UNP reiterates warning to rebels on SF rally

Annual Convention to rule on indiscipline


by Zacki Jabbar

Amidst some members of the UNP rebel faction publicly vowing to defy last Friday’s Working Committee decision to bar members from attending this week’s scheduled rally, intended to re-launch the political career of former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, the UNP said yesterday that those defying collective decisions would have to face the consequences.

The Working Committee took a unanimous decision not to attend the October 18 rally, since it was intended to install the leader of another political party with a very small membership as the head of an alliance whose objectives were nothing new and overlap with those of other opposition parties, the UNP’s Media Spokesman Gayantha Karunathillaka told a news conference in Colombo yesterday.

The UNP being the single largest political force in the country, did not see it necessary to play a subservient role in a campaign meant to abolish the executive presidency and establish transparency and good governance, Karunathillake said adding "these are issues which we have been agitating on our own and in conjunction with other groupings for a very long time."

Asked what the consequences would be for those who defied the party whip he said "We will have to wait until they carry out their threat. It is only thereafter that the question of disciplinary action would arise."

Karunathilllake said that the WC had also taken a decision to expedite all pending disciplinary inquiries so that the outcomes could be placed before the annual convention, which had been scheduled for December 1.

With the Convention being called on to rule on disciplinary matters, the party has indicated that it was serious about instilling discipline and decorum in conducting its affairs, he said.

While former UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya was on record that he would be attending the October 18 rally, the incumbent Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa was yet to make a definite statement.

Rebel MP, Ranga Bandara said on Friday that he and many other UNP members would defy the WC directive to be present at the Fonseka rally.

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