Pledging to build Sri Lanka’s economy along the lines of Japan’s post-war industrialization strategy, the United National Party presidential aspirant Sajith Premadasa said he would launch a “Sri Lanka First” program to develop the country at a rally held at the Uyanwatte Stadium in Matara today 23 Aug.
He recalled the work of Japan’s post-war Prime Minister Yoshida who made the rebuilding of Japan’s economy a priority.
Addressing a large and enthusiastic crowd Premadasa assured the gathering that he will contest the Presidential Elections as the UNP candidate.
“In the months of November and December, we will reach a turning point in our history, and don’t worry Sajith Premadasa will contest the election,” he said referring to himself in the third person.
He said his intention is to provide “strong leadership to build a strong Sri Lanka,” that will take the benefits of economic development down to the grassroots.
He said there is no point of economic growth if that development does not reach the purse of the poorest citizens of the country.
“In the new Sri Lanka, we will build we will give priority to youth. We will with new technology build a nation that will see industrial and agricultural development.”
Premadasa promised to ensure village level development will be a priority.
He also said that “driving around in bullet-proof vehicles and living in mansions will not be his main aim.”
“I will ensure that nobody is left behind,” he said. “If the country develops but if any section of the population is pushed to the corner in any way or does not receive the full benefits then we have not achieved anything,” he added.
He also stressed on the need to reconcile the country and create a united nation which brings all communities together.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera who organized the rally said that Premadasa is among the most efficient of the Ministers. “He is the one who utilizes the budgetary allocation to the fullest,” he said.
Neither these two speakers nor any other spoke of the divisions in the party over the push to nominate Premadasa as the candidate.
Samaraweera spoke glowingly about Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Party Leadership saying he has safeguarded the party all these years.
He added that Premadasa will have the support of the UNP as well as many other parties and sections of society.