Irate Sajith hits out at SB

Criticism of the Premadasas:


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa, MP, yesterday alleged that Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake was an opportunist who unashamedly manipulated both the UNP and the SLFP alike for his personal gain. 

The Hambantota District parliamentarian said that Dissanayake had no moral right to be critical of him as well as former President Ranasinghe Premadasa. The UNPer was responding to Minister Dissanayake’s broadside during a live ITN political talk show on Tuesday morning.

Dissanayake accused President Premadasa of sabotaging the NorthEast Provincial administration in 1989 and alleged that Sajith Premadasa was the primary cause of the ongoing turmoil in the UNP. Dissanayake claimed that Dayasiri Jayasekera would have been  still in the UNP if not for Premadasa;s treacherous and selfish attitude.

An irate Sajith Premadasa said that he had never let down anyone as his intention always was to unify the party to face challenges in the wake of electoral setbacks. Premadasa said: "I have always strived to negate divisive tendencies. For me unifying the party is the priority."

Premadasa recalled Dissanayake assuming the unprecedented post of UNP National Organizer Secretary after having switched his allegiance to Ranil Wickremesinghe. Dissanayake unceremoniously dumped the SLFP for the UNP at that time as he felt it would benefit him, Premadasa said. "We were flabbergasted. The newly created post was meant to demean the National Organizer. But a greedy Dissanayake didn’t care as long as he felt the new position could help him to advance his agenda."

When Dissanayake couldn’t stomach difficulties caused by those who couldn’t stand him, he quit the UNP and went back to the SLFP, Premadasa said, while pledging his unstinted commitment to returning the UNP to power.

The Hambantota District MP said: "One day I’ll get my rightful position in the party. Unlike Dissanayake, I have no intention of switching sides."

Premadasa said that SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, in his memoirs, had strongly criticized the conduct of Dissanayake and went to the extent of describing him as a liar as well as a cheat. Premadasa said: "If Dissanayake hadn’t read his colleagues memoirs, he should do so soon."

Responding to Dissanayake’s criticism of President Premadasa’s handling of the ethnic issue, Sajith Premadasa said that his father had to fight simultaneously on two fronts-the JVP in the South and the LTTE in the North. In spite of catastrophic battlefield setbacks and heavy pressure on the political front, President Premadasa never gave in to the LTTE demand to rescind the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution and dissolve Varatharaja Perumal’s North-East Provincial administration, Premadasa said. Had the President succumbed to the LTTE pressure, the political scene would have been very different today, he said. The UNPer said: "My father never did anything to dilute the unitary character of the country. That is the bottom line. The likes of Dissanayake played a pivotal role in the then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s project to promote federalism. Today Dissanayake plays a different tune to appease President Rajapaksa."

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