Senior Minister and Chief government Whip Jeyeraj Fernandopulle in parliament yesterday said the scheme of the UNP and Lalith Kotelawala to turn the Catholic vote against Mahinda Rajapakse was a complete failure, because it was rejected by the Catholic masses.
The Minister said the hierarchy of the Catholic Church with the influence of certain UNP Catholic MPs were involved in a planned campaign against President Mahinda Rajapakse.
He said these leaders together with Mr. Kotelawela had tried to instil fear among Catholic voters that Mr. Rajapakse had sided with extremist elements and would implement legislation against the Church.
Mr. Fernandopulle made special mention of UNP MP Jayalath Jayewardane and said he had distributed handbills in churches and said certain priests had preached sermons indirectly calling for people to vote against Mr. Rajapakse.
However he said the Catholic masses rejected these moves resulting in an increased Catholic vote for the President.
Minster Fernandopulle said in the predominantly Catholic electorates of Negombo, Chilaw, Nathandiya, Venappuwa, Katana, Wattala and Moratuwa there was a significant increase of votes for President Rajapakse when compared with the 2004 General Election.