Massive crowd to meet Sajith at Vauxhall Street
Thousands of people from every corner of the island, from all walks of life, were gathered today (21) at the New Democratic Front (NDF) election office in Vauxhall Street, Colombo, to affirm their support to defeated presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa.
Despite the humidity and generally uncomfortable atmosphere, people were seen eagerly and enthusiastically waiting in queues to meet Premadasa as he greeted supporters for the first time since losing the recently held presidential election.
Many loyal Premadasa supporters were emotional when they spoke of his defeat, and yet everyone assured the former UNP deputy leader that they will work hard towards making him the country’s President in another five years.
Chamara Indika, an ardent supporter of the UNP who came to see Premadasa from Ambalangoda, believes that the party should move forward under a new leadership with victory in mind.
“We did not lose. We made some mistakes. We gave ‘Samurdhi’ to everyone irrespective of their party. We came here today to make Sajith Premadasa President as soon as possible. We are determined to do it, and we will do it. Obviously we will have to wait another four years, and during that time we will forge ahead. We respect [UNP leader] Ranil Wickremesinghe very much, but he has shown that he is a failure. We still respect him and if he steps down with dignity, we will worship him. But if he does not step down, we will throw him out. We don’t want the party divided. Sikrikotha must be our party headquarters and the elephant must be our symbol. We will not allow the party to be split,” Indika told RepublicNext.
R. M. Pushpamala, another Premadasa supporter, said that she, too, came to Vauxhall Street all the way from Ambalangoda to show her support to Premadasa.
“We came here today to support Sajith Premadasa. He always thought about us. Now when I see him I get emotional. We were UNP supporters from the beginning. I am 72 old now and we don’t want to see the party divided. We only want Sajith Premadasa. Even my parents were UNP supporters and we will go being UNP supporters,” Pushpamala said.
Premadasa had a delayed start to his presidential election campaign as there were uncertainties within the UNP of him being nominated as the party’s presidential candidate.
Premadasa secured a total of 5,564,239 votes with a percentage of 41 per cent at the presidential election. However, he lost to his rival Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the presidential candidate of SLPP, who secured a total of 6,924,255 votes with a percentage of 52 per cent.