the things that she said about our party are positively insulting. She had told The Hindu that she had difficulties in looking around for an SLFP front ranker to contest against me because “it was difficult to find anyone in the SLFP who wasn’t known to be corrupt or a murderer”. When the co-Patron and a sitting Central Committee member of the SLFP tells the foreign media that members of her own party are virtually all rogues or murderers, that reflects very badly on our party,” Rajapaksa said.
He also noted that almost all the SLFP stalwarts Mrs Kumaratunga refers to were MPs and ministers in her government as well. I took over the party that she left behind.
“So her statement to The Hindu amounts to an admission that she too presided over a party full of murderers and rogues. The irony is that though no charge of wrongdoing has been proven against the SLFP members Mrs Kumaratunga hurls accusations at, she herself has been found guilty of an irregular land deal by the Supreme Court. There are many serious allegations of similar nature against Mrs Kumaratunga. There were times she had to reverse certain actions due to public outrage. Whether such a person has the moral standing to go around the world, accusing prominent members of the SLFP of being corrupt is a matter for the people to decide,” Rajapaksa added.
Rajapaksa also denied allegation that his government monitored phone calls adding that if they did then the same equipment would now be available to the present government.
He also noted that when he took over from Mrs Kumaratunga in 2005, there was a separate state in the country in all but name.
“Terrorists were ruling about a third of the country. For more than a decade, the country had seen very little development. During my tenure, I am proud to say that I concentrated on solving the country’s problems. I saw to it that terrorism was eliminated and that the country was developed. I did not spend my time persecuting my political opponents or go around the world maligning my own party and bringing disgrace upon my country. All members of the SLFP should be mindful that Mrs Kumaratunga’s statements about our party only goes to strengthen our opponents at our expense. We should be working to strengthen our party not to weaken it further,” he said.
Rajapaksa urged Kumaratunga not to allow her personal hatred for him to blind her to the fact that she is a former leader of the party and co-Patron and sitting Central Committee of the SLFP and that she owes it to the SLFP members not to go around the world insulting and running down her own party. (Colombo Gazette)