Bridging the great
One might say it was like bridging the great divide when
deposed Minister and Convenor of the SLFP (Mahajana Wing)
Mangala Samaraweera met with Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe last Thursday (28) to talk about the formation of
a ‘grand alliance’ to save the country from the clutches of the
Their past has been acrimonious to say the least, Samaraweera
never spared Wickremesinghe during his political and media
briefings, and Wickremesinghe has ever held himself apart from
the likes of his new-found ally, by refusing to be drawn into
petty street battles, thereby dishing out the most grievous
insult to Samaraweera. Wickremesinghe was almost always at the
receiving end of Samaraweera’s scathing public verbal attacks,
which often ranged from the ‘treachery’ of colluding with the
Tigers to comments about his personal life which would make even
a sailor blush.
But politics, as they say, makes for very strange bedfellows.
And the time has come, Samaraweera said at Thursday’s meeting,
“to look past the differences between them and focus on the
positives.” Wickremesinghe seemed more than willing to do so and
welcomed Samaraweera with a hearty handshake and a warm smile.
The two held discussions for a little over 30 minutes, during
which Samaraweera handed over his policy document ‘sihinaye
abhiyogaya’ or ‘Dare to dream – towards a new Sri Lankan Order’
to Mr. Wickremesinghe for his perusal. The two groups also
decided to appoint a committee to study the document and analyse
the feasibility of the UNP and the SLFP (M) coming together to
take on the incumbent administration.
Speaking at Thursday’s precursor to the discussion,
Wickremesinghe said that the SLFP was almost extinct since the
party as almost entirely in the clutches of a single political
family. “It is necessary to bring democracy back into the SLFP
and lift the country out of this current anarchic state,” the
UNP Leader said, adding that he would consider allying with
Samaraweera and Co. on certain issues towards the betterment of
The meeting which was held at the UNP Leader’s Cambridge Terrace
private office, was also attended by UNP General Secretary Tissa
Attanayake and Party Chairman, Rukman Senanayake, Coordinating
Secretary of the SLFP (M), Sripathi Sooriyarachchi and Managing
Director of the Mawbima group of newspapers, Tiran Alles.