UNP will nominate me with blessings of Ranil, Karu – Sajith

United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday said he expected to be named the party’s presidential candidate with the blessings of party leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

Speaking at a public rally in Kurunegala, Premadasa said the event was not meant to be a rally held in opposition to anyone.

“This is a rally to bring victory to the UNP, the United National Front and the people of this country. I believe that with the blessing of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and everyone in the UNP, the son of Ranasinghe Premadasa, who sacrificed his life for the party and country, will be given the opportunity to build the nation,” he said.

“I’m no coward, nor a fool. I possess the Premadasa brand of bravery. I fear nothing. I vow to join hands with you and bring this country out of its current predicament,” he added.

Come November, said Premadasa, a government led by him will enact separate laws to protect women from sexual harassment and empower the country’s youth with ICT-centered education and English proficiency.

“This will be a turning point for the women and the youth of Sri Lanka,” he said.

War veterans will be a high priority, he went on to say, with soldier-welfare high on the UNP agenda.

“We will never reduce the war heroes who ended 30 years of terrorism to garbage collectors and road sweepers,” he said.

Under his leadership, he further said, sustainable development will take precedence, and all citizens of the country will reap the benefits, as opposed to a select few on the top rungs of power.

Under a Premadasa presidency, the State will play a sizable role in advancing the interests of Buddhism as well as other religions.

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“We have plans to build 1,125 stupas in this country. We also rebuilt churches destroyed in the Easter Sundayattack, and mosques that were destroyed after the attack. Hindu kovils too will be renovated. This is true Buddhism. This is the Buddhism that R. Premadasa believed in. In Buddhism, there is no place for racism, tribalism, or caste division. Lord Buddha said may all beings be free of suffering,” he said.

Responding to allegations that he had misappropriated the Central Cultural Fund, Premadasa said: “Sajith Premadasa’s hands are clean. There is no blood on my hands, no thievery. We have not protected drug lords. Keep on slinging mud, I say. Keep on assassinating my character. I wake up at 4 and finish my development work at midnight. Keep slinging mud at me, and I promise you I will sleep less and work even more.”

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