UNP reformists in the dark


By Lal Gunasekera

The two leading UNP reformists and former Provincial Councillors Maithri Gunaratne (Southern) and Shiral Lakthilaka (Western) yesterday insisted that they were unaware of any negotiations by Party Chairman Kabir Hashim to get them back into the party fold as claimed by UNP Badulla District MP Harin Fernando, who said that all must be brought back to work as a team for UNP’s success at the Uva PC elections later this year.

Gunaratne told The Island yesterday (5) that he was not aware of such moves and for all intents and purposes they had been working for the party. He said that the party’s Working Committee (WC) had expelled them and the matter was now before courts.

He said that MP Fernando contesting the Uva PC elections as the Chief Minister candidate of the UNP was not an issue, but the party leadership had to change.

Hashim should get party National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down as it would make a vast difference in the UNP or it would be like changing pillows as a cure for a headache, he added.

Lakthilake said that he, too, was unaware of the attempts to get the reformists back into the party fold. Their demand for the removal of Wickremesinghe and reasonable recognition for Hambantota District UNP Leader Sajith Premadasa was not negotiable, he said.

Lakthilake welcomed MP Fernando’s willingness to contest the PC polls in Uva and said the Leadership Council (LC) should be given more powers to take everyone back.

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