Despite bold statements UNP rebels leave Fonseka in the lurch

by Zacki Jabbar

Despite bold statements by many UNPers that they would defy the party whip and attend today’s Sarath Fonseka rally, intended to re-launch the former army commander’s political career, several desertions were reported by late last night.

The latest additions to those who have decided not to attend the meeting include UNP MP’s Dayasiri Jayaskera, Harin Fernando, Wasantha Aluvihare and Ven. Dabare Amila Thera a member of the Bhikkshu Peramuna responsible for organizing the meeting on behalf of General Sarath Fonseka.

Informed sources said that Jayasekera had gone abroad and would not return for a while.

Harin Fernando, who was listed as a speaker at today’s meeting, has also pulled out citing his physical condition, following a knee surgery which he underwent recently.

It is learnt that UNP MP’s Karu Jayasuriya, Ranga Bandara, Asoka Abeysinge and Palitha Thavarapperuma have confirmed their attendance for today’s rally. But, sources said that there was a possibility that Jayasuriya might change his mind at the eleventh hour.

General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake told The Island that the UNP did not intend sabotaging the legitimate activities of other political parties, but it could not permit anyone to grab their members through the backdoor.

He said that Opposition parties had the right to publicly demonstrate their views, but attempts to undermine the UNP would not be tolerated.

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had rejected a request by MP Karu Jayasuriya to allow UNP members to participate in the Fonseka meeting, since the Working Committee had unanimously resolved that the party should not attend, Attanayake noted.

UNP erred

General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake said that the UNP had made a mistake by backing the former army commander as the joint opposition candidate at the 2010 Presidential Election, since he obtained less votes than what Wickremesinghe had obtained at the previous poll.


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