Those who left UNP never shared party vision - Bharatha Tennakoon | Sunday Observer

Those who left UNP never shared party vision - Bharatha Tennakoon

12 July, 2020

Those who have left the UNP to launch other parties never shared the vision of the parent party. Those who have been with the UNP for generations, are still with the party, UNP candidate Sameendra Bharatha Tennakoon said in an interview with the Sunday Observer.  

Q. Do you think it is safe to hold an election at a time like this?

A. I believe now is the right time, and citizens have the right to vote. Sri Lanka is among a few other countries which is holding elections during a pandemic. We are resilient and capable of holding an election no matter what situation the country is facing. Look at South Korea. They never wanted to go into lockdown. They handled the Covid-19 situation well and became the first country to hold an election during the pandemic. Our people too, if adhere to heath and safety procedures the way we have been doing since the pandemic struck, will be able to hold a safe election. Even making way for this to happen at a time like this will become a learning curve for us.  

Q. is it hard to do your propaganda work with health regulations?

A. There are two sides to this. As a person just entering politics, it is challenging to make sure that the public understand who I am, but this is where digital media comes forth as an important tool. I want to be one with the people, walk among them, share my views and have heart to heart conversations with them and a pandemic like this surely does not help. However, I take it as a challenge and hope to use social media to reach out to youth but also focus on spreading my message among them that will encourage them to let the rest of their peers, families and friends know my vision.  

Q. If elected, what are the major things you hope to accomplish?

A. Among a number of things, I will create a rural economic program that can engage the majority of the adult population in a more sustainable manner. I am committed to creating opportunities for youth to thrive in and to work towards diminishing the option of relying on a three-wheeler, for instance, to make a living.

I want to get that idea away from them and work towards creating more opportunities for them. Kurunegala being my constituency, I hope to help uplift tourism in the area and revive to many forgotten entities. 

Q. What do you think about the issues within the UNP?

A. Issues tend to arise in a body of persons. I don’t think such issues can easily be controlled and you shouldn’t allow such issues control you either. With whatever issues, the UNP is a strong party. Those who have left to launch other parties never shared the vision of the UNP. The people who have always been with the UNP for generations, are still with the party to carry on its legacy. I am here to serve the people. Focusing on issues among my peers would only hinder my goal and that would be an injustice to our citizens.  

Q. Do you think people still have trust in the party?

A. Definitely. If people join hands with you, and if they have been with you for years and decades, that would be because they appreciate the good that you have done for them. Isn’t that what we strive to achieve? Bring change to a community and the country and change people’s lives. If the people know that they were served, they keep trust in you.

Those people who have had their lives changed for the better because of the party, will always be with you. Those who supported the UNP, still do. The UNP is resilient and has not broken up or lost faith. The General Election is an opportunity for people to cast their vote and bring the UNP to power.  

Q. Why do you think candidates fail to fulfil election promises?

A. This is where ‘too many cooks spoil the soup’ when you don’t have peers sharing the same views as you. Projects and proposals for change tend to get prioritised and a government can do so much when it has funds for projects. It becomes a challenge for politician who wants to do something for his or her constituency. We can’t expect all politicians to be wealthy enough to achieve everything they have in their agenda. Things get prioritised. This means engaging in one major project while having to overlook the other, but this does not mean that the candidate will never want to fulfill that promise. This is an instance where the people would lose trust in the candidate. It is a challenge which needs a positive outlook.  

Q. What made you to get into politics?

A. I am an Engineer by profession and have been fortunate enough to seen the world. It made me think why Sri Lanka is still lagging behind. I have had the need to make a difference to people and felt that this is the right time to go ahead with my vision. We have seen many politicians and there is more to be done in the country. There is so much left to do. If I don’t try doing something now, I may never get to do it.