Not yet decided on contesting: Dilshan

Former Sri Lanka Cricket Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan yesterday said he has not yet made a decision to contest any election though he obtained the membership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

Speaking at a news conference under the banner ‘Voice for Justice’,
the former skipper explained that the programme was a social welfare programme which helps thousands of poor and homeless people and that was what he was happy to be doing at the moment.

“I have not yet made a decision to contest an election because I’m so busy with this programme which is a real need at the moment. I did obtain the SLPP membership but it doesn’t mean that I will contest. Not everyone who obtains party membership is called upon to contest elections,” he said.

However, he said he had always stood by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and would continue to back him because of the role he played in ending the war.

“Mr. Rajapaksa ended the war and stood firm in the face of foreign influence. I’m someone who knows the impact of war. I first went to a school in Jaffna. My father is a police officer and his life was at risk at least on two separate occasions. Even today, no cricket team goes to Pakistan because of the war. I remember in 1996, some teams refused to visit Sri Lanka. Had the war not been ended, we would still be going through that situation,” he said.

Commenting on the current political crisis, Dilshan said the best solution available was to go for a General Election.

“There is a conflict between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. To resolve this and to prevent the country from heading towards an abyss, the people should be given the opportunity to express their opinion at an election in order to establish a stable government.

Today, I help provide facilities to 5,000 families as a part of my social welfare programme. And under the ‘Dilshan with Youth’ programme, we distribute sports equipment among national schools. All principals are welcome to contact us so that we could help them. Even after I retired from cricket, I stayed close to the people as they love me and stayed with me through thick and thin. They know I have maintained my credibility. As long as you maintain your credibility, the field you choose doesn’t matter,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)