Sajith Ready For More Responsibility
By Michael Hardy
For the fourth general election in a row, Sajith Premadasa won the highest percentage of preferential votes out of all UNP candidates on Thursday. The son of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa, Sajith won just under 90 percent of UNP votes in the Hambantota Electoral District, significantly better than party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 68 percent of the UNP’s Colombo Electoral District preferential votes.
“I’m extremely happy and honored that the people have appreciated the development work that I have initiated with government power and patronage,” Sajith told The Sunday Leader. “The results make me even more determined to be recognized as the hardest-working politician in Sri Lanka.”
Given the UNP’s dismal island-wide showing in the election, Wickremesinghe is under pressure to step down and allow a more popular candidate like Sajith to take control of the party. Sajith told The Sunday Leader that while he is not seeking Ranil’s job, he would not decline a higher position in the party.
“If the party decides to bestow upon me greater responsibility, so be it,” Sajith said.
Sajith first entered politics in 2000, when he was elected to parliament from Hambantota with 83 percent of the UNP preferential votes. He won 82 percent of the preferential votes in the 2001 election and 84 percent in the 2004 election. Over those four elections Wickremesinghe won 82.5 percent (2000), 76 percent (2001), 74 percent (2004), and 68 percent (2010), respectively.
Sajith credited his victory to his voter outreach efforts in Hambantota.
“There are 1,414 villages in my district, and I keep in touch with all the people to ascertain their grievances, wants, and requests,” Sajith said. “I try to do my very best to fulfill their wishes.