|Karu hits back at those
UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya
in a strongly worded statement yesterday hit back at the Ranil
Wickremesinghe loyalists in the UNP who were resisting reforms
to the party constitution.
“There are those who are of the view that the powers of the
leader should remain intact and that no changes are necessary in
the party structure either. We wish to state that it is only
those who lack the strength of character to stand on their own
two feet, who are so incompetent that they cannot but shine
except in the reflected light of better people, who hold this
view. The UNP can do better than this, we firmly believe,”
“We emphasise that the UNP, as the largest single party, a party
with a long and distinguished history, as the main opposition
party, has a significant role to play, even when out of power.
We have a responsibility to the party, but more so to our
constituency and the country at large. We have been unable as a
party to play this role so necessary to make democracy
We believe that we will continue to fail at this unless
meaningful reforms are instituted immediately, then and then
alone will Mr. Wickremesinghe’s leadership run into crisis and
the party’s integrity collapse,” he added.
The statement by Jayasuriya also states: “There is a
mischievously propagated myth regarding the group within the UNP
that is agitating for party reforms. This group has been
portrayed as one which a) wants to oust the party leader, Mr.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, and b) wants to destroy the party
Both these are patently untrue.
“In the first place, the agitation stems from the understanding
that the problem lies not with the leader but the party
structure itself. We believe that if more democratic safeguards
were instituted and if decision-making processes are made more
democratic, Mr. Wickremesinghe would emerge stronger.
“The intent, obviously, is not to destroy the party but to
prevent its disintegration. It is no secret that the party is
in serious crisis. It is no secret that the present structure
of the party has yielded electoral defeats of a magnitude and
frequency that is scandalous. It is no secret that however many
times one walks along a road that leads to a dead-end it takes
on nowhere. The fault is not so much in personality and
capability. The problem lies in an archaic party structure that
is not in tune with the times nor able to attract the best
political minds in the country. The UNP has to transform itself
into a true party of the people, the kind of political
organization that will have room for another Ranasinghe
Premadasa and is sensitive to the pulse of the people, for
example. Therefore, if the party is not reformed, then he will
not have access to the whole gamut of factors so necessary to
make informed decisions.
“Let there be no doubt that we will continue to agitate for
party reforms and let it be clearly understood that there are
among us people without whom the party would not have scored the
one victory it did in the past 13 years. An agreement was
reached in the Working Committee. The spirit of democracy
requires that ratification should be sought for the mechanisms
therein at the Party Convention. If this is subverted, then the
party loses all credibility and forfeits the right to go before
the people as a democratic political entity.”