Sajith wants polls postponed until the country is safe but will carry on campaigning

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government is “playing politics with people’s lives,” former Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa said Monday, July 13.

In a discussion with Media-persons in Colombo, the leader of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya said that by not postponing the elections until the threat of COVID 19 is over the government is placing the people in danger.

“They must postpone the elections and create an atmosphere for people to campaign and vote without fear,” Premadasa said adding that his party has made representations to the Elections Commission regarding this issue.

Yesterday the former Prime Minister and United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe also asked the government to put off the elections but not wait until the last moment.

“If you postpone at the last moment, then it is unfair for the candidate as he has spent all his money and that would be in vain,” he added

Premadasa who is embarking on a string of public meetings this week said he would not change his party’s plans.

Referring to the decision by the governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna to call a hiatus to election rallies for three days he said his campaign will go on.

“Perhaps they don’t have the energy to carry on, but we will go ahead,” he said.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa called the pause to the campaign and urged his supporters to adhere to the Health Services guidelines to wear masks and practice social distancing at the rallies.

The sight of crowds pressed against each other and not wearing masks has caused the Chief Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya and the Director-General Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe to issue warnings to the public.

The ruling party cancelled three days campaigning as the number of cases reported at a drug rehabilitation centre in the North Central Province rose to 492 with 96 new cases being reported as of 0600 today.

Six of the cases were reported from Rajangana where an instructor working at the drug rehabilitation centre in Kandakadu in the Polonnaruwa district had visited and attended a family funeral.

The instructor’s two children are also infected.

Six more people from the area were detected today, creating what looks like a new cluster.

Ten more cases were reported from groups of returning Sri Lankans.

The country has also shut down schools after parents expressed concern at sending their schools as news about the new clusters of patients broke. (Colombo, July 13, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana