Reformists’ plot: Ranil to pursue German NGO’s role


By Shamindra Ferdinando

UNP Assistant Leader Joseph Michael Perera said yesterday that the decision making Advisory Committee of the party would decide next week on further action on UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s allegation that a German NGO had conspired with a section of the party to oust him from the leadership.

Asked by The Island whether the party intended to pursue the matter, the Gampaha District MP said that the Advisory Committee would meet on Jan. 4 and 5 to discuss the future course of action.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, Assistant Leader Joseph Michael Perera, party Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, National Organizer Daya Gamage and UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake would join the discussions, the former Speaker said.

When pointed out that Wickremesinghe had publicly declared his readiness to move parliament for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)to inquire into a conspiracy involving a section of his party, the German NGO and Sirasa media network, Perera said that he couldn’t comment on a statement attributed to Wickremesinghe. However, the entire gamut of issues would be discussed at the forthcoming Advisory Committee meeting.

An aide to Wickremesinghe told The Island that the party chief was out of the country. According to him, Wickremesinghe would be back on Jan. 2.

Asked whether he was appointed the Acting Leader before Wickremesinghe left the country on Monday, Deputy Leader Premadasa replied in the negative.

Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga and General Secretary Attanayake, too, are out of the country.

Premadasa declined to comment on the impending Advisory Committee meeting.

Sources close to Wickremesinghe told The Island that the parliament should inquire into the allegations made in his capacity as the UNP and Opposition leader. Now that Wickremesinghe had gone public with his unprecedented allegation, the government should pursue the matter. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa,too, is out of the country.

Parliament meets again on Jan. 17.

UNP sources told The Island that Wickremesinghe’s allegation targeting Germany had embarrassed a section of the party, including one-time Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Germany and former Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya. Sources quoted Jayasuriya as having said that the allegations against a German NGO were baseless.

They said that the German embassy reacted angrily to what sources called unprovoked attack by Wickremesinghe. The UNP leader told parliament that he had raised the issue with German ambassador in Colombo. German ambassador Jens Plotner and Wickremesinghe hadn’t been on good terms for some time. Sources also recalled the German envoy’s tiff with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa over his criticism of police action during a protest at the Katunayake Export Processing Zone several months ago.

The German embassy didn’t respond to our query regarding Wickremesinghe’s allegations at the time this edition went to press.

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