Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hirunika Premachandra

Q: Sri Lanka is facing a veritable conspiracy at the upcoming UNHRC sessions to be held in Geneva in March this year. Please comment.

A: Our President Mahinda Rajapaksa has done something extraordinary that no other former Sri Lankan leader could do. That is defeating terrorism and freeing Sri Lanka from the scourge of terrorism. No matter the political party, or ethnicity we belong to or religion we profess, we will be very grateful to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for bringing peace, giving hope and bringing prosperity to the country and to the younger generation in particular.

Now, we can freely walk on the roads without any fear. During the times when LTTE terrorism reigned supreme, my mother used to fear for my life, especially when I had to go about my daily business. But, thankfully, those dark days are gone.

We should thank President Mahinda Rajapaksa for taking the country past those dark days. The country is eternally grateful to him for bringing peace.

Today our country is at a critical juncture. If Sri Lanka receives negative publicity, all of us will have to suffer, no matter which political party we belong to. All should stand by our President and the country as Sri Lankans without any political differences.

We should not allow international elements to interfere with our internal affairs and create another war situation in our country, like that in Syria and Egypt. This situation will arise if these external forces are allowed to interfere with the internal affairs of Sri Lanka in the name of an international investigation. Therefore, we have to protect our President Mahinda Rajapaksa, we have to protect our UPFA Government and protect ourselves from conspiracies.

Q: Once elected, what can the people expect from you?
UPFA Candidate for the Colombo District in the upcoming Western Provincial Council and SLFP's  Co-Organizer for the Central Colombo Hirunika Premachandra. Picture by Wimal Karunatilleke

A:There are 22 national schools in the country which are under the purview of the Central Government. The balance 10,000 schools are under the purview of the provincial authorities. Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena has invited me to make a contribution in the education field.

I believe education is the key to anyone's future and I like to play a significant role in developing the education sector with the blessings of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena. I will contribute towards the Mahindodaya and Lama Mithuru (Child Friendly) schools projects launched by the Education Ministry. It will be a pleasure to represent the children and education in the Western Province.

The disparity in wealth distribution among the people in the Western Province is the main issue in the province. While a minority of rich people gets wealthier by day, the middle income people who constitute the majority in the Western Province have been affected.

This situation has to be changed. I too, belong to the middle class, so I can relate to their problems. The 'eat what you get and do as you are told' attitude of people must change. The other fact is Provincial Councils are no more a white elephant.

A large number of state institutions such as state medical centres belong to the Provincial Councils. The problem lies with the lazy Provincial Council members who do not work hard.

As the SLFP Co-Organizer for the Colombo Central, I will do my best to improve unity and friendship among different ethnicities. Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims have equal rights and therefore I will speak on behalf of their rights as Sri Lankan citizens.

My beloved late father told me that I should serve the poor people of this country who funded the free education system received by me and he loved and served needy people. That is why they called him ‘Lucky Ayiya’.

Q: According to you, what are the basic qualifications one should have to be a politician?

A: A man or woman should have some sort of formal education in order to become a politician. He or she may not be a degree holder but should have some educational qualifications.

A person must have an unblemished character to become a politician. This is a must for any politician. No one will respect anyone in any field without a good and unblemished character. These are the main qualifications. I do not say that all politicians should hold degrees. As for my educational background I have done political science and I am currently pursuing a legal career. I hope to be a lawyer in the future.

Q: Do you think that being a woman is a challenge when dabbling in politics in Sri Lanka?

A: Yes. It is a real challenge for a woman to do politics. But, as women, we do not know how strong we are until we get involved in a challenging task. During the last two years, I understood very well how strong I am and what I am capable of. Until, the day I lost my father and was challenged, I did not know my strengths and capabilities. Until then I did not know what I can do as a woman in this country. But after my father's death my life has completely changed.

I became a totally new and different person from who I was. The little playful girl is still inside me but now I am much stronger and resilient than ever. Being strong is the only option left for me when I lost my father. This is common to all women.

The woman who rocks the cradle can rule the world. It is really true. It is the mother of the family who binds the family together and leads the family on the correct path. But, we have not recognized this fact.

In Asian countries women are being discriminated against, but, it is in our own hands to decide whether we are going to be treated in that manner for the rest of our lives, or whether we are going to do something about it.

How I establish myself in this male-dominated field will be my own destiny. I will have to work hard and I know the path ahead is not easy. I believe more women should enter politics and and be given a fair chance. For a country which has produced the world's first woman Prime Minister and a Woman President, the situation now is rather disappointing.

We need to change the mindset of women and their attitudes while creating an awareness as to how important their contribution for the future of this country is. I represent the women and the youth and I intend setting an example. I hope they will be more courageous and willing to make a difference.

Q: Do you have any message to the public?

A: The public has already recognized me as an activist and not as a star or a celebrity. I will always be the activist. I will speak on behalf of anyone from any field whenever there is injustice happening.

People stood by me when I spoke on behalf of my murdered father and others who got killed. I will continue to do it. I will only speak the truth and never lie to the people because people have faith in me. I will never disappoint them. People have already decided as to who they are going to vote for. For the people who have mixed feelings about me, I would like to tell that I will never ever change because of anything I gain or lose.

The people can place their faith in me. I will be myself, Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of late Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra forever.

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