‘No media shows or political gimmicks’; President says will continue work despite criticisms

Taking part in the ninth installement of the Gama Samaga Pilisandarak programme, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today said the programme was not a media show or a political gimmick.

This week’s programme was held at Dickellakanda Grama Niladhari Division in Deraniyagala, Kegalle where the President said he would continue his work despite criticisms.

He said the objective of the programme is to visit rural and remote areas along with the officials to discuss and find solutions to the issues of the public.

“Usually, the Presidents do not visit rural areas and officers too. Sometimes, people say on social media that these moves are political gimmicks and media shows. They are not. Political gimmicks and media shows take place when an election is around the corner,” he said.

He said the leaders usually visit the people when they are in the Opposition but not when they are in power. “We have decided to visit a rural village every Saturday,” he said.

The President further said, “When I was the Secretary of the Urban Development Ministry, I made plans to develop Colombo and urban areas preserving the environment.

“The road to this village is also dilapidated. Some may still criticise when the road is being rehabilitated saying it would harm the environment.

“People don’t remember how the area surrounding the Independence Square was. I planted trees around the area, created parks and walking paths. I replaced weeping willows with Na trees.

“Criticisms come when you work. I was elected President not because of conducting political shows but because of the work I did.

“Some ask on social media why the President has to go to villages as he can get the officials to do a task. Yes, that’s true but that’s not my way. Criticisms may come but I work according to my way.”