Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero, two of the main protagonists who ensured the January 08 polls defeat of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is set to resume their battle to keep Rajapaksa at bay by mounting the stage in Kurunegala on August 08, the constituency former President is contesting the upcoming parliamentary polls.
Ven. Sobhitha Thero and former President Kumaratunga who have so far kept silent with regards to the elections will address a series of meetings organized by a number of civil society organizations and trade unions, which backed the common candidate at the January 08 presidential polls, starting from Kurunegala.
While the aim of the meetings is to educate the voters on the importance of choosing candidates with a clean slate, one of the organizers of these events said that choosing Kurunegala as the location for the inaugural meeting meant that it was an open challenge against Rajapaksa.
According to him several such meetings will be held within the Kurunegala district while plans are afoot to hold such public meetings in other parts of the country as well.
Although Ven.Sobhitha Thero had been reluctant to take part in such meetings earlier, the organizer said that the Thero had now given his consent.
Both Kumaratunga and Sobhitha Thero has openly criticized the decision taken by President Maithripala Sirisena to give nominations to President Rajapaksa to contest the polls under the UPFA banner.
In the backdrop of this incident, a dejected Sobhitha Thero vowed to remain silent at the upcoming polls while Bandaranaike had gone abroad for a lengthy holiday. Although Kumaratunga after the nominations said that she would make a public statement over the issue, she is yet to do so even after returning to the country four days back.
According to a close aide of Sobhitha Thero, his intention to actively engage in election related work once again has been sparked by Rajapaksa camp’s attempts to fan the flames of communalism and religious discord in an attempt to gain Sinhala Buddhist votes, mainly from rural areas.
According to this aide both Kumaratunga and Sobhitha Thero have had several rounds of talks since the former returned to the country.
However, both have decided not to get on the election stage of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG).
The convener of the National Movement for Social Justice Ven. Sobhitha Thero in a recent media briefing had said that Rajapaksa, who had betrayed the masses on two occasions by creating a political culture of rampant thuggery, corruption and mayhem was again attempting to return to the political arena to continue his dirty game.
The Thero had said a corrupt, power hungry Rajapaksa was trying to take the masses for another ride and was shamelessly trying to make a comeback after being rejected by the masses at the last Presidential election.
The Thero had said that the people had a great responsibility in not allowing corrupt and discarded political elements to make a comeback.