The struggle which commenced from Uva Wellassa in 1818 against imperialism was successful only when the UPFA Government liberated the country by defeating terrorism, which plagued our Motherland for three decades, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
No force can hamper the forward march of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the party will move forward on the correct path for a long time to come, he added.
After liberating the country from terrorism, the government has taken measures to safeguard the democratic rights of the people, the President said.
The President was speaking at the 63rd anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party held with the participation of thousands of party members from all parts of the country, at the Vincent Dias stadium in Badulla yesterday (Sep. 2). The anniversary celebration was held amidst a large gathering under the theme Sirilakai Nidahasai.
During those dark days, the people of the Northern and Eastern Provinces were living in bondage due to LTTE terrorism, and could not utter a word against the terrorists, he added. During the dark days of terrorism, the country was stagnating without any development taking place in any sector, he said.
We not only liberated the country but also placed it on a rapid development track. All sectors such as economic, health, infrastructure including electricity, communication water etc. have achieved a significant growth,” the President noted.
He further added that the country in which all democratic rights and norms are guaranteed and protected is progressing. After liberation from terrorism, the people are today enjoying the fruits of freedom. The President added that the then rulers entered in to a peace agreement in 2003 without considering the people’s wishes. That agreement was rejected by the people.
The President said that the country maintains strong ties with all countries, be it with Asian, African, Latin American, European or Middle East nations. As a result of that many foreign leaders visit Sri Lanka to further strengthen these bonds.
Speaking on the achievement of the economic sector, the President said that the present per capita income is around US $ 3,500. It has been planned to increase this rate to US $ 7,000 by 2020. Besides, the poverty rate has been reduced to 6 percent.
President Rajapaksa said that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) decided to hold its 63rd anniversary celebrations in Badulla as a mark of the gratitude to our brave ancestors of the Uva Province who fought for the freedom of the Motherland.
The President noted that under his leadership, the Government is moving on the right path. “There is no doubt that the UPFA will secure a big victory at the forthcoming Uva Provincial Council election judging the large crowds attending the UPFA rallies,” the President added. President Rajapaksa highlighted the dedication and devotion of party members as the SLFP celebrates its 63rd anniversary. He added that many politicians and party members have dedicated over four decades of their life for the betterment of the party, undergoing immense hardships and various difficulties.
“We have to respect the party leaders and the past members who dedicated a lot for the party’s progress. Late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike formed the SLFP to create a country friendly and people friendly party,” the President said.
“The SLFP which has been through many difficult times has now turned 63 and during its journey, many political leaders, including late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike protected the party from many threats. During the regime of Late Sirimavo Bandranaike the country faced many challenges and threats, but got over all of them,” the President said.
“Late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and late D.A. Rajapaksa who entered Parliament from the Ruhuna took seats in the Opposition in July 1951 to usher a new beginning for the country. The patriotic people’s leaders gathered at the Colombo Town Hall in September 1951, thus giving birth to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, a novel political campaign giving a solemn pledge to the entire nation before embarking on a journey which identified the wishes of the Motherland,” the President added.
“It was not a difficult task for this party to create a journey which changes the destiny of the country. The Sanga, Veda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru five forces united and rallied behind the Sri Lanka Freedom Party with one aim. It was this people’s force which gave a new lease of life to the motherland with the establishment of a new Government at the 1956 General Election,” the President said.