Sirisena aspiring to be next PM at the expense of Ranil – Dr. JJAugust 18, 2012, 7:32 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The UNP yesterday challenged the SLFP to name names of party seniors who had genuinely backed the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign at the Nov 2005 presidential election.
UNP’s Deputy Secretary General Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said that PM Rajapaksa had experienced serious difficulties in the run-up to the Nov 17 presidential election due to an influential section of the SLFP refusing to support his candidature. In fact, President Rajapaksa had publicly alleged some members of his own party of not throwing their weight behind the presidential campaign, the Gampaha District MP pointed out.
Jayawardene was responding to SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena and National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa. During the ongoing provincial council election campaign, Messrs Sirisena and Weerawansa accused UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of sabotaging Gamini Dissanayake’s presidential election campaign in late 1994. MP Sirisena said that Wickremesinghe passed on information regarding Dissanayake’s campaign to Kumaratunga.
Jayawardena alleged that the SLFP General Secretary was lying. The Gampaha District MP admitted that he couldn’t understand what really MP Sirisena hoped to achieve by making such a foolish statement. The UNPer asserted that the NFF leader had repeated the SLFP General Secretary’s statement probably to appease the SLFP leadership.
Had there been any truth in Sirisena’s assertion he would have mentioned Wickremesinghe’s secret role in Kumaratunga’s victory in his biography (Aththai Saththai), which he launched ahead of the last parliamentary election in April 2010, the MP said.
He urged MP Sirisena to read chapter (page 132) which dealt with the PA’s victory at the Nov 1994 presidential poll if he couldn’t recall what he had said earlier. Jayawardena pointed out that MP Sirisena quite rightly mentioned in his biography that political veteran Dissanayake had posed a formidable challenge to Kumaratunga and the situation changed due to his assassination by the LTTE.
MP Sirisena also said the UNP couldn’t keep its campaign on track though Srima Dissanayake was named the UNP candidate. Jayawardena said that that so-called UNP reformists, too, had demanded an explanation from Wickremesinghe on the basis of Sirisena’s allegation. First of all, the SLFP General Secretary should explain why he omitted Wickremesinghe’s alleged efforts to sabotage Dissanayake’s campaign in his memoirs, MP Jayawardena said.
A section of the media simply reported what politicians said without being bothered to verify facts, Jayawardena lamented. For want of responsibility on the part of the media, the government was propagating lies.
He said that the SLFP General Secretary, in his memoirs, also alleged that the JVP had made an attempt to deprive Mahinda Rajapaksa of the premiership following April 2, 2004 General election. As the SLFP General Secretary had revealed the existence of a letter written by JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva demanding that the premiership should go to Lakshman Kadirgamar, Anura Bandaranaike or Maithripala Sirisena himself, it would be pertinent to ask whether former JVPer Weerawansa, too, subscribed to that position, Jayawardena said.
The UNPer said that President Rajapaksa had introduced the 18th Amendment to the Constitution to thwart possible attempts by his own party to undermine him.
He said that the SLFP General Secretary was speaking as if there weren’t any other issue in this country today. In spite of the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the SLFP-led government had pathetically failed to address economic issues. The entire education sector was in crisis, the MP said while pointing out ongoing problems at the power sector as well as the Colombo stock market. "There was no need for me to repeat a range of allegations made against various UPFA members", Jayawardena said, challenging the SLFP General Secretary to explain his handling of the health sector.
The MP urged people not to be deceived by UPFA. People living in the Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces should use the forthcoming PC polls in the three provinces to show their displeasure at the UPFA. The bottom line is that except the continuing drought all other problems had been caused by the UPFA, the MP said.
The UNP parliamentarian said that he wouldn’t mind the SLFP General Secretary aspiring to be the next Prime Minister engaged in a campaign to promote himself but that shouldn’t be at the expense of Wickremesinghe.
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