National List to the rescue of SB

by Prasad Gunewardene
The exclusion of PA dissident minister S. B. Dissanayake in the UNP nomination list for the Nuwara-Eliya district now confirms that Dissanayake will be placed on the UNP National list.

The list submitted on Friday had left out Rohan Abeygunesekera from Hanguranketa. Abeygunesekera have been leading that electorate for years from the time his father, the late George Abeygunesekere pioneered that electorate.

The UNP list for Nuwara Eliya district, included Naveen Dissanayake, CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman, Upcountry Peoples Front leader P. Chandrasekeran, Muthu Sivalingam and Renuka Herath who are former parliamentarians. This list of ten has five Sinhalese and five Tamils.

UNP circles in the Gampaha district raised eye brows over the inclusion of Shanthini Kongahage to contest on the UNP ticket from that district.

UNP veteran from Dompe Sarathchandra Rajakaruna has been excluded this time.

Shanthini is the wife of former UNP MP Sarath Kongahage who deserted the UNP to join the PA last year. Sarath was placed on the PA National List but was not brought to parliament by President Chandrika Kumaratunge.

He campaigned against the UNP during the October 2000 general election and was very critical of his former party and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Shanthini and Sarath are close associates of former UNP general secretary Sirisena Cooray who led a new party called the ‘Puravesi Peramuna’ in the October 2000 general elections. Cooray’s party was completely routed in that election.

Meanwhile, UNP stalwart from the Puttalam district, Festus Perera will not contest this time. His wife, Mary Larynne Perera, a former UNP minister in the North Western Provincial Council handed in her nomination on the UNP list on Friday.

Another notable exclusion from that district was the UNP veteran in Nattandiya, Harold Herath. Herath did not contest the last general election.