“The other day, I received a few phone calls and most of them asked if we should postpone today’s event, the UNP’s 72nd anniversary, because the SLPP had threatened to take over the city of Colombo and topple the government,” he said. “I told them to allow the SLPP to do as they wished and we would go ahead as planned. Today, I ask you what was historic about September 5th?”
“We need to strengthen the party while the party is at work building the nation,” he said. “The UNP will not stop here, we will take our mandate forward, we will build this party from the grass roots upwards and we will clinch the leadership,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.
“This country, when we took over,was comparable to a neglected paddy field,” he said. “We took it over at a very tough period, but regardless of the setbacks, we’ve toiled hard, we’ve braved the storms, the floods and now is time to reap the harvests,” he said to resounding applause from the party members and supporters.
“It wasn’t the UNP which called for elections too early,” he said. “The former government could no longer stay in power, they had to go. They were defeated,” the Prime Minister added. The Prime Minister said it was a government led by the UNP which finally met with banks that lent to this government, worked to regain the GSP+ preference and even with the existing financial constraints, increased the mahapola scholarship from Rs. 2500 to Rs. 4000.
“We introduced an emergency ambulance service, an insurance scheme for all school children and we also gave leadership for women to enter politics,” he said. “The Prime Minister queried as to how a party which failed to hold a successful protest could run a country. “No protest can defeat a legally elected government,” he said.