Nine UNP MPs to attend rebels’ Colombo rally

In defiance of Ranil

By Lal Gunasekera

Seven UNP Parliamentarians identified as reformists will defy the party and take part in the 19th commemorative procession and rally in memory of former President and party leader Ranasinghe Premadasa on Tuesday (May 1) at Hulftsdrop.

According to key reformists they are Karu Jayasuriya (Chairman of the R. Premadasa Commemmorative Committee), Ranjith Maddumabandara, Dinesh Gankanda, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Buddhika Pathirana, Rosie Senanayake and Thalatha Athukorale.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake last week announced that Deputy Leader of the party and son of the slain leader, Sajith Premadasa and the other Hambantota District party MP Dilip Wedaarachchi were the only two people who had the "Greenlight" from the party to attend the commemoration meeting as they had obtained permission from the party Working Committee.

Sajith, however contradicted Attanayake by stating that he did not need party permission to attend a commemorative ceremony for his late father’s 19th death anniversary.

The UNP Working Committee had earlier decided to take disciplinary action against any UNP Parliamentarian who fails to attend the party’s joint May Day rally in Jaffna with the Tamil National Alliance.

However, Lal Perera who is the Secretary of the Movement to Safeguard the UNP Trade Union (JSS) told The Island that they expected about 40,000 supporters to attend the commemorative meeting in Colombo tomorrow (May 1).

He was confident that the UNP could not take disciplinary action against any Parliamentarian for attending the R. Premadasa commemoration meeting and not being present in Jaffna for the May Day Rally.

Perera said that the party top notchers were finding it difficult to get a big crowd for the May Day Rally in Jaffna and this was one reason they were attempting to stop UNP Parliamentarians from attending the R. Premadasa Commemoration meeting in Colombo.

The decision of the reformists will be formally declared today at a media briefing at the Bodhi Ranasinghe Foundation at Pamankada.

Meanwhile the reformists yesterday conducted a house-to house campaign at Hulftsdorp calling on members to take part in Premadasa commemoration ceremonies on May Day.

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