Polls: Ranatunga  brothers cry foul


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Sanjeeva Ranatunga yesterday expressed dismay that Ruwan had failed to retain his seat in the Gampaha District at the Aug. 17 general election whereas Arjuna and Prasanna in spite of various allegations directed at them had entered Parliament.

Prasanna and Ruwan contested on the UPFA ticket, while Arjuna joined the fray on the UNP ticket.

Sanjeeva regretted that Ruwan, who had worked silently for the people, had been rejected.

The Democratic Party (DP) loyalist was responding to Bandula Jayasekera on live Sirasa political programme ‘Pethikada’ at 6.oo am. Sanjeeva supported Field Marshal  Sarath Fonseka’s campaign.

Sanjeeva asserted that he preferred Ruwan to

Arjuna and Prasanna though the latter had the overwhelming support of the electorate.

Prasanna polled 384,448 preferential votes to secure the UPFA’s top spot. Arjuna obtained 165,890 preferential votes to secure the second place on the UNP’s Gampaha list.

Responding to another question, Sanjeeva compared Ranatunga brothers entering parliament with that of actor-turned politician Ranjan Ramanayake leading the Gampaha District UNP list with 216,463 preferential votes. Sanjeeva said that he couldn’t comprehend why Ruwan had been deprived of another term to serve the people.

Ruwan Ranatunga yesterday told The Island that those who had spearheaded bring-back-Mahinda campaign engineered his defeat. Asked whether he would quit the SLFP, Ruwan said that he wouldn’t be discouraged by such despicable actions of those bent on personal agendas. Ruwan said: "They launched a silent campaign against me. They alleged I was planning to switch allegiance to the UNP after having entered parliament. Genuine SLFPers believed the false propaganda directed against me and deprived me of a substantial number of preferential votes on the basis of a big lie."

Asked whether he took remedial action, Ruwan said that he couldn’t have done anything to avert defeat. In fact, an influential section of the SLFP campaigned against their colleagues claiming they were Maithri loyalists planning to switch allegiance to the UNP.

Prasanna couldn’t have been unaware of what was happening, Ruwan said.

Responding to a question, Ruwan said that twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa shouldn’t have entered the fray under any circumstances. Had he been patient, opportunists wouldn’t have been able to exploit the situation to their advantage, Ruwan said, adding that the same lot were making overtures to President Maithripala Sirisena.

Sources close to President Maithripala Sirisena said that the President had strongly advised against Western Province CM Prasanna joining the fray on the UPFA ticket. As the President felt that three persons from one family shouldn’t contest the same district, he wanted the CM not to seek nominations, sources said. But the former president Rajapaksa threatened to go it alone in case Prasanna was denied nominations, sources said.

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