IUSF organises debate for Presidential candidates
A discussion and debate among Presidential candidates or their representatives under a common platform regarding their manifestos organised by the Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) was held at the Kelaniya University premises on Monday.
Although eight political parties were invited to attend the debate titled “Image or policy” only representatives of six attended. At the outset, the purpose of the debate was explained by IUSF convenor Ven. Rathkaratuwe Jinaratana Thera. The candidates or their representatives in attendance included Samajawadi Samanatha Pakshaya candidate Pani Wijesiriwardena, Jathika Janabalawegaya representatives, Mahinda Jayasinghe of the JVP, Jathika Sanwardana Peramuna candidate Rohan Pallewatta, SLPP representative Milinda Rajapaksa, Frontline Socialist Party Candidate Duminda Nagamuwa, and Eksath Samajawadi Pekshaya representative Srinath Perera.
Although invitations were also extended to the UNP and Jathika Janatha Pakshaya there was no response from them. The organisers had made arrangements for the candidates or their representatives to explain their respective manifestos during the first round and thereafter view the video clip relating to the question they had to explain and later, explain matters relating to the news item during the second round.During the third round, they had to field questions by the audience, but SLPP representative Milinda Rajapaksa and Jahtika Sanwardhana Peramuna candidate Rohan Pallewatta were not present on stage to answer questions posed by the audience in the third round.
A large number of students and student Bhikkhus took the opportunity to ask direct questions from the candidates and their representatives. The discussion and debate was well attended by university students.
A female student who explained the motive of the event said that even though they wanted to conduct the event in the University’s Dharmaloka Hall, the university authorities had declined to release it.