Former President and SLFP leader Chandrika Kumaratunga who had been on a collision course with President Mahinda Rajapaksa for several months and reportedly flew off to Europe in a huff, yesterday changed course and called upon the people to strengthen the Rajapakse administration, at the local council elections next week.
In a statement circulated at an SLFP news conference yesterday, Ms. Kumaratunga called on the people to vote for the UPFA, because strengthening the party at the local council elections would give a welcome boost to the peace bid initiated by President Rajapaksa.Yesterday`s Kumaratunga statement was seen as a turnaround from a letter she fired out to SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena last month charging that she was sidelined in the election campaign though she was still the party leader.
Insisting on the need to defeat what she called ?reactionary forces? at the forthcoming elections, Ms. Kumaratunga even went to the extent of thanking the people for voting Mr. Rajapaksa to the Presidency, though there was an apparent cold war between the two before, during and after the presidential poll.
Ms. Kumaratungas who is expected back in the country only after the local council elections, said that handing over the administration of local bodies to the UPFA would ensure the smooth and effective progress of development work at the grassroots level.
Hitting out at the main opposition UNP, Ms. Kumaratunga insisted on the need to get rid of corrupt UNP administrations in local councils and install an efficient UPFA leadership.
?Ending a 17 year horrible administration of the UNP, I was able to set up a new administration in 1994. Despite many challenges, we continued for eleven long years,? she said.
Ms. Kumaratunga noted that it was the responsibility of the people to take forward what she started years ago by strengthening the hands of the UPFA at the upcoming elections.
She also called for a peaceful election.