Sajith slams critical social media at Matale

ECONOMYNEXT –Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa Thursday rapped social media critics of himself and his party and accused such critics of defeating him in the 2019 presidential polls against ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Premadasa is facing increased social media criticism over his speeches and policies since his party began campaigning for the March 9 local government polls.He was criticized by social media users last week for his criticism of President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s blind acceptance of all conditions laid by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $2.9 billion Extended Fund Facility.

Speaking at a campaign rally in the Matale district on Thursday, Premadasa said he and his policies are derided by a small group of people through social media. Some of his comments in 2019 were posted using only parts of the speech.

“During the (last) presidential election, social media activists quoted me out of context and reviled us helping Gotabaya’s victory,” he told a campaign meeting. “The result is the country is bankrupted with no money in the hands of people who are skipping meals and poverty is emerging everywhere,” he said.

“A minority of the country who does not know our proposals have started crticizing us via sharp social media practices as in the 2019 presidential elections,” Premadasa said referring to the latest criticism over his party policies which he had been explaining to the public.

Premadasa, the 56-year old son of slain former president Ranasinghe Premadasa, split with the current President Wickremesinghe’s UNP before the 2020 parliament polls and became the second largest party in parliament with 54 seats in the 225-member legislature. Wickremesinghe’s UNP won only one seat through the National List with Wickremesinghe himself losing his own seat at the election but taking the National List seat his party was entitled to.

Premadasa who has been in parliament since 2000 is considered by some to be a strong candidate at the next presidential election. His party and some political analysts believe that the SJB has an opportunity to win the upcoming local government polls by a landslide if the election take place as scheduled.Alleging that big money is being spent by some political parties on social media platforms, he said his party did not do that.

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