21 March 2018
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I, Too, Should Have Been Given Nominations – Mervyn Silva

mervin silvaFormer Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva is among the few former SLFP parliamentarians who have not been given nominations to contest at the upcoming general election under the UPFA ticket. Silva was quick to extend his support to President Maithripala Sirisena and go against the Rajapaksa clan soon after the last presidential election. Silva said that if former President Rajapaksa is given nominations, there is absolutely no justification for the SLFP nominations board to decide against giving nominations to him. He said he is puzzled by this decision as he has no corruption charges against him

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q. How do you react to the decision taken by the SLFP not to give you nomination to contest the upcoming election?

A. It is similar to a judgement given by King Kakille. I am also puzzled as to why I was not given nominations to contest the upcoming election. I saw one media station airing a list of people with various allegations levelled against them. I was in that list and the allegation against me was about taking actions to tie a Samurdhi officer to a tree. Yes, it happenedfour years ago, and I do not deny that. That was the time when people were dying due to dengue epidemic. I created a dialogue to prevent dengue from spreading in the Kelaniya area and introduced a dengue prevention programme.

I encouraged officers to get involved in the programme and that incident happened. My intentions were good. After that incident, there was a disciplinary inquiry against me. After the inquiry, I was released from the charges. Even after that incident, I held deputy ministerial and cabinet ministerial positions. At that point, there were no objections. The moment Basil Rajapaksa sneaked into the house of UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha, I knew I was to expect trouble. I could predict what was going to happen to me. Whatever said and done, towards the end, the Rajapaksa clan got nominations to contest the election and they also got the decision making power into their hand. The General Secretaries of the UPFA and the SLFP became submissive to Rajapaksa. Otherwise, there is no reason why I should not be given nomination. It is an unfair decision taken out of hatred, vengeance and cussedness. They may go bypassing me, but they will not be forgiven by the gods. These people will be punished for their actions. I have no issue with those who have been given nominations. Yet, if they are given nominations, I deserve it, too.

I request from my friends, family members and my supporters in Tissamaharama, in the Hambanthota district and the Gampaha district, including Kelaniya, as well as from the entire country, not to allow such injustices to take place that discriminate anybody in this manner. I request all of them to defeat the campaign led by Rajapaksa.

Q. The members of the SLFP nominations board said that there is a public notion against you and several others. Therefore, they decided against giving nomination to you and a few others. How do you respond to that?

A. How did they find out what kind of a notion exists in the society and under what criteria did they evaluate it? If that is the case, there is a public notion against former President Rajapaksa. During the last presidential election, there was a people’s movement against him. Intellectuals and educated people in the country got onto public stages to campaign against him. There is a clear notion created against him in the society. Then, why was he given nomination? Why not me? There is absolutely no way of rejecting nomination based on a notion. Who are those people who have a notion against me? I am not talking about people in AC rooms. I am talking about common people in the country who are talking and breathing out there in the Sri Lankan society. I am questing as to who these people are. If you inquire from religious leaders to the people at the grassroots, you will find no such notion against me. Have I raped women? Have I robbed anybody? Have I taken bribes? Have I taken ransoms? Have I sold drugs? I have done no such things. I do not have any such allegations against me. A person has to be proven guilty in a court of law. If not that person is innocent and free of all the charges.

Don’t they have a public notion about the sacrifices I have made? Don’t they remember that my younger brother, my pregnant younger sister and her husband were all killed, that my house in the Beliatta seat was demolished and that I lost my job? Don’t they have a pubic notion about those incidents. I have contributed a lot for the renovations and developments of Sri Ma Bodhi, Kelaniya temple, Ruwanwelisaya, Lankaramaya, Somawathiya and Mahiyanganaya. I built the Kelaniya flyover and developed the Biyagama Road. Don’t they have a positive attitude towards the work I have done? Where is this public notion when it comes to all the good deeds I have done?

Q. There have been certain allegations against you which include a complaint at the Bribery Commission against you related to several fraud cases among other misdemeanours where you were accused of acquiring money through a fund called ‘Pibidena Kelaniya’ Development Programme and misusing these funds. Would you be able to explain that?

A. The Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman of the area where BasilRajapaksa contested the election had submitted a petition against me. Sometime back, there was an investigation led by the Inspector General of Police to look into that matter and the investigations were carried out on that issue. I was released from all those charges, two years ago.

Q. Now that the SLFP has not given nomination to you, what plans do you have for future?

A. I will tell you what I will do when the time comes. I will not respond to that today.

Q. What is your political stance at present?
A. I will tell you my stance once I take a stance. Right now, I request the people of this country not to give votes to parties with leaders who engage in revenge politics and take actions out of hatred and vengeance.

Q. What is your opinion on the recent developments in the political arena?

A. President Sirisena made a public statement announcing his stance. He clearly stated that, despite his objections, former President Rajapaksa has been given nomination. I am 100% with President Sirisena on that statement. I have seen how previous SLFP chairmen have acted. I have been an SLFP member from the very beginning. Only when Sirimavo Bandaranaike expelled me and Anura Bandaranaike from the party, I went to UNP, but I rejoined SLFP. I have observed that, in the SLFP, everybody was submissive to party chairman’s orders. Even the political committee, the ministers and MPs were obedient to the party chairman. Unlike them, Maithripala Sirisena is humble and non-violent and has good qualities, so, everybody started pulling his leg. He took a policy decision which is a much valued decision. I am with him on that decision. Once this party gets rid of the Rajapaksa grip, I will be back in the SLFP.

By Waruni Karunarathne
Courtesy - http://www.thesundayleader.lk/

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