- Created on Friday, 16 September 2011 14:32
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Deputy Minister of Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene alleged that General Secretary of the United National Party was attempting to find excuses for their imminent defeat in the forthcoming elections and blaming President Mahinda Rajapaksa of offering Dansals at Temple Trees as a vote catching exercise.
He said that the Rajapaksa family is well known traditionally for their hospitality to the people and it was only President Mahinda Rajapaksa who opened the gates of the Tample Trees to the common man which was earlier confined to only Heads of States and high ranking dignitaries.
The Minister made these comments at a Media Conference held at the Information Department yesterday. He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has a tradition of calling various groups to the Temple Trees at different times such as Buddhist monks, people of other religious faith, government officials, social groups such as three wheel drivers, self employed people, industrialists, fisherfolk etc and look into their problems and finding solutions through discussions. He said that this has been a practice since 2004 and emphasized that meals at the Temple Trees are not given to these visitors at government expense but they are sponsored by various organizations.
The Minister said that the President cannot abandon his regular work during the election period. He pointed out that there were instances of the opposition winning elections and cited examples of many by elections such as Dedigama, Kalawewa, Akmeemana, Baddegama etc. He said that the late. Richard Pathirana and Amarasiri Dodangoda came to Parliament by winning by-elections as opposition candidates and what the UNP should do is to solve their internal party problems without making baseless and unjustifiable allegations for their imminent defeat in the elections being held. He also said that a group within the UNP itself is working against the party candidates in the elections and cited posters being published in Matara with Sajith Premadasa’s photograph by an independent group claiming they are the real UNPers as one example. (niz+)