The Sunday Leader

We Knew That Paada Yathra Will Result In Nothing – Mujibur Rahman

by Thushari Nathaniel

UNP Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman claims that the Jana Satana Paada Yathra was organised to prevent the government from taking action against the fraudsters of the previous regime.In an interview with The Sunday Leader, he said that the whole protest targeted the new constitution. Claiming that the government was taking revenge on the joint opposition members, he called for the government to stop arresting opposition members. He said that despite all these protests, the government will continue to take action against the wrongdoers and justice will prevail.Had the situation been different, the Rajapaksa regime would never have allowed taking place such a protest, he said. Rahman further pointed out that the democracy prevailing in the country under the good governance regime was amply manifested, as the joint opposition rally was allowed to march without any hindrance.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q: How successful was Paada Yathra as you see it?

A: There is a tradition in this country where the opposition parties conducted Paada Yathras and other demonstrations approximately one year before an election. That is a tradition. But when a new government comes into power, they allow them to work for 2 ½ -3 years. But this time when the new governance came into power last September, the joint opposition was always trying to do things to disrupt their goals. When they were in parliament, they tried to stop parliamentary sessions, during the first two hours they always ask questions, shouting, coming to the Centre and creating troubles etc.; but this time, the government didn’t allow them to do that and they continued with their work. Now they have realised that they can’t do anything in parliament. So they have taken to the streets and joined people to stop the government from carrying out their work. They are now worried because of all the cases of frauds and money laundering now in court, and they are now trying to hide behind the people and try to stop the government from proceeding. That is why all these things are taking place.

As you know, they have all the freedom to travel from Kandy to Colombo with no threats or harassments by thugs or police etc. But during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era, you know what happened in Rathupaswala and in the Katunayake Free Trade Zone and even at the fishermen’s demonstration in Chilaw. We have witnessed what happened during those days. Now everything has politically changed, and even the opposition parties shout slogans at the President and the Prime Minister and also against the Ministers. Because of the good governance, now they enjoy freedom. They should thank this good governance for creating such a political situation where anybody has the freedom to talk or carry out demonstrations or picketing against the government. So, nothing will happen with this Paada Yathra. Now I hear they are planning to go from Colombo to Kandy. Since they were brought from Kandy, they want to send them back to Kandy.


Q: What do you think the purpose of this protest?

A: They know that the general or presidential elections will be held only in 2020. They know they cannot keep their crowd with them and that they will lose their supporters in the future when the government starts doing their development works. So they want to do something to keep the people with them and these are all political strategies.


Q: The JO says the government was worried and that they put so many obstacles to the march. They attempted to get so many court orders of which only 2 succeeded. Was the government actually afraid of the JO?

A: If the government wanted to stop the march, they had so many ways to stop it, but they didn’t do that because they knew that Paada Yathra will result in nothing. What has happened now? Nothing. Only they tired themselves by walking. They say that some people went to court but the judiciary acted independently. There is nothing against them. Did this happen during Mahinda Rajapakse’s time? No. There were calls made from Temple Trees or the Presidential Secretariat to the Supreme Court telling them what to do, but this does not happen now. After good governance came into power, everything has changed. This is a victory for this country.


Q: There were allegations that Paada Yathra was not to raise concerns that the country has or issues that people face, but it was about attacking/defaming the President. What do you think of this claim?

A. What is the purpose of Paada Yathra? Were there any slogans? Was it about the cost of living or about what the people are facing right now? No. The only slogan is against the Constitution. The other is to stop political revenge. The viyawastha maraugula (Constitutional trap) is solely Wimal Weerawanse’s total communal slogan. We didn’t even prepare the Constitution; there are many sub committees to prepare it and some of them include Wasudeva, Pavithra, and even Dinesh. A lot of members take part in these committees. These people represent the committees. While being in them, they are shouting viyawastha maraugula. We can see that they are trying to carry out an artificial campaign because they did not use any slogan to support people in their issues. You are correct; they are just attacking the President and the Prime Minister, and some Cabinet members. There was no real purpose of this Paada Yathra.


Q: What is your view on using children in these protests?

A: That is a very sad situation that the former president faced who has been the leader of this country for over 10 years. He still has responsibilities in this country to fulfill; but he is killing the discipline of this younger generation by using them in these protests. I don’t know what will happen to this country if these types of people come into power again.


Q: The former president is calling on all the MPs to oppose VAT amendment to be presented in parliament on the 11th. What do you think of this situation?

A: The government has the majority, so I don’t think there is any problem. We can pass the bill and nothing will change. Only thing is the government has very clearly stated that they are increasing VAT, but that this is a temporary measure for a certain number of months. We have stated that next year, we will change it again. The only thing is that we have to pay back money that was borrowed during the Mahinda Rajapaksa period. This is the reason for this increase, there isn’t any other problem.


Q: Is it true that the amendment to VAT will complicate the county’s tax policy further?

A: Our country has many different types of taxes. My opinion is that we must change the tax structure of the country. Even for VAT, there are some complications where we change VAT for some items and for some others, we do not. and these have to be cleared out. We have to have some awareness programmers for the public, and we must iron out these issues.


4 Comments for “We Knew That Paada Yathra Will Result In Nothing – Mujibur Rahman”

  1. daggy

    Another Joker.

    Yes. It means nothing but for the PEOPLE

    • Don Haq

      Well said Rahman! It is a waste of time, money and energy. It is a day light robbery of productive hours of the nation. MR and the cronies know they cannot come to power and to hide behind the corruption they organised this.

      Let us build the country and give our next generation who good country to live in. You have the responsibility to ensure this happens as a young politician.

  2. Anthony

    instead of talking BS why does not this joker put his weight behind to expedite legal action on all frausters and thives in politics immaterial of party?

  3. Ratne

    You people are talking only about Pada Yathra. So scared. That`s what they wanted. They have achieved it.

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